Discover Garfagnana

A valley and its people

Someone called it the “Green island of Tuscany” and in fact, this valley, although close to important historical centers such as Lucca, Pisa, Florence and the attractive and worldly Versilia, has remained self-contained, living out its own history and building a strong identity that still retains today.

The Apuan Alps, which divide it to the west from the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Apennines to the East, enclose the valley much like a treasure chest and not even the historic roads that crossed it, such as the Clodia or the eighteenth-century Via Vandelli, which led from Modena to Massa, by boldly crossing the Apuan Alps at the Passo della Tambura, have contributed to reducing this isolation.

Garfagnana: literally Great Forest, and most certainly represents the impression the first inhabitants of  this valley had and still today we are amazed by the lush extension of its woods. Planted, cared for and cultivated by man, is the chestnut tree which thrives up to 1000 meters above sea level. The are also the wild, intricate, far-reaching beech forests that thrive up to 1700 meters and, year after year, try to reclaim the bare mountain peaks.

In this wide green expanse you’ll find numerous little hamlets unexpectedly perched on a hill or on a plateau that slopes down towards the river. Among the narrow carriage streets, inside medieval walls, time passes slowly; the rhythms are those of other times, the kids’ games are centuries old, and “old shops” have an ancient fragrance.

 

A valley and its people

 

For centuries people of Garfagnana were farmers, woodsmen and quarrymen.  Nowadays, most of them are workers, artisans and traders; all of them safeguard their origins and old customs. The traditional Garfagnana cuisine is, like all those of rural origin, simple both in the ingredients and in the preparation.

For generations chestnuts, one of the most traditional ingredients of the valley, has assured sustenance even during leaner times. With its flour that has gained PDO identification (Protected Designation of Origin) it is possible to prepare the famous “polenta di neccio” often accompanied with pork bones preserved in brine or with “tullore” (dried chestnuts boiled in milk).

In Garfagnana pork and the meat of other farm animals is used to prepare recipes, but  trout, famous since the Medici’s time, has also become an important ingredient.

Another important ingredient is spelt that has gained the European PGI identification (Protected Geographical Indication) and is used to prepare soups, salted pies and “farrotti” and moreover the ancient variety of “eight rows” called “formenton otto file”, “giallorini” beans, the simple cakes made of chestnut flour, the “castagnaccio e i necci“, the “pasimata” a typical Easter cake whose recipe is very elaborate and which housewives keep secret.

There are many tasty reasons to come to Garfagnana and, we are sure, once you have discovered this hidden corner of Tuscany, it will be difficult not to return often.

The Municipalities of Garfagnana Valley

It rises on the right orographic of Serchio river at 475 m above sea level.

The municipal territory extends on an area of 27 square km and includes the suburbs of Filicaia, Sillicano, Poggio, Roccalberti, Casatico, Vitoio, Puglianella, Casciana e Cascianella.

The landscape is that of the high hills: thick chestnut woods, arable lands and wide terraced fields. The cultivation of farro is very widespread; thanks to its agricultural vocation there are many agritourisms that offer the genuine hospitality typical of farmer civilization. San Biagio church in Poggio is one of the most ancient church of the valley. The single nave  building, with a semicircular apse, houses a monolithic basin dating back to 1387, the year in which the church obtained the privilege of the baptismal font.

The Estense Fortress of Camporgiano overlooks on high of his bulk the main square of the village;
at the feet of it a stone fountain called “il Pilon”. The fortress that rises on a rocky spur was built approximately in 10th century and extended in 13rd century. Today it houses the Museum of Renaissance Ceramics which were found in the well of the fortress. (it ca be visited on reservation only at the number +39 0583.618888)

From 1972 in July’s last week Camporgiano became the capital of folklore, during the international festival there are groups from all over the world, a meeting between different languages ​​and cultures to a common message of peace and serenity among people.

