Photos: Devil’s Bridge, Garfagnana in Winter, Artistic local door knockers.
The Garfagnana, isolated in its alpine silence, is surrounded by the bare summits of the Apuan Alps and the Apennines of Tuscany and Emilia Romano, with villages nestling in curves sculptured by winter torrents, is almost like a place in time warp.
This is a picturesque region with a mixture of charming ancient towns, hilltop castles and breathtaking views across the hills and valleys. It has no motorway so one either means to go there or not. Thankfully it has avoided the crush of southern Tuscany in the tourist season and the towns and tiny villages survive without a proliferation of souvenir shops.
Unadorned folklore and local cuisine are some of the timeless qualities of this beautiful area I am fortunate to call home. Every tiny hamlet has something to offer, not specifically major works of art or ancient treasures, but more the ability to participate in a village life that is local and real. Many of the locals are engaged in farming activities, often using traditional implements such as the scythe.
Market days are a time to visit the nearby towns to buy fresh produce and stylish clothes at ridiculous prices. Fruit and vegetables are sourced locally and are always fresh and in season. In Tuscany we never plan menus until we visit the shops to see what is on offer.