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December 5, 2014

Roads to Casa Verde

Filed under: Uncategorized — Darren & Malcolm @ 2:40 pm

There are many roads up and around the valleys above Pescia and Lucca and they are vital in maintaining peoples access to the main shopping and working centres  located on the valley floor. For the past 70 decades there has been a gradual shift in workers looking for jobs in shops, factories and other businesses in the area. Meanwhile the life style of the ‘contadini’, the country workers, in the mountains has been slowly eroded. It was unusual for people in villages such as Vellano to visit the nearest main town of Pescia more than once a month. There were supplies of what was needed all around them in the village. Any transported goods were carried by pack horse as late as the last war and Vellano did not have surfaced road until the 1950’s. Here is a photo of the labourers building the road at that time; the photo has been shared by our neighbour.


Isn’t it such a beautiful photograph of these guys seemingly so happy in their work.  I wonder how many of them are still alive today. The road is of course particularly important as we move towards the heart of Winter with the threat of frost and snow.  The road is especially significant as it is one of the routes up to the ski resort of Abetone so it is kept open all year round.  This last year was a mild and damp winter followed by a lot of rain during the late summer and autumn months, this has led to a 40% drop in Italy’s olive harvest, probably with greater damage in the Tuscany region, other crops too have suffered in the unusual weather of 2014. Many coastal resorts in North West Tuscany and Liguria around Genoa have experienced floods and mudslides, with many losing their homes, roads and living from the land.

So this year we are all hoping for a drier and colder Winter season with lots of bug-killing frosts, and a necessary drying of the land for the Spring of 2015.

Talking of roads being built, those guests and friends who have enjoyed their visits to Casa Verde will know that there has been a small price to pay for the splendid view from the property; that is the ride (or walk) up and down our famous ‘strada bianca’.  It is not very long but was a bit bumpy and scary……well not anymore!!

HolidayDrive 051It may need a little more landscaping, and it is not quite the Yellow Brick Road, although it is the yellow required by the Florence authorities! However, it makes for a pleasant smooth, gentle ascent to the start of your holiday.  It is of course our new cement road.

A Pathway to Paradise?

A Highway to Heaven?

Well maybe those are too pretentious as names …so we can just call it…..

Una Strada pui Bello!!!


HolidayDrive 054

No more muddy shoes when you dine out at the Ristorante Bistrot!


No more unloading of bags or passengers at the bottom of the drive!


No more fear of heart attacks as you ascend the hill!


A formal opening will no doubt be made for the Summer season of 2015.



  1. Love the old photo, and a nice post. The drive is great, looks really impressive, well done. Hope the cold comes and spring is drier xx

    Comment by Liz — December 5, 2014 @ 8:21 pm

  2. Hi Liz, Thanks it has been a lot of hard work! Not so much digging as we had a company do the work. But all the negotiation with Florence about the colour which was at first too gray, then too brown, then too red and it ended up YELLOW!! We think of it as the Yellow Brick Road! I hope you are well. Darren X & Malcolm X

    Comment by Darren Hackett — December 6, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

  3. Happy New Year to you both. How wonderful to see the yellow road — you must feel you are in heaven !!
    All good wishes from David & Jenifer xx

    Comment by David & Jenifer — December 26, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

  4. Dear Darren and Malcolm,

    Congratulations! So typical Firenze making you mess about with the color. LOL

    Hope your holidays were wonderful.

    Diane and Al

    Comment by Diane Hague — December 29, 2014 @ 9:43 pm

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