Careggine lies at the foot of Mount Sumbra on an area of 24.46 square kilometers, on the eastern versant  of Apuan Alps. The plateau on which the village stands, at 882 meters above sea level, is one of the most beautiful panoramic terraces overlooking the entire valley.

The old town center, collected inside the walls, offers striking views through the narrow cobbled streets, where stone houses come forward  on the typical turrets and covered terraces that were used for the conservation of agricultural products. The Church of S. Peter, founded in 720 by Pertualdo, still conserves the original medieval structure. The huts, built with characteristic sloping roofs, surround the village, testimony to the pastoral vocation of the area. Close by the Apuan Alps Regional Park has recovered the Geopark Farm “La Bosa“, with its characteristic farmhouse that houses the Park Shop, the Museum of Fauna of Yesterday and Today and the Visitor Centre. The footpath “Giuseppe Nardini” connects to the yellow Big Bench placed on the panoramic hill of Colle Ai Monti.

Ancient chestnut trees surround the plateau, then birch’s forests and beech trees in the highest altitude. Easy hikes connect the village to  Maestà della Formica, la Gatta and Vianova, a ski resort with ski lifts, with ski schools and slopes for more experts.

A beautiful scenic route connects with Capanne di Careggine and Isola Santa, where the old stone village, reflects in the waters of the namesake artificial lake. Here we find the “Casa del Pescatore”, nice place for all fishing lovers.

The Lake Vagli, instead, hides an entire village Fabbriche di Careggine. This village was part of the Municipality of Careggine and it was founded by blacksmiths of Bergamo and Brescia who work the iron extracted from Mount Tambura. The bells of Fabbriche’s Church, the only thing that the inhabitants managed to preserve before the town was flooded, are still in Vergaia, where it was also moved the cemetery.

Vedi la web-cam di Isola Santa

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, the main town and heart of Garfagnana, is situated at 277 m above the sea level at the confluence of the Serchio river with Turrite. The whole territory (28,50 Km2) has about 6.000 inhabitants and different hamlets such as Antisciana, Cerretoli, Colle, Croce di Stazzana, Gragnanella, Palleroso, Rontano and Torrite. It is the administrative and commercial centre of the valley where every thursday, since 1430, a traditional open market takes place. The most ancient historical documents about Castelnuovo date back to the year 740, formerly in the XIV century it became a very important transit centre. The building of the bridge, dates back to this period, wanted by Castruccio Castracani, to connect the castle with Cellabarotti’s district known today as Ponte Santa Lucia (S. Lucia’s bridge). In 1430 weary of continuos battles and an uncertain future the inhabitants set themselves free from the Lucchese yoke submitting voluntary to the Estensi gaining this way remarkable privileges and reaching the maximum development.

It became vicarship and capital of the province. Among the various Este’s governors the foremost are Ludovico Ariosto (1522-1525) and Fulvio Testi (1640-1642).

Another monument of remarkable interest is the cathedral entitled to S. Pietro and S. Paolo; it arose in the year 1500 over the ruins of a pre-existent Romanesque church of the XI century. In the interior an altar piece in terracotta of Della Robbia school, “Pala di S. Giuseppe”at the base of which you can notice the coat of arms of the municipality of Castelnuovo: a blue rampant lion on a yellow field, the XIV century wooden crucifix, the marble frame ascribed to the Lucchese school of Matteo Civitali.

The fortress of Mont’Alfonso, built at the end of 1500 by the architect Marco Antonio Pasi, rises on a hill overlooking the town of Castelnuovo.

Don’t to miss out the Monastery of S. Joseph, built in 1632 under the command of Duke Alfonso III d’Este and here he became a Franciscan friar by the name of Father Giambattista. His funeral monument is located inside the church. It is said that Alessandro Manzoni was inspired by him and his earthly life for the character of Father Cristoforo, in the novel the Betrothed.

The Alfieri Theater, built in 1860, recently restored and open to the public, is one of the largest in the Province, second only to the “Giglio” of Lucca.

