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Comments Off on The Garfagnana (northern Tuscan mountains)

I visited this region in September and it is a beautiful, wooded paradise in the province of Lucca.  Because of the dense forests and heavy rainfall it is filled with chestnut trees.  It is also filled with wonderful hidden villages where artisans are still doing what there ancestors did many hundreds of years ago; farming so they can make cheese, sausage, can & pickle the excess produce from their gardens, weaving, creating crafts and art that reflects their love of nature.  And of course, growing grapes, making wine, picking and pressing delectable olives for oil.

Pottery w/traditional design

Pottery w/traditional design

My friend, Heather Jarman, who lives and works in Bagni di Lucca, designs tours for very small groups of travelers (#smallgrouptoursitaly) who are interested in experiencing the “real” Italy, rather than what tourists are allowed to see.  She was very generous to show me just what her excursions represent.  I was so impressed with this new area that I’m designing a few Italian Excursion tours to include some of these events.

Ready for harvest!

Ready for harvest!

Here is what Heather has to say about some of her lovely activities: “These fascinating learning holidays are specially designed for you and your family, friends, club or organisation — anyone who enjoys good food and drink and wants to find out where it comes from and how it’s produced. We guide you to places you’d never find on your own in a magical land of ‘il bello e il buono’ (the beautiful and the good) where ‘il tempo non corre’ (time stands still). Hands-on activities like picking olives and cooking lessons give you a real feel for the ingredients and cuisine. You are welcomed into the ‘laboratories’ and homes of small artisanal producers eager to show you how traditional foods have been made for centuries or how they have introduced new technology without compromising the end result. Meals in family restaurants are times to relax and savour the fruits of the season and how the locals use them. The adventures are spiced with liberal sprinklings of shopping, walks, music, art, traditional crafts, gardens and architecture.

aging the cheeses

aging the cheeses

You can tell just by the images conjured up in your mind after reading her text that Heather takes great care in presenting this area in all its glory.  Watch for some of our small group tours that will highlight Sapori e Saperi Adventures with Heather Jarman.

Ciao,

Cheryl