Hunting Fortresses North of La Collina del Sole

If while you Rent a Villa in Tuscany you fancy a spot of adventure and fortress hunting, we list below a few of the highlights north of La Collina del Sole the jewel among Villa rentals in Tuscany The largest town near us is Castelnuovo di Garfagnana which  could be translated as "NewCastle of Garfagnana".

Ariosto spent a few years posted in what is now the Comune of Castelnuovo. He considered this posting rather a trial as to him the rugged seclusion of the location was "the back of beyond". Castelnuovo is full of delicious home grown food shops, artisanal gelaterias and workshops you can also visit the original Fortezza whcih was situated in an excellent defensive position at the top of the hill, to visit this newly restored Fortezza head towards the carabinieri HQ and turn left up the hill … and keep going, up,  up and away !  it is situated at the top of the hill above the town.

If you love walking, biking or cycling there are many fantastic country paths, small or even tiny roads and great wood expanses in this region, here are a few of our favourites

Sillico is a medieval town with trully breathtakingly spectacular views over the valley. It also boasts of a a lovely restaurant at the entrance, called La Terrazza where you can eat a glorious meal very reasonably indeed while admiring the  expansive valleys below. From May through to September it holds midieval feasts and exhibitions of bygone tradicional weaving, land husbandry and cooking.

San Pelegrino in Alpe demarcates the confines between Modena and Lucca,  is it situated a steep drive up towards Pieve Pellago, to the outpost of the Apennine hills, it almost always has snow in the winter, it was a hermitage and is fairly rugged with a museum and the mummified corpses of the hermits of the area San Bianco and San Pellegrino, whom it turns out was Irish! The chapel where they rest demarcates the boundary of Modena and Lucca. If you are feeling incredibly fit and energetic you can cycle up to it, a feat fo sure but very satisfying !

A beautifuly restored fortress is the the Fortezza delle Verrucole, with imposing views and a very good sense of what it must have been like to live in medieval Italy, The town of San Romano is nearby and worth a visit.

Torrite is HOME to our favourite Chocolate Torta, a small very picturesque village in fact a “picture postcard” village with an abundance or red geraniums in terracotta window vases. This village has the Ginestri Chocolate Torta makers in the heart of it. When driving it is best to be in a mini sized car, or you can walk into it and take in the rustic beauty of the houses. and well tended Balconies. If you are interested in Hydroelectrical plants Torrite hosts a rather dramatic looking one in its outskirts

For Nature lovers the entire region abounds in walks, secluded villages, lakes, woods, phenomenal mountain and cliff walks, however if you like cool walks but would rather get there by car and even wander inside the park by car then the Orechiella National Park is perfect for you as it is always cool when the sun is scorching the rest of Tuscany.  Go past Castiglione di Garfagnana, a very picturesque fortified town, then Villa Collemandina and Corfino about 1.45 minutes drive from La Collina del Sole The park has fresh cool walks for those hot days, if you have children or babies in a pram it is easy to get around. It has a sanctuary for bears and a huge pond with the most amazing amount of tadpoles in it at the correct season.

Keep going north and see Parma whcih is definitely worth visiting. A charming town with beautiful architecture – not touristy and very unspoilt. The Cathedral is fabulous. A good day out. The famous theatre here is definitely worth a visit they hold an annual Verdi festival in the autumn.