Castiglione di Garfagnana is situated at a height of 541 meters above sea level on the access road to Passo delle Radici and its territory has an area of ​​48.64 km2. It has just over two thousand inhabitants including the hamlets of Chiozza, Campori and Cerageto, but it is one of those villages.

The traditions of this municipality are many but the most important one is the so called “Festa del  Regalo” (festival of the gift),  which takes place, punctually, from 20 January 1631, without interruption, every first Sunday of the year: a suggestive cerimony to remember how the village was saved by the bubonic plague.

Then the “Processione dei Crocioni”, which renew the tradition of Christ’s ascent to Calvary every Holy Thursday: a large cross carried by a hooded man whose identity no one knows.

The local Alpine Philharmonic is over 100 years old. Do not to forget the Pascoli Festival at Passo delle Forbici which takes place every first Sunday in August to commemorate Giovanni Pascoli, the poet of Castelvecchio and the Change of the Beech Cross on the “pier” of San Pellegrino in Alpe, every year on the 1st August.

The construction of fortified villages, among these CASTRUM LEONIS, (Castiglione) the strongest in the valley, dates back to the period of Roman domination. Since those times it was held in high regard for its position of control on the road that led to the San Pellegrino pass.

Due to its strategic position, the castle of the lion, had a very troubled past and was often forced to pull out its claws to defend itself from numerous sieges.

To discover the history and monuments of the village, still narrow in its double curtain of walls, you can book a guided tour of the local pro loco (tourist infomation office), which also has access to the Rocca, now private, and to the two churches of St. Micheal and St. Peter.

The historic ski resort of Casone di Profecchia with its ski school is particularly suitable for those approaching this sport, while the cross-country trails that start from Passo delle Radici offer different degrees of difficulty.

In San Pellegrino in Alpe, the highest inhabited hamlet of the Apennines (1524 m AMSL), it is possible to visit the Ethnographic Museum “Don Luigi Pellegrini” (currently closed due to remodeling) and the Sanctuary of the Saints Pellegrino and Bianco.

The new municipality was created in 2014 from the merger between Vergemoli and Fabbriche di Vallico, two valleys of the southern Apuan Alps divided by the ridges of Monte Gragno and Palodina.

The Turrite Cava valley, topped by the peaks of Monte Matanna and Monte Croce, includes the towns of Fabbriche di Vallico, the capital and ancient border between the Lucca and Este dominions, delineated, in fact, by the Ponte della Dogana. Then one moves on to Vallico Sotto, Vallico Sopra, Gragliana, Campolemisi and the old pasture of San Luigi, now the little church used as an information point regarding the hiking trail ”Sentiero del Lupo”.

The Turrite di Gallicano valley, closed at the head by the fantastic stone arch of Monte Forato, includes the villages of Fornovolasco, San Pellegrinetto, Vergemoli, Calomini, with its Hermitage set in the rocktogether containing fewer than 800 inhabitants.

Here even the names of the towns tell stories. For example, it is said that Fornovolasco, the town of the famous Grotta del Vento, was founded by the blacksmiths of Brescia and Bergamo who came here to work the iron ore extracted from the Trimpello mines, taking advantage of the abundance of water from the springs that feed the course of the Turrite. The water, rich in oxygen, is excellent even for the brown trout farms downstream of the Trombacco lake. It has become a hydroelectric basin, such as the one on the Turrite Cava in Fabbriche di Vallico. Historically, the water fed ancient ironworks, a large eighteenth-century mill, still active today, along the main course and on the tributaries such as the Rio Selvano, a stream well known among canyoning lovers, one of the outdoor activities available in the adventure parks of Levigliese and Battiferro.

Fosciandora lies on the left bank of Serchio river and covers an area of ​​19.82 km square. It is possible to get there through Ponte di Ceserana, a real costumhouse of the territory of Tre Terre (3 lands) territory.

