Florence and Siena and the Chianti region between these two cities have made Tuscany a popular world attraction. But in the northwest corner of Tuscany, nestled in the Apuan Alps, is the region of Garfagnana. This is the place to go if you like small hilltop towns and steep walking through lots of greenery with views to snow capped mountains.
We were based in near a lovely town called Barga. A walk of three kilometres up and down the valley and past the waterfalls and goats took us to a favourite spot for a morning cappuccino.
We followed some suggested walks of nine kilometres or so winding around and around and usually ending up right on the top of a hill where just a few people live in well kept homes with bright coloured flowers. We walked past Casa Pascoli the former home of the famous Italian poet who lived for many years in Castelvecchio. And we walked up to Albiano which overlooks Barga and then Sommocolonia which overlooks Albiano. They were not actually so high, no more than 700 metres. But the presence of the high Apuan Alps in close distance made it feel like we were up much higher.
Breathtaking scenery, fresh air, strong scented roses and a wholesome rural feel to a region that is known foremost for its Renaissance Art.