An area to be discovered, with its immense chestnut woods and roads designed for pure driving pleasure, we will discover the traditions, art, culture and local gastronomy in a mix of experiences: suggestions and flavours that will make your stay in this land where time seems to have stopped unique. You, with your motorbikes and the roads of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, the Apuan Alps and the landscapes of the Cinque Terre, will be the protagonists of this holiday in an environment that is constantly changing colours and scents.
Our itineraries have been designed to combine a passion for motorcycling with a desire to get to know and experience this incredible area of Tuscany. Ideal for couples and groups.
The GPX tracks of the chosen tours are sent to you by e-mail at the time of your booking. They have been created and tested by our staff who, like you, love to use motorbikes in their free time, so that you can travel along all the forgotten back roads that only "locals" know.
The routes in GPX tracks are with arrival and departure at the Hotel Belvedere.
In the description of the itineraries you will find
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The pass is located at 1529 m above sea level and is crossed by the former state road 324 del Passo delle Radici, which connects the Garfagnana with the upper Secchia valley, crossing from east to west across the high Modenese Apennines.
Castiglione di Garfagnana
Ancient fortified village with the fortress located on the highest part around which the town developed, which for defence reasons was "encastellated", i.e. surrounded by high walls joined by towers, still today one can admire the patrol walkways and the narrow slits for external control. The Church of San Michele with its pink and white stone façade is interesting. Don't miss the medieval bridge that connects the footpath to Chiozza.
San Pellegrino in Alpe
A very small village in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, at an altitude of 1525 m above sea level, it dominates an immense panorama over the Serchio valley and the entire chain of the Apuan Alps. Since ancient times, it has been a hinge between the provinces of Lucca and Modena, as witnessed by the town's bar: you can enjoy your coffee in the province of Lucca and pay for it in the province of Modena. The town retains its ancient characteristics dominated by the Sanctuary, where the remains of S. Pellegrino and S. Bianco are preserved, and by the old hospice where the Museum of Rural Civilisation is housed.
An ancient settlement of pastoral origin whose name surely derives from the red marble (saxo rubeo), much appreciated for its rarity and beauty, found on the rocky spur on which the village is built.
Careggine and Isola Santa
It is situated on the slopes of Monte Sumbra over an area of 24.46 square kilometres, on the eastern side of the Apuan Alps. The plateau on which the town stands, at an altitude of 882 metres, is one of the most beautiful panoramic terraces in the entire valley.
The historical centre, enclosed within the walls, offers suggestive glimpses of the narrow cobbled streets, overlooked by stone houses with the characteristic "ALTANE": covered terraces that were used to store agricultural products. A beautiful panoramic road connects Capanne di Careggine and Isola Santa, where the old village with its roofs covered in slabs of slate is reflected in the waters of the artificial lake of the same name.
We recommend a visit to the nearby church of San Biagio, a small architectural jewel dating back to the 11th century, which despite the alterations retains some parts of the original masonry, including the apse made of large sandstone blocks. The bell gable tower is characteristic.
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
Castelnuovo Garfagnana, a small town situated at the confluence of the Turrite Secca and the Serchio, is the centre of the valley, animated every Thursday morning by an important market with vendors and customers from the Emilian mountains. The Rocca Ariostesca (12th century), which owes its name to Ludovico Ariosto, governor of Garfagnana for the Este family, is worth a visit, as is the ancient Duomo. Lastly, the Fortress of Monte Alfonso (14th century), also built by the Este family to defend the town, surrounded by imposing walls with bastions, two entrance gates and walkways, from where you can admire the valley at 360 degrees.
Gallicano is located along the road that leads from Lucca to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. It covers an area of 30.5 square kilometres and is 186 metres above sea level.
The town retains the typical features of a medieval village, including a wall, of which some remains can still be admired today, originally erected during the Middle Ages and another, more recent, built during the Renaissance.