Due to its geographical location the climate is mild; this allowed, in the course of time, the cultivation of vines and olive trees , not very common in the valley.

The village is surrounded by chestnut woods, perfect to cool off during the summer time, but also in the autumn, to mushroom picking.

Ceserana lies at the top of a hill dominated by a large Romanesque Church built on the ruins of an ancient castle. La Villa, Lupinaia, Riana and Treppignana are the other hamlets of the Municipality of Fosciandora.

The Sanctuary of Madonna della Stella is a place of pilgrimage; on the first Sunday of August at Prade Garfagnine takes place the traditional shepherds festival, an event not to be missed for those who want to enjoy the fun ​​of the simplest things, such as sack race or tug of war.

Gallicano, located along the road that leads from Lucca to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, has an area of 30.5 square kilometers and is located 186 meters above sea level.

The town has got the typicality of a medieval village, including a city wall, , of which some remains can still be admired, originally built during the Middle Age and another, more recent, built in the Renaissance.

Walking through the streets of the village, you reach San Jacopo Church, the oldest building, built at the top of the town. It was built during the Middle Age and has a Romanesque facade. Inside the church there is a valuable glazed terracotta depicting a Madonna with Child and Saints from the workshop of Della Robbia.

The famous orator Domenico Bertini (1417-1506) was from Gallicano.

Among the various events that take place in Gallicano, the traditional Palio di San Jacopo, in July, is not to be missed (every 2 years). The religious procession is accompanied by competitions between the city districts for the award of the Palio; do not miss the parade of papier-mâché floats.

Nice little hamlets in this municipality are Verni and Trassilico, whose Fortress, located 732 meters above sea level, occupies a dominant position over the entire Serchio Valley and is the highest point of the village. The fortification, very important from a strategic and military point of view, was practically inaccessible.

The village of Perpoli, just like Gallicano, has a double city wall, the oldest one is just a few meters high wall, and the second one of Renaissance origin, has an imposing stone gateway. Even Perpoli is situated on the top of a hill and can be reached by taking the municipal road, in Monteperpoli, leaving the provincial road Gallicano-Castelnuovo.

Minucciano, located in the boundaries with Lunigiana, with an area of 57 square km, is one of the most extended municipalities of Garfagnana valley.

Its territory lies among the highest peaks of Apuan Alps, such as Mount Sella, Pizzo d’Uccello and Mount Pisanino, the highest peaks of Apuan Alps with its 1945 metres, and Apennines with Passo dei Carpinelli overhanging by Mount Argegna (1019 m. AMSL) with its white Sanctuary of Madonna della Guardia. The main town, already set up over the watershed, rises perched around to a characteristic circular bell tower; not far from the village, there is the Sanctuary of Madonna del Soccorso. The hermitage also has a hospice where, in ancient times, pilgrims were welcomed and accommodated. Until a century ago, the marble quarry workers of  Orto di Donna were used to sleep here.

A path links the hermitage to the ruins of  Castle of Bergiola, that a group of volunteers are trying to recover.

Gorfigliano is the most populous village of the municipality.  It is located  at the foot of Mount Pisanino ( 690 m. AMSL).  Not to be missed the Ancient Church or ancient castle, from where there is a beautiful view on Lake Gramolazzo, the oratory of S. Antonio and the Church of Saints Giusto and Clemente, patrons of the village. Inside the chapel Pancetti, in the cemetery, there is a frescoed wall with the image of the dying Christ by the famous Milanese artist Pietro Annigoni. The inhabitants of Gorfigliano are very attached to their traditions: the first Sunday of August is celebrated  Madonna dei Cavatori, protector of quarryman, while during the Christmas Eve, listening Ave Maria, Natalecci light up, high pyres built with branches of intertwined trees.

The Lake Gramolazzo  with its gently sloping shores is frequented by fishermen and swimmers, it is very suitable for sailing and canoeing, that can be rented at the nearby campsite.

