The large territory around Fabbriche di Vergemoli is enclosed by the inviting mountains of the Garfagnana, a land of villages dotting an area whose beauty can never be mistaken, home to priceless waters, shaded forests and a rich history.
Water has always been a vital element in this territory, together with the mountains. Even the spirit of Fabbriche di Vergemoli is nourished by the rushing waters of the rivers, especially the Turrite, which since the 1900s has been a source of energy for ironworks, mills and paper factories. Nature here exists in harmony with man, even providing the space needed for trades that are today at risk of disappearing forever. Some still manage to live on, like the blacksmith in Gragliana, who uses a traditional water-powered mallet, or the cooper in Focchia, who skilfully continues the trade, building vats and barrels in chestnut wood.
Another charming, natural creation in this area are its caves, especially the Grotta del Vento, a breath-taking network of galleries that takes its name from the streams running through these calcareous corridors. The Grotta di Castelvenere is also evocative, found at the foot of Monte Penna in Vallico Sopra: this opening in the rock face was a genuine treasure chest, home to archeological artefacts that revealed how it used to be place of worship dedicated to fertility.
Surrounded by the Pania della Croce, Monte Forato and the Pania Secca, there are a lot of small but quaint towns in the area, each home to important cultural sites. In addition to Vergemoli, Vallico Sopra and Vallico Sotto, there are also San Luigi, a historic mountain pasture in the shade of the beech and chestnut trees with an impressive view, Fornovalasco, Gragliana and Calomini. The latter is home to a fascinating hermitage, a sanctuary nestled on a rocky spur in the mountains, which, with its veil of silence, is a great place for meditation and relaxation. The Calomini hermitage was founded as a sanctuary when a shepherdess saw the Vergine della Roccia in this place around the year 1000, which still today is venerated and whose image was carved into a simple but evocative wooden statue. To gather yourself and rest for a minute, there’s nothing better than this place, suspended in both body and spirit.
The entire territory is a source of serenity, with spaces for meditation and listening that can reveal themselves during a simple stroll, so full it is of fairy-tale-like villages and forests that seem as if they hide fairies and sprites. Take a look inside the Romanesque Church of San Giacomo in Vallico di Sotto, or cross the bridge that connects the two parts of the town in contemplative silence, accompanied only by the powerful sound of the stream rushing below.