Driving around in Garfagana (Tuscany)

Castelnuovo [Photo Credits: Around Tuscany]
Castelnuovo [Photo Credits: Around Tuscany]
If you are thinking about an itinerary to discover the beauties of Garfagnana, you can't miss Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. This walled 14th century village, at the confluence of the Apenine and Apuan roadways, is the heart of the green Garfagnana area. I was driving in Garfagnana in the middle of April and the weather was kind of crazy: sun, rain, warm and cold in the same day! I don't know why I wasn't prepared for that as  this is normal in the beginning of the Spring season in Italy. Before you ask me: Spring officially starts on March 21st and ends on June 21st.  So, if you are traveling in the same period, I advise you to dress like an onion: t-shirt, pullover and a heavy coat. The route to get to Castelnuovo is a part of the trip: narrow road by the river with the mountains around you, ancient Tuscan houses... I bet you'll stop to take pictures as I did (the Devil's bridge is a must!). The main attraction of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is the Rocca Ariotesca, a fortress built in the 11th century and the home of the poet Ludovico Ariosto: between 1522-55 he was the Governor of the province of Garfagnana. My last advice is about food: you'd better arrive early for lunch. I was able to get a table at Trattoria Marchetti because I arrived at 12.30: most tables were reserved and I wouldn't have had the possibility to eat a delicious local food if I had arrived 10 minutes later. This trattoria was an excellent tip of an old lady I met for the first time some minutes earlier!  Well, maybe the best advice is that you spend at least 4 days at Castelnuovo so you'll have time to live Garfagnana the slow way, maybe add a picnic at Fortezza delle Verrucole or a trekking day in the National parks around there. Click here for more information about Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. [geo_mashup_map]