The sculpture symposium is followed by lots of people and it is held during the summer when artists from all over the world go around here to carve the marble extracted in Garfagnana following a specific theme that changes every year.

Certainly the best known and attended area of municipality of Minucciano is Serenaia Valley, of glacial origin with his big field “Orto di Donna“. Here there are three mountain lodges for hikers and mountaineers who can follow many of the best tours of the entire Apuan Alps chain and several via ferratas, including the one which connects the Valle degli Alberghi (Massa) with Passo delle Pecore  and the mountain hut Orto di Donna (currently closed)

The territory of Molazzana extends from the right bank of Serchio river to the peaks of Pania della Croce (1859 m.), Pania Secca and Pizzo delle Saette, passing from areas cultivated with vines and olive trees, through the chestnut woods and beech forest and, still above, the limestone area of the “Queen of Apuan Alps”, which in June are covered with spectacular blooms.

Just below the Pania, the village of Alpe di S. Antonio is the highest hamlet of the municipality, then the village of Eglio and Sassi where, in a panoramic position, there is the ancient Church of S. Frediano with its bell tower, built on a older fortress destroyed in 1370. The little Church of Madonna della Neve is also characteristic and is located on the track that connects Sassi with the colonic center of Granciglia and with Castelnuovo di Garfagnana.

The village of Brucciano lies on the road that, through Calomini and Vergemoli, leads to the Grotta del Vento.

Molazzana is dominated by the castle of Estense origin (15th century), and currently the former school houses the Museo Linea Gotica Garfagnana, connected to the military places of Mount Grottorotondo. The town of Cascio, however, is one of the few remaining examples of a fortified village, with massive city walls, gates and towers dating back to 1615. The two villages are linked by a beautiful trail that passes from the mills of Vescherana. Inside the Church of San Lorenzo, there is a terracotta Madonna and Child by Benedetto da Maiano. Cascio binds its name to a gastronomic excellence of the Garfagnana: the Criscioletta (a sort of pancake), celebrated in the local festival born in 1969, in honor of the patron saint.

Piazza al Serchio is the most important road junction of the upper Garfagnana, here the connecting roads with Emilia and Lunigiana converge, but it is also the point where the Serchio of Sillano joins the Serchio of Gramolazzo giving origin to the river which, with its course, characterizes the entire valley. Doglioni, black rocks of volcanic origin, rise as sentinels  of the river and the ancient castle Castelvecchio, recently restored, stood on the top as a defense place of this obligatory point of passage. The name of the town derives from a wide area called, precisely, Piazza and used in the medieval times, as a market place and which is now located near the current railway station. It is said that right in front of this space stood a very important parish church that, in its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, had 30 churches. Today of the old parish church only the bell of 1271 remains, discovered during recent excavations. The hump-backed bridge in Piazza al Serchio and, even more impressive, the bridge of S. Michele, the only access route to the medieval village, testify the strategic and economic importance of the town.

The municipal library houses the important Museo dell’Immaginario Folklorico, which collects material of the oral tradition from Tuscany and Liguria. The library has also a specialized section on folk traditions.

All the little hamlets of the municipality, surrounded by fields cultivated with farro and fodder crops, are worth seeing: Contra, Cortia, Nicciano, Cogna, Livignano, Sant’Anastasio and Petrognano, and finally, Borsigliana which preserves within the church a 15th century triptych of Madonna and Child by the Master of Borsigliana, named Pietro da Talada, which is worth a visit.

Pieve Fosciana lies on a river valley at the foot of an hill called Fosciano  at 360 meters above the sea level. The area is 28,77 km2 and takes its name from the Church of St. John Baptist, one of the most ancient church of Garfagnana around which streets and stone houses typical of this village can be found..