Located in the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps in the centre of one of the harshest and most evocative areas of the Pania Secca. It owes its name to the violent air current that flows through it, due to the two entrances located at different heights. You pass through tunnels and galleries smoothed by the water, halls adorned with stalagmites that look like white teeth, while stalactites dripping water droplets hang from the ceiling, walls enriched by flows and draperies that fade from white to orange, you walk between crystalline lakes and streams until you reach large vertical wells of inexplicable beauty. The variety of the underground landscapes, the living and shining concretions, the beauty of the limestone with its extraordinary shades, make the Grotta del Vento a real encyclopaedia of the underground world, visited every year by many tourists.
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
The capital of the Garfagnana, a small town, situated at the confluence of the Turrite Secca and the Serchio is the centre of the valley, animated every Thursday morning by an important market that sees the presence of sellers and customers who also come from the Emilian mountains. The Rocca Ariostesca (12th century), which owes its name to Ludovico Ariosto, governor of Garfagnana for the Este family, is worth a visit, as is the ancient Duomo. Finally, the Fortress of Monte Alfonso (14th century), also commissioned by the Este family to defend the town, surrounded by an imposing wall with bastions, two entrance gates and walkways, from which you can admire the valley at 360 degrees.
Fabbriche di Vallico
The history of the village of Fabbriche di Vallico began with the foundation of a small hermitage, belonging to the order of S. Agostino and dedicated to San Giorgio and San Galgano, in 1214 in the locality of Valbona, thanks to some donations made by the people of the castle of Trassilico.
At the beginning of the 14th century, with the arrival in the area of some blacksmiths from Bergamo, a short distance from the convent along the banks of the Turrite Cava stream, small workshops began to spring up dedicated to ironworking and more precisely to the manufacture of nails, tools and other materials, hence the name Fabbriche. The ancient organic mill is worth seeing.
Hermitage of Calomini
Near Gallicano, it is possible to visit the Hermitage of Calomini, a unique medieval monastery in a good state of preservation, clinging to the foot of an overhanging wall on the mountain above. The splendid chapel, carved into the rock like most of the monastery, is evocative, in memory and defence of the place where the Virgin Mary appeared to a young shepherdess in the local mountains.
A picturesque reservoir in which the rocky peaks of the Roccandagia, Tambura, Pisanino and Pizzo d'Uccello mountains are reflected. A small jetty has been built on the beautiful grassy beach where sailboats and rowing boats can moor. It is the only lake in Garfagnana where you can swim.
Certainly one of the most interesting attractions is Lake Vagli, one of the largest hydroelectric reservoirs in Italy, but its fame is due to the ghost town of Fabbriche di Careggine. The waters of the lake, as they rose, submerged this small medieval village of blacksmiths from Brescia. Today it is only possible to visit what remains of this charming little village when the lake itself is drained. Don't forget the "Suspended Rope Bridge", which allows you to walk directly over the lake, the nearby "Park of Honour and Dishonour" and for the more courageous "The Flight of the Angel", an exciting launch into the valley.
Lake Isola Santa
Isola Santa, where the old village with its slate-covered roofs is reflected in the waters of the lake of the same name. It is a small village in the Apuan Alps, in Garfagnana. Located at 550 m above sea level, it was probably founded as a hospice in the early Middle Ages, on the road linking Garfagnana to Versilia. This once abandoned hamlet has been partly restored in recent years and retains a very rustic appearance. Isola Santa is embellished by an ancient church dedicated to San Jacopo, mentioned in 1260 and now deconsecrated. The village overlooks an artificial lake, filled by the waters of the Turrite Secca stream stopped by a dam in 1948-49, which partly submerged the ancient settlement.
From a height of 600 metres, the fortress dominates the Apuan Alps, the peaks of the Apennines, the Pania di Corfino and much of the valley floor: a spectacle of unique beauty. It is possible to enter the Archeodrome, to see a faithful reconstruction of life in medieval times in costume, the utensils of daily life and the weapons used during battles and sieges. If you are lucky, you may run into the ghost of the fortress: Captain Francesco Accorsini, accused of magic and witchcraft and thus sentenced to death.
It covers an area of 52 square kilometres in the municipalities of Villa Collemandina, San Romano Garfagnana and Piazza al Serchio. It is a natural park managed by the Forestry Corps. In its interior, characterised by woods, meadows and rocky environments, rivers and streams, it is possible to observe deer, fallow deer, wild boar and other animals in the wild and in personalised enclosures. The "visitors' centre" houses a museum illustrating the main naturalistic aspects of the area and a botanical garden with a mountain garden is a beautiful example of mountain flowers.
Apuan Alps Park - Donna's Garden
Stupendous glacial basin surrounded by mountains Pisanino (m. 1946), Cavallo (m. 1888), Contrario (m. 1790), Grondilice (m. 1805), Garnerone (m. 1735) and Pizzo d'Uccello (m. 1781). Various routes start from the refuges, allowing you to walk through the Apuan White Marble quarries.
Marble has been extracted in the Apuane for centuries, but today the extraction technologies are so advanced that they allow rhythms of excavation that were unthinkable only fifty years ago, when the large white blocks were still slowly descending to the valley along the "lizza" road, held back only by the strength of the "lizzatori".
Careful, regulated management of this invaluable resource is the basis for safeguarding the entire area. The challenge and credibility of the Park lie precisely in its ability to create new economies linked to the protection and enhancement of tourism and the environment, with the creation of jobs that are different from those offered by the quarrying economy and its allied industries.
The Pradarena Pass (1,579 m) is a pass in the Parco dell'Appennino Tosco-Emiliano that separates Tuscany from Emilia and in particular the province of Lucca from Reggio Emilia. Between the Cisa and Forbici Passes, the wooded ridges that separate Tuscany from Emilia give way to a true mountain environment. The peaks of the Alpe di Succiso, Monte Prado and Monte Cusna are over 2000 metres high, the forests give way to rocks, lakes and high altitude meadows. Further down, on the Emilia side, the unmistakable Pietra di Bismantova dominates the landscape with its vertical walls, while on the Tuscan side, the limestone ramparts of Pania di Corfino stand out. This is an area where the golden eagle and the wolf find an ideal habitat, but also an area where man has always lived with his traditional activities, agriculture, sheep farming and forestry, to which he has added, in recent years, tourist accommodation. To safeguard this extraordinary wealth of environments and promote sustainable tourism in this area, the Parco Nazionale dell'Appennino Tosco Emiliano was created in 2001. On the Tuscan side, it includes the municipalities of Giuncugnano, San Romano in Garfagnana and Villa Collemandina, with the Orecchiella Nature Reserves.
The Pietra di Bismantova (Bismantova Stone) is the rocky massif with the unmistakable and isolated ship-shaped profile that characterises the landscape of the Reggio Emilia Apennines. With a length of 1 km, a width of 240 m and a height of 300 m, on the plateau that forms its base, it is a gigantic example of residual erosion.
Its formation dates back to the Middle Lower Miocene, about 15 million years ago, when this calcarenite, resting on a base of clayey marl, formed in a shallow marine environment during a tropical climate phase.
Cerreto Pass and Cerreto Laghi
The Cerreto Pass (1,261 m) is a pass in the Parco dell'Appennino Tosco-Emiliano that separates Tuscany from Emilia, and in particular the province of Massa from Reggio Emilia. Together with Monte La Nuda and Cima Belfiore, it has been classified as a Site of Community Importance (SCI) and a Special Protection Zone (SPA). From the pass, it is just a few kilometres to Cerreto Laghi, at 1,344 metres above sea level, where there is a ski resort that is quite famous in the area.
The Ponte della Maddalena, commonly known as the "Devil's Bridge", is a medieval stone construction of unusual shape, built around 1100 by Countess Matilde Di Canossa near Borgo a Mozzano. Its "humpback" structure gives it a mysterious air, thanks also to the high and thin central archway that has always amazed so much as to create stories and legends, including that of being the work of the Devil. The legend tells of an agreement between the head builder and the Devil due to the delay of the bridge itself. The Devil would finish the bridge in one night in exchange for the first soul to cross the bridge. The bridge was miraculously finished and the Devil was caged because the first soul to cross the bridge was a dog.
The territory of Abetone has always been a crossing point of the Apennines and it is said that Hannibal used it to enter Etruria. In 1766, construction began on the road that joined the Grand Duchy of Tuscany with the Duchy of Modena, crossing the lower reaches of the Apennines. It was agreed between the two states to start the work at the same time, starting from the border, in order to avoid any delay. Six hundred workers divided into six companies set to work in two different locations. During the construction work, a fir tree was felled that was so large that it could not even be embraced by six people and from which the name Abetone was born.
Over the years, Abetone became a summer and winter resort, with one of the most important ski resorts in central Italy.
Bagni di Lucca
Becoming famous thanks to Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi brought an international turn to Bagni di Lucca, elevating it to the status of summer capital, with a huge influx of international guests. With the restructuring of the baths and the modernisation of the treatments, a considerable number of hotels were built to accommodate increasingly heterogeneous guests.
In the nineteenth century Bagni di Lucca became a tourist-thermal resort of first importance in Europe. The new casino was inaugurated in 1839; this was followed by the construction of the first Anglican church in Italy (1840) and the English cemetery (1842), the Club des Anglais (1840) another gambling house in operation until the Great War, where games were played in English or French money, brought a very large British colony that described the Val di Lima as the Switzerland of Tuscany.
In the second half of the 19th century a very slow decline began, accelerated with the unification of Italy and the loss of all those advantages of being the summer capital of a state and not just a chief town.
Bagni di Lucca was the first town in Italy to have public electric lighting in 1886.
The "Passo del Vestito" (1151 m), an alpine pass that overlooks the gorge of the Renara valley opposite the elegant profile of Mount Sagro. A few metres from the pass is the entrance to a bunker that is part of the complex system of fortifications, known as the "Gothic Line", created by the Germans during the Second World War. We set off from Castelnuovo Garfagnana to climb this little-known pass in the Apuan Alps.
The narrow, winding road runs alongside the Tùrrite Secca stream, which has carved its bed into the rock.
Suddenly the ancient centre of Isola Santa appears on the right, the road leading to the summit is narrow and winding, but the landscape is of incomparable beauty.
Outside a tunnel dug directly into the rock with the debris gradually invading the roadway, you can finally enjoy the magnificent landscape that sweeps over the surrounding mountains, we are on the Passo del vestito.
The view flows over the landscape while the silence is absolute.
Shortly after the pass, a plaque commemorates the folly of the Second World War and the famous Gothic Line.
Fantiscritti marble quarries
The Fantiscritti quarries are white marble quarries located in the municipality of Carrara and can be reached by following the old tunnels of the Marmifera. A short stop for a photo at the Ponti di Vara to climb up to the famous Michelangelo quarries. The name of the quarries is due to a bas-relief from the Roman era (3rd AD), sculpted on a rock face and depicting three divinities ("infantrymen") with a dedication in Latin ("writings") below them.
It is possible to visit the quarries in two totally different ways, inside the mountain where there is the most famous quarry in a tunnel thanks to the Marmotour and a more traditional one outside thanks to a 4×4 Jeep excursion.
There is a railway station built for the Carrara Private Marble Railway line. It houses a 'Quarry Museum' and is often the stage and backdrop for performances by artists.
There is also a historic bridge crane that has been there since the 19th century and was used to load the marble first onto marble convoys and now onto the trucks that transport the marble to Marina di Carrara.
An obligatory stop along the old tunnels of the Marmifera are the Ponti di Vara.
Famous for its marble quarries and as a base for excursions into the surrounding mountains. The first marble quarry was opened in 1849, from Arni to Seravezza, then to the sea passed the largest inclined plane with rails in the area which allowed with an extraordinary route the movement of marble blocks. On the way up to Arni, a stop at the abandoned Hernaux Marble Quarry is a must.
Passo dei Carpinelli in Via Statale 445
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GPS – LAT 44°12’7” LONG 10°13’37’