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December 18, 2012

Christmas: A most ‘wander-full’ time of the year.

Vellano Snow 2012 - Holidays Accommodation & B&B Vellano near Pisa, Lucca & FlorenceWe wish you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year from Casa Verde, especially all our visiting guests and friends this year to our house in the hills above Pescia in Tuscany.  We have had our first snow a few weeks ago, as pictured here.  Hopefully, we are now set for some dry, crisp and brilliantly sunny winter days.  These are the days to venture out on one of our favorite activities….walking around these spectacular mountains and valleys.  OK we may not be as adventurous as some of our guests, who really tramped around for miles in the heat of the summer (Yes! I mean you Peter, Yoshiko and your family).  For us it is in the winter when the days still linger long past 5 o’clock in the afternoon and the clarity of the air means that from any vantage point you can see so far, and every line and crevice in the mountains and in the valley bottom is sharply defined.  A day out with a tasty picnic and a hot drink, a camera and a bar of chocolate is the perfect way to spend a day here.  Then to return back to Casa Verde, light the wood-burning  ‘stufa’ and settle down by the fire. (Yes we are open for business in the Winter and there is now a new wood-burner & new double glazing in the apartment!!)

One of our favourite recent walks was to cross over from our valley (The Valleriana) over into the Lima Valley near Bagni di Lucca, to the precipitous mountain village of Lucchio.

Croce di Veglia in Montana November Walk

We drove to the higher village of Pontito, about 6 miles up the valley from Vellano, and parked the car just above.  from there walking up the hill a little way we came to a place called Croce di Veglia.  This lovely spot that name literally means a crossroads, a meeting place and has a small chapel of ease (pictured above).  Here there a numbers of footpaths (sentieri) that stretch in various directions on top of, or down the hillsides.  We took a path over the top northward down a wide track towards the village of Lucchio.  From the first few steps we can see the Lima valley and the higher Appennines climbing up to the ski resort of Abetone.  Waterfalls, stone quarries and tree-lined valleys show the various tributaries that run down into the Lima on it’s way down to Lucca and the sea.  There is the constant sound of bells in the air and down to the right below the path is a goatherd and their keeper sitting and resting in a grassy clearing, below our path, he says good morning.  These are ancient routes taken by invaders and defenders over many thousands of years, and the cliff top castle and village of Lucchio is an ancient and spectacular reminder of the importance of these old routes and it’s fantastic geographical position.

Luccio Clings to the Hillside

As you can see the village is very steep and as we climb up the rocky, almost deserted streets to the ‘Rocca’, the castle above the town, you can see why it is there.  There are dizzying falls down three sides of the hill on which the castle stands, and incredible views down and up the valley on each side.  The sun is warm, the grass is dry….this has to be the most spectacular picnic spot we have ever had the privilege to enjoy.  We hope you have a fantastic Christmas ‘picnic’ too!

Malcolm and Darren

PS Please ‘Like’ Amici di Vellano, Friends of Vellano’ on Facebook


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