According to legend, the founder of the church was San Frediano, Bishop of Lucca in the 6th century. In the 11th century the church took the name of Plebes of Fosciana. Inside the building you can admire various works of art, beginning with an Annunciation by Andrea Della Robbia, paintings of the Lucca artist Pietro Paolini’ school and Antonio Consetti from  Modena. The sacristy of the 16th century is also worth of a visit. There, one will find a wll-preserved baptismal font from the 14th century.

Another interesting building is the 19th century Convent of Sant’Anna . A historical curiosity: Pieve Fosciana, in 1831, was the first village in Tuscany to fly the Italian flag.

Nearby the historic center, one can find The Mills, where as early as the 18th century several water mills provided irrigation for the fertile plain around the village. Today, the Mill of the Regoli family is still in operation and it can be visited.

Near the center there is also the thermal spring lake Prà di Lama, whose waters are chloride-sulphate-alkaline are highly sought-after for their healing properties.

At “Ai Frati” one will find a Convent founded in 1435 by Beato Ercolano da Piegale (Perugia) dedicated to Saint Francesco, now partly restored and converted into a farm house.

Some highlights and events of the region include: Fiera della Libertà, the first Sunday after Easter; the feast dedicated to Formenton 8 file, the traditional maize cultivated for the production of corn meal; the exhibition of cribs in December and January; the competition between districts for the Carnival; in July, the feast of the shepherds in the village of Capraia; and, in August, three historical-gastronomic days dedicated to Ludovico Ariosto in the beautiful scenery offered by the medieval village of Sillico.

On Ferragosto (15th August, Assumption of Mary) do not to be missed the great and lively festival on the shores of Lake Pontecosi, where you can stroll, spend relaxing afternoons of fishing, or watch birds on any day of the year.

San Romano in Garfagnana lies on an altitude of 555 meters AMSL, on the hills on the left bank of River Serchio on an area of ​​26.04 km square.

In its territory, placed in a strategic position, rises the great medieval castle of Verrucole, partly rebuilt during the Renaissance. The namesake hamlet lies at the foot of the fortress inside which took place in ancient times, the life and history of the country. It is from this summit that you can enjoy the superb views looking over the Apuan Alps to Passo dei Carpinelli, and then stopping, on the limestone rampart of Pania of Corfino and Orecchiella Park, whose visitor center is located right in the municipality of San Romano in Garfagnana

Many events are held inside the Fortress of Verrucole throughout the year: historical re-enactments and concerts taken on a unique suggestiveness in this scenery.

No to be missed the villages of Vibbiana, Orzaglia, Caprignana, Naggio, Sillicagnana, Villetta and little hamlet of Sambuca perched around the Church of St. Pantaleone, surrounded by spelt fields and chestnut forests.

Not to be missed, also, the events such as the historic-gastronomic festival in early August in San Romano, maccheroni’s festival in Sillicagnana and the cheese throwing in the village of Orzaglia. The archaeological museum of the territory was recently inaugurated inside the building Pellicioni Marrazzini in San Romano in Garfagnana, home to the Documentation and Enhancement Center of Farro GPI label, with the display of numerous finds from the excavations of the fortress of Verrucole.

This municipality was born in 2015 from the merger of the municipalities Sillano and Giucugnano. It embraces the northern part of the Apennine side of the Garfagnana valley and marks the border between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna with, the highest peak in the Tuscan Apennines, the Monte Prado (2054 m AMSL). The tradition alloys the name of Sillano to Lucius Cornelius Silla, in transit with his legions, he was stopped in these places by a snowstorm. This was one of the transit routes to the Emilia region, also testified by the name Ospedaletto, ancient hospice built by Matilda of Canossa, just below the Pass of Pradarena.

The valley of Dalli and the one of Soraggio where, on the road to the Orecchiella Park there is the artificial basin of Vicaglia, converge on the village of Sillano and from those valley rises the Serchio River.

The territory of Giuncugnano is made up of seven hamlets, and thanks to its beauty, its deep-rooted agricultural tradition and the human presence in perfect harmony with the environment in which it lives, it ia a part of the Apennine Tuscan-emilian National Park.

