Abetone in summer
High altitude trekking and tips for eating well in the mountains of Pistoia
Abetone is the most famous mountain tourist destination in Tuscany and Central Italy. If during the winter it is the largest ski area in the region, in summer the numerous paths are popular with trekking enthusiasts, bikers and walkers.
Sure to find in this strip of mountain, north of the province of Pistoia, beautiful landscapes surrounded by woods, fresh and clean air even in the middle of August, and that peace similar altitudes can garnish; far from the smog, the big cities and seaside resorts. Or, at least, just enough, because to tell the truth, from Abetone to Forte dei Marmi there is only an hour and a half by road, the same distance more or less also from Florence. A great value-added for a mountain that is close to 2,000 meters! And if you don't want to sit on your hands all day contemplating fir trees, here are some experiences that will not make you regret the umbrella.
Orto botanico dell'Abetone (Abetone Botanical Gardens)
It is a small botanical garden of about 14.000 m² immersed in a fascinating wooded area in the upper valley of the Sestaione torrent, in the municipality of Abetone Cutigliano in the locality of Acqua Bona, not far from the Campolino nature reserve (open from 4th July to 30th August; ticket: 4 euro, with guided tour included in the morning at 9.30 am and 11.00 am and in the afternoon at 3.00 pm and 4.30 pm).
Many beautiful and scenic is a pond of glacial origin. It is reached starting from the parking lot of the Botanical Garden where you take path 104, the walk is all in a beautiful forest and sometimes runs along a river. After about 50 minutes / 1 hour walk, take path 102 and continue to the lake, which can be reached in about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The difference in height of the climb is 430 meters, for a length of about 8 km, and the difficulty of the walk is medium. As soon as you reach the Lago Nero (Black Lake), whose name comes from the gloomy reflection of its waters, it seems like you have arrived in paradise, because we are surrounded by the whole Abetone area. You can have a small picnic or eat something at the small bivouac run by volunteers: typical products of the area, do not miss the fruit tarts, baked there for there, made with local blueberries. Even if it is not forbidden, swimming in the lake is not advisable.
From the Lago Nero you can also reach the Lago Piatto, also of glacial origin, situated at an altitude of 1823 m above sea level, with a walk of medium difficulty of about an hour. In its waters is reflected the summit of the Alpe delle Tre Potenze, located to the south. Alternatively, it can also be reached by chairlift from Passo D'Annibale in Val di Luce, with a walk of about an hour along the Sentiero Italia. The Passo di Annibale is so called because it is said that the Carthaginian leader passed from here in his epic advance towards Rome.
La Locanda dello Yeti (Le Regine, tel. 0573 606974), La Capannina (gourmet, in town, tel. 0573 60562), La Casina (typical, in town, tel. 0573 60073), Fagiolino (Cutigliano, typical, tel. 0573 68014). In Val di Luce Restaurant Val di Luce Resort (in the valley, gourmet, refined tel. 0573 60961.
The Rifugio Selletta, Zeno Colò Monte Gomito and Le Terrazze/Albergone in Val di Luce are open every day. The Rifugio Le Rocce in Val di Luce is open only on pre-holidays and holidays.
Night-life and clubs
Lupo Bianco (the only disco in the area, tel. 0573 60037), Ciustè Bistrot (music bar at Abetone, tel. 335 1319757), Al Grog dalla Marti (brewery at Abetone, tel. 0573 60430 / 338 7335130), Dall'Orso (brewery at Abetone, tel. 334 8306966), Kokito Snow Bar (Val di Luce, tel. 349 5867558).
La bottega di Loli (jams and mushrooms, tel. 0573 60041), Sapori del Lago Nero (biscuits and tarts, in the nearby town of Pian degli Ontani, tel. 0573 673312), La Latteria (cheese and yoghurt, in Cutigliano tel. 0573 68280).
Until August 30th (weather permitting), the cable car Casa Cantoniera-Monte Gomito, the chairlift Selletta and the chairlift Passo d'Annibale in Val di Luce are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and on holidays from 9 am to 6 pm. The chairlift Val di Luce-Monte Gomito is also open on holidays and pre-holidays until August 30.