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November 20, 2011

Autumn in Barga

Many of our visitors to Casa Verde head off for the great triumpherate Tuscan cities of Lucca, Florence and Pisa; all within an hours drive from Pescia.  However, there are some stunningly beautiful parts of our area that not all travellers manage to see.  One of these areas lies around 40 miles away from here over the hills and valleys of the lower Appennines to the Garfagnana and the Serchio valley.  The town of Barga is the jewel in its crown.  A lovely fairy tale place set on a hilly promontory overlooking the craggy marble magnificence of the Alpi Apuane hills, and topped by what I think is one of the most unique and glorious of Romanesque churches in Italy.

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January 16, 2011

Winter

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Darren Hackett @ 4:34 pm

Skating in Piazza Napoleone in Lucca.  This seems a popular activity today, even though it is a lovely balmy day.  The snows pre-Christmas have disappeared and we have had some lovely almost warm sunny days.  Seeing ice skating in a piazza that I usually associate with hot sunny weather seems strange.

Among the joys of living in Italy are the new friendships you make along the way, as well as the local people you meet in everyday life.  For instance when you need wood to burn, you have to find the local man who cuts, seasons, stores and delivers your wood.  We needed more wood and the local man is a seventy year old who delivered only 10 quintale (10 hundred kilos) of wood because he knew that would be enough for now when we had asked for 20, and also charged us one euro less per quintale because we were now villagers and local friends.  The Signor who runs a store in Pescia that sells everything you can think of in 5 storeys of an ancient store house .  We usually buy our bombole (gas bottles) there but he sells beds, matteresses and other furniture, all sorts of ironmongery, tools, paint.  He also sells stufas – wood burning stoves that are the staple of heating equipment in rural Italy.  We tried an open fire in our new sitting room but alas – too smokey and drafty.  So we opened our wallets a little bit more and found Signor Fattorini had two whole rooms full of these stufas of all sizes and types.  A wonder house of iron and steel.  We selected what we needed, a lovely tall black stove, and it was deliverd in days with the peices of flue that we needed to go up the chimney and in 15 minutes we were off and burning.  We love our stufa and at last our house in Tuscany feels much more like a home.  We have had lots of guests in and out over the last few weeks of Christmas and the New Year and it has been a pleasure to welcome them with a lovely warm cosy room in the winter of Tuscany.

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