Certainly the best known resort, although divided in half with the municipality of Minucciano, is the plateau of Argegna, with the Sanctuary of Madonna della Guardia, and the Passo di Tea, where excavations have brought back to light the foundations of the hospital of St. Nicholas; the legend has it that it was founded by Matilda di Canossa. Tea, border locality of three lordships (Este, Lucca and Florentine), was for centuries the obligatory passage connecting Lucca with Parma, before the opening of the streets in the low valley led to the abandonment of the high ground paths.

The municipality of Vagli Sotto extends on a surface of 41,02 km2, with the marbled peaks of the Apuan Alps such as Mount Sumbra, Tambura, Sella and Roccandagia. It is characterized by the presence of a big artificial lake, one of the biggest of Europe, and certainly one of the most known thanks to the existence, below the surface of its waters, of the so-called “ghost village” of Fabbriche di Careggine. The village was founded by blacksmiths of Bergamo and Brescia who crafted the iron extracted from Mount Tambura. Every time the electric company, Enel, opens the dam, the lake waters flow out, you can see the bell tower, church and the houses resurface. For an entire summer, then, the village comes back to life, visited by multitudes of tourists.

A simple suspension bridge connects the two banks of the lake with a nice panorama on the hamlet of Vagli Sotto. The inhabitants of the territory of Vagli Sotto, are strongly linked to their roots, costumes and traditions.

In the village of Vagli Sotto, built on a hill, now surrounded by the waters of the lake, there is the Church of S. Regolo, in perfect Romanesque style with stones (12th century), while in the locality called Il Bivio – Fontana delle Monache, there is the Church of S. Agostino, one of the oldest in Garfagnana, dating back to the year 1000 and the convent of the Augustinian nuns.

In the villages of Vagli Sopra the church is dedicated to S. Lorenzo, while in the hamlet of Roggio the church is dedicated to S. Bartolomeo. It rises, almost like a castle, on the top of the village.

Campocatino is an old mountain pasture nestled in the green grassy basin of glacial origin, at the foot of Mount Roccandagia. The little stone houses tell us the story of the shepherds who, for centuries, spent the summer here. From Campocatino a nice footpath reaches San Viano’s Hermitage, incredibly placed on an overhanging rock face. Here, in perfect solitude, Blessed Viano (or Viviano), lived, feeding on wild cabbages which, always plentiful, would grow among the living rock. The devotion of the inhabitants to Blessed Viano is very strong, so much that they choose him as the protector of many quarrymen who work the marble of the Arnetola Valley, from where they extract precious marbles such as Calacatta and Arabescato types.

Villa Collemandina is situated at an altitude of 549 m. above sea level on an area of ​​34.81 km2. The territory presents outstanding natural and scenic interest areas from terraces of fluvial origin that characterize the environment around the capital, until the Apennine watershed, all which are within in Apennine Tuscan-Emilian National Park.

The limestone rockface of the Pania of Corfino (1603 m AMSL) dominates the landscape and it’s on its slopes that the village of Corfino lies, serving as a gateway to the Natural Reserves of Orecchiella and the Botanical Garden and is a beautiful terrace overlooking the valley.

The small hamlets of Canigiano, Magnano, Pianacci and Massa, gathered around their churches, recount the rhythms of rural life, while Sassorosso, at sunset, blends colors of its houses with those of red limestone hill on which it is built.

There are numerous pastures that demonstrate the agricultural and pastoral tradition of this land, such as Pruno Sulcina, Salera and Campaiana, where every year in the summer the traditional hay festival takes place.

Don’t miss out on other events such as the impromptu Painting Award in Corfino and Trout Festival in Villa Collemandina, where there are also often sport fishing competitions on the artificial lake.

For popular theater lovers, make sure to see the Canto del Maggio, with singers that perform in the beautiful chestnut trees of Valligori.

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