The Serchio Valley towards Lucca

02 March 2011 Published in Tuscany Itineraries
Ponte della Maddalena Ponte della Maddalena © Copyright Delicious Italy

The waters of the Serchio Valley plummet towards the Lucca Plain to remind you that this is a hilly zone of Tuscany. You can even ski in nearby Abetone. The towns seem to be hidden away around bends in the road and it is sometimes difficult to get your bearings. One landmark, however, is unmissable, the so called Devil's Bridge in the Media Valle del Serchio or mid Valley.

It is located near Borgo a Mozzano just 20km from Lucca, but its seems like 200 and a couple of centuries. The actual Ponte della Maddalena straddles the river with an incredible arch, commonly referred to as a 'donkey back'.

No doubt much local merchandise has been transprted across the river in such a way over the centuyries, but perhaps the first to use it may have been a local pig. The poor porker was used to exorcise the devil who had offered to help complete its construction in return for the soul of the first human who used it.

Disgusted, the devil never returned and decades later poet Giovanni Pascoli was inspired by the unspoilt nature and simple way of life here. He called it the 'Valley of the Beautiful and the Good'. Do seek out the Casa Pascoli Museum. In Borgo a Mozzano, there is still a large market event dedicated to the azalea flower.

Other localities of interest are Coreglia Antelminelli for its Museum of the Plaster Figurine and Emigration. Fabbriche di Valico and Celle di Puccini for its Puccini Museum in a 16th century house owned by the ancestors of the great composer.

In Vetriano di Pescaglia is the 'Small Theatre of Vetriano' and the world's smallest, public historical theatre according to the guiness Book of Records, just 71 metres square.