Discover the most characteristic small towns in the Serchio Valley
At Ponte Moriano, the river winds it way between two hills and forms a natural gateway that links the Serchio Valley and the Lucchese Plain. The upper reaches of the valley are known as the Altopiano Pizzorne and are characterised by sunny, elegant terraced slopes full of olive trees, villas, churches and pretty villages with narrow streets amidst thick oak, chestnut and pine woods.
There’s a wonderful panoramic view of the whole area from the summit of Pietra Pertusa. From here, the eye can see as far as the distant mountains and sparkling coast line. The road then goes down steeply towards the Pescia Valley. A river flows down to the valley floor next to the road and along this lovely natural route, visitors can admire the chestnut woods, villages with ancient castles, abandoned forts and hidden churches. Along the opposite slope of the Altopiano is the river Lima which is the main tributary of the river Serchio.
This is the first and largest valley in the Apennines. The slopes of the mountains here are bare and rocky and not at all fit for human settlement. The rivers flow fast down from the mountain peaks. There are also many thermal springs here, as well as the famous Orrido di Botri (canyon), Medieval forts, ancient towers and small villages. There are many different ways to explore and discover this fascinating area.
Altopiano delle Pizzorne The area between Ponte Moriano and Bagni di Lucca is just outside the Serchio Valley. The Lucca plain slowly comes into view as you go up to the upper slopes of the Altopiano della Pizzorne. The road travels through thick chestnut woods and historical villages. There are many things to delight tourists here, from art to nature and sporting activities.
Lima Valley and the Orrido di Botri The area between Bagni di Lucca and Ponte a Gaio is full of rivers and streams. Thermal springs pour forth from the earth here and have carved the landscape, creating canyons and waterfalls. A series of historical bridges span the rivers at various points.
The villages of the Apennines From Ponte a Gaio to Ponte di Campia. From a bridge over furious a gushing torrent to a bridge over calm, glassy waters. There are many ancient villages between the two towns of Ponte a Gaio and Ponte di Campia. Several of these villages have provided the backdrop for ancient bloody battles and today are still home to castles, forts and isolated defensive towers. The landscape is one of chestnut woods and the rocky peaks of the Apennines.
The southern Apuane Valleys The southern areas of the Apuane Alps have a unique landscape and are much softer and more hospitable than the harsher northern peaks. Men have lived here for centuries, in towns like Gallicano and San Martino in Freddana, alongside the rivers and streams that characterise the region. Man has clung stubbornly to this land throughout history, building iron forges and mills for grinding grain, making cheeses and cultivating chestnut woods. This is also an area rich in the arts, from painting to music and theatre: there is much to discover.