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Teresa Favi

July 28, 2016

Routes from Versilia

Three unusual itineraries, goodies by real amateurs, to break the monotony of life under the umbrella

For you 3 new itineraries, to flow umbrella, which will catapult you into another world and another climate, even if only for a day or half a day.

ZERI (Lunigiana)
picturesque and easy
One day, two would be ideal

Zeri is a haven of greenery, meadows, forests, streams of fresh, clean water where you can make even the bathroom, wedged in the most northern tip of Tuscany. Mass tourism, for the good fortune of those who goes on ahead, is totally unknown.

The town center is about an hour's drive from Massa Carrara (half an hour from the retreat of the singer Zucchero Fornaciari which has a beautiful farmhouse from the parts of Pontremoli), the road is good. This place, unknown even to most of the Tuscans, in reality it is famous throughout the world for his lambs, the lambs of Zeri! Here you can make beautiful (and not too demanding) walking on the ridges of the mountains overlooking the Ligurian Sea, crossing the ancient Roman bridges and stone villages abandoned. If you need advice by real amateurs, calls with a little 'ahead of Oscar Bandini, a friendly retired gentleman who lives in Zeri, an expert on routes and local history, which will surely help you with pleasure in discovering these places (tel. +39 3470928290).

You can go to Zeri if only to experience food and wine rocking, booking a table at lunchtime from Marco, his restaurant 'Qui ...come una volta' (tel. + 39 0187 4473 92),  the place is simple and unpretentious, but cooking, traditional menu of the high Lunigiana, here you can eat for 28 euro! . Excellent cuisine but also an extraordinary place 'Mulino Marghen' (tel. +39 0187 447431),  run by a young couple what kind of heroic avant-garde, his name is Martin and is from London, she Adriana, and it is Roman.

They felt in love with the area and decided to restored the old mill in the countryside lying and edged by a creek swimming, and decided to turn it into a wonderful farm holidays.

But if you ask them to arrange a fobulous snack of salad pies (typical here) with vegetables from their garden, salami and cheeses produced in the region and enjoi them just in the shade of their beautiful patio or on the lawns surrounding the mill and they will be very happy to accommodate you. Notes: don't take them by surprise, however, draw their attention to time. We are sure that you'll decide to return here for an enchanting holiday next time.

About cheese, I suggest you do not come back empty-handed before leaving the country try to Valentina (tel. +39 392 0023538), a young shepherdess of Zeri, who for some years has decided to devote himself exclusively to the production of ricotta and other cheeses. The cheese on the basis of 50% of sheep's milk and 50% cow's milk, a little 'blue-veined and not too seasoned, it's amazing.

picturesque but a little bit challenging
One day itinerary
Bring boots, a nylon jacket, backpack, swimsuit and a towel. The Orrido di Botri, in the heart of Garfagnana, Kenyon is a spectacular limestone with steep walls carved deep from the cold waters of the two rivers. The visits, exclusively tours, start at Ponte a Gaio (40-minute drive from Lucca), only access to the throat, where the reception center of the State Forestry Corps and the ticket. In the summer when the water flow is less and the temperature a more mild, you can go up the final stretch, from Ponte Gaio to the Piscine (in about 4 hours a / r). The walls dell'Orrido arrive in some places up to 200 m. in height, and are a nesting place of the golden eagle. Because of the frequent fords and slippery, it is compulsory to wear a protective helmet that will provide on-site (remember your hiking shoes, no you do not enter!). Bring along a picnic lunch. The reserve is open from June to September. On booking you can use a guide service for groups of 8 people. We advise you to call directly to the reception center, to better organize a wonderful day of hiking in this enchanted place (tel. +39 0583 800020).

Plan your route from half a day, with the possibility to extend it in one day if you decide to go up in Collodi
In and around San Martino in Colle, a fraction of Capannori, 20 minutes drive from Lucca, between rolling hills designed by vineyards and ancient olive groves, try to Villa Carrara, a former noble residence of 700, at the end of a road to the slight ups and downs you will find yourself in front of a monumental oak of 600 years! And 'the so-called witches Oak tree is one of the oldest in Italy, surprising for its powerful and protective canopy, huge, extraordinarily developed horizontally: it is 24 meters high with a circumference of 4.5 meters, while the foliage has a diameter of over 40 meters. It is said that this is precisely the "Big Oak" that inspired the episode in which Carlo Collodi Pinocchio is hanged by the killers who wanted to steal the gold coins and close to the puppet which then meets the Cat and the Fox. It is no coincidence because with another 30 minutes drive you can be in Collodi (in the municipality of Pescia in the province of Pistoia), country of origin and home of the father of Pinocchio from the 60s of the park dedicated to the wooden puppet. Between San Martino in Colle and Collodi we recommend a stop food and wine, from portions of Montecarlo (renowned wine area) at the restaurant 'Da Baffo' in the way of wine vault, 6 (tel. +39 0583 22381, +39 333 4689066), a rustic and simple, but known by connoisseurs throughout Tuscany, for the quality of its wines and the menu: we recommend the fried chicken, which is rocking, and another thing, do yourself book one of the tables under the pergola!

Our gem
In Lucca, pastry favorite Vip
L'Angolo Dolce in Borgo Giannotti, is a paradise for gourmands. The British designer Paul Smith you send home the animals of pure chocolate, actor Cristian De Sica, who has a house in Villa Guinigi in Matraia not resist the cheesecake, while Gabriele Salvatores not you miss the cake with the whipped wild strawberries.


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