Carmen and David's Trip to Italy

Greetings all.   Just a short note and links to pictures from our trip to Italy June 2002.

Hope you enjoy.  Your feedback is appreciated.


And now, the links:



Cardoso is my father's hometown situated in the Garfagnana region. Only a one hour drive from Pisa, the Garfagnana valley and region is based on a mountain range of the Alpi Apuane. This mountainous region lends itself to great hikes, horseback rides as well as mountain bike riding.  The heart of the area is the Serchio river.  Garfagnana is noted for it porcini mushrooms and spelt.  Spelt, or 'Farro' is one of the first grains to be grown by early farmers as long ago as 5,000 BC.     The majority of these pictures were taken near the beginning of our trip while we were winding down from the plane ride and getting re-acquainted with our family and relatives.




Lucca, population 87,000 is enclosed by Renaissance walls.  It was founded by the Etruscans and was under Roman rule by around 200BC. The walls around the city stretch 4km and provide joggers and cyclists a great view of the city within.  Cars are not allowed in the heart of the city.  People are very friendly and as of the last 10 years, Lucca is becoming very popular with fellow Italians as well as tourists.



Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is an area of five fishing villages located in Liguria, the Italian Riveria of Northwest Italy. Terraced hillsides, steep rocky cliffs, blue waters and friendly local charm are some of the characteristics of this peaceful area.  From south to north, the villages are Riomaggiore,  Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.  This is a definate stop if/when we go back to Italy.  We are in love.



Population of around 30,000.  Napoleon's place of exile for 10 months starting May 1814.  Elba attracts around 1 million visitors per year, making it a very busy place in the summer...especially August. Luckily, while we were there, it wasn't too packed and was very peaceful. Growing in popularity as an adventurous place to walk, the mountainous terrain can provide levels for the novice to the expert. Elba is part of the Tuscan Archipelago and from the Island, one can see a faint trace of Corsica in the distance. Just 28km long and 19km wide at it's widest point, Elba surprisingly well equipped for tourists.   A beautiful island with very high mountain ranges, winding roads, lush vineyards, arid hilltops and secret sandy beaches.  It is a must if you decide to travel to Tuscany, plain and simple.


Surrounding Areas

There is no denying that Garfagnana is different and captivating! This land of Tuscany is a real environmental miracle, an "unicum" that springs from a happy coincidence of factors: it looks like a harsh mountain landscape, but it leaves room for broad valleys. It is beautiful in every season and if in winter it is at its most spectacular, with the snow-covered peaks forming a breath-taking sight, in summer it suddenly bursts into bloom. Here we find blue gentians, white jonquils, creamy asphodels and scarlet peonies: every corner is like a na´ve art work, a splash of colour enlivening the pastel green of the pastures

Garfagnana still belongs to the time of fairy-tales, because certain villages are still as they were a hundred, even two hundred years ago. The Apuan Alps are the most characteristic element in the territory, being in sharp contrast with the nearby Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. So we find little shelters for shepherds on the high pastures and a nevertiring succession of churches, hermitages, castles and fortresses. All seems to blend with the environment in a perfectly natural way. It is an exciting experience to pursue the myth of the mountain along this slope of the Apuan Alps.

is the most important town in the Valle del Serchio and today is a commercial and industrial centre. There was already a flourishing production of valuable fabrics here in the 12th century. The medieval town centre with its partially-intact walls lies on a spur above the modern part of the town called Barga Giardino. The ancient Duomo is at the topmost point of the historic town centre in a grassy piazza, from which you get an extensive view of the surrounding mountains. Begun in the 9th century and dedicated to San Cristofano, it was heavily damaged by a serious earthquake in 1920, though it has subsequently been restored.

Castelnuovo Garfagnana
the capital of this mountain area, has origins dating back to the 8th century. Until 1429, it was under the dominion of the Republic of Lucca, then it was ruled almost uninterruptedly by the Estensi until 1814. The earthquake in 1920 and then the Second World War devastated the ancient town centre. Nowadays Castelnuovo is an industrial centre.

Castelnuovo (277 m s.l.m.) It is the chief town and the heart of the green Garfagnana the northern part constitutes some valley of the river Serchio contained between the mountainous buttresses of the alps Apuane and the Appennino. Km. is being far from Lucca and the Versilia 40 Km.

Palleroso, Monterotondo, Antisciana, Gragnanella, Cerretoli, Colle and Rontano are the carattenstiche little towns of ancient origin placed in striking environments and with paths that crossing green woods allow a dive in the nature finding out the history of a rural population with his daily rhythms and the architecture of the civilization to the same time.

So enjoy my pictures and feel free to contact me.  All pictures were taken with my Nikon Coolpