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Person with mountain panorama
Photo © Alberto Pellegrinetti
Photo © Alberto Pellegrinetti

Places and flavours along the transhumance routes

Shepherds, flocks and hikers: in search of adventure in the green pastures of Garfagnana and the Serchio Valley.

With the arrival of summer, the Garfagnana and Mid Serchio Valley, a green island between the Apuan Alps and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, welcomes shepherds and hikers to its mountain pastures.

Twice a year, it's possible to observe shepherds practicing the ancient tradition of transhumance, when they lead  flocks to the pastures in the valley in winter, and then in summer, when they lead them back again to enjoy the coolness of the hills. Along these routes of varying levels of difficulty, trekkers can make long excursions to enjoy nature on foot or by mountain bike. Some paths allow you to descend gently towards the valleys to visit the small villages that lie along the Serchio river that are protected by the mountains such as Villa Soraggio in the municipality of Sillano. Other paths lead to the mountain pastures, or the shepherds' summer shelters, such as the Prade Garfagnine di Fosciandora, where a festival named after them is celebrated.

Trekking in Garfagnana
Trekking in Garfagnana - Credit: Paolo Becarelli

Travelling along these paths brings you to learn about the traditions of the Garfagnana that are linked to the land, its authentic flavours and aromas. These mountains offer genuine products and hearty dishes that are part of the typical mountain diet. Discover them in the traditional trattorias and osterie, as well as in the snacks that are perfect for trekkers. Don't miss cheese factories, mills and wine cellars where you can discover the truest flavors in their places of production.

The woods in Garfagnana and the Mid Serchio Valley have always offered delicious delicacies such as mushrooms, the perfect condiment for Formenton polenta, a variety of local maize, berries that are processed in preserves in the summer so that they can be savoured all year round, Farro della Garfagnana IGP used to make biscuits, soups and beer, cured meats such as Biroldo (Slow Food presidium) and Bazzone ham or mountain pasture cheeses, that can be accompanied with precious local honey. Finally, chestnuts are the main ingredient in several sweet and savoury recipes.

As seen, the transhumance routes allow you to get to know not only the mountains, paths and nature of the Garfagnana, but also its animals, scents and typical flavours.

To find out more:
Garfagnana and the Mid Serchio Valley Tourism Website

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