Surrounded by the Apuan Alps and the Apennines, the Serchio Valley, in Garfagnana, represents the most romantic, uncontaminated and wild soul of Tuscany.
Here, within a park of over 600 hectares, is located the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa. From its privileged position on a hill, it dominates the breathtaking panorama where nature is the protagonist. The Resort is also the ideal starting point to discover the beauty of Garfagnana. These places tell stories of villages, legends, natural landscapes, and authentic and rural cuisine.
The Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa offers its guests a special package. “Toscana Pura” guides them in Garfagnana and the Middle Serchio Valley to discover the local traditions and to fall in love with this magical corner of Tuscany.
The package offers a 5 nights stay, with private transfer for guests arriving from Florence or Pisa. Visitors will be immersed in experience between wellness, gastronomy, and discovery of the territory during the visit.
Trekking and excursions
The Cinque Borghi trekking route is the best way to discover nature and the history of the right side of the Lima valley. The villages along the route are: Pian di Fiume, Guzzano, Gombereto, San Gemignano di Controne and Pieve di Controne; all part of a portion of the territory of Bagni di Lucca called Controneria.
The tour then continues with four days of guided excursions in the Tuscan hills to discover the natural beauty of the territory. It starts from the scenic Grotta del Vento, in the heart of the Apuan Alps Park, where there is an underground labyrinth of tunnels, wells, rivers, and lakes. It is a fascinating route that allows you to explore the subterranean depths, choosing between three different itineraries.
Nature lovers can also visit the Orrido di Botri, a spectacular limestone canyon. It is located on the slopes of the Rondinaio and Tre Potenze mountains, among steep walls dug deep by the cold waters of the streams, an ideal nesting place for the golden eagle.
The Orecchiella Park, a protected nature reserve in Garfagnana, is located within the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. Here you can try trekking and excursions by mountain bike and horse riding; guided tours, through spectacular landscapes, in the imposing forests of beech, chestnut and fir trees, populated by wild animals.
The ring of Monte Forato is one of the most impressive routes in the Apuan Alps. It is a ring-route that winds through mountain ridges and thick woods.
Pure Tuscany between past and traditions
The excursions also allow guests to immerse themselves in the past and traditions of the area.
The evocative Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge) in Borgo a Mozzano is an exceptional work of medieval architecture. It is also known for the legend born around its construction.
It is said that in order to finish in time, the mason who built the bridge made a pact with the Devil. The latter promised to finish it in one night in exchange for the soul of the first person who would cross it.
However, the builder found a cunning solution. Instead of a person, the first living being to cross the bridge was a dog, thus deceiving the Devil. Legend says that the shadow of a four-legged creature wanders into the night near the bridge… symbolizing the Devil who is still waiting for the promised soul.
The charming villages near the hotel
The village of Barga is the background of the panoramic view of the structure. On the way to the village, there is Casa Pascoli, the cradle of the artistic production of one of the most important and beloved figures of Italian literature – Giovanni Pascoli, who lived there for about 17 years. The house has now been transformed into a museum open to the public.
Walking through the streets and alleys typical of the medieval villages, visitors can enjoy the traditional Garfagnana atmosphere. Captured by the magnificent historical buildings and the Duomo, one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in all of Tuscany. It was rebuilt on the foundations of an ancient church dating back to the year 1000.
In this area, there is also Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, a medieval town and heart of the region. It is located at the confluence of the river Serchio, where you can discover artisan shops with traditional products.
Among the medieval villages, there is no shortage of fortified places to visit, such as the Fortress of Mont’Alfonso. Built by the will of Alfonso II d’Este, between 1579 and 1586, it is one of the most impressive architectural monuments in the Serchio Valley. It is located a few minutes drive from the center of Castelnuovo Garfagnana, and it offers splendid views of the slopes of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and the Panie group in the Apuan Alps.
Ghivizzano Castle stands on a low hill along the Serchio river, where time seems to have stopped. The Fortezza delle Verrucole allows its guests to immerse themselves in a cross-section of ancient daily life.
A special part for the local cuisine
The Toscana Pura package also offers two exclusive experiences to learn the secrets of Garfagnana cuisine. The Chef of the Resort Simone Cavani will organize a unique private cooking lesson, including a visit to the local market, to discover the most authentic ingredients of the local tradition. There will also be a tasting of biodynamic wines.
Wine but not only for drinking
In the package “Toscana Pura” you can’t miss the exclusive 110-minute Wine Ritual for two at the Resort’s Beauty Spa. Inspired by the vineyard, this treatment uses local products: starting with a delicate grape marc scrub, to a fragrant wine bath and finally a sensory massage with grape seed oils; the ritual stimulates the circulation, leaving the skin silky smooth and giving you a feeling of relaxation and general well-being.