The River Serchio runs through the Province of Lucca for approximately 100 km, its source being in the furthest northern part of the mountainous area (the Apuan Alps and the Apennines), flowing down through the valley as far as Lucca and reaching the sea on the Tyrrhenian Coast.
The upper part of the valley is called the Garfagnana, the big forest. At one time, people called it the Tuscan Switzerland because of the panoramic views of the mountains, the woods and also because of the Swiss-like industrious character of its inhabitants.
Many fortified medieval villages still stand on the tops of hills as reminders of the wars between Lucca, Florence, Pisa and Reggio Emilia.
There are many trips you can arrange to explore the area. Some places can be reached only by car or minibus while others are accessible by normal bus services (up to 50 people).
Some of the tours we can suggest are:
1. Museo del Castagno, Barga and the Devil’s Bridge
Visit to the Museo del Castagno (museum of the history of chestnuts).
Lunch in a traditional restaurant: the menu may include some chestnut-flour specialities
Visit to Barga with its wonderful hilltop Romanesque cathedral and the Ponte del Diavolo (the Devil’s Bridge).
2. Grotta del Vento
3. Celle dei Puccini and the “smallest theatre in the world”
For small groups only, in a minibus
Visit to Celle dei Puccini, the house where Giacomo Puccini’s ancestors lived and where the Maestro spent many of his summers as a boy.
Visit to the “smallest theatre in the world” in Vetriano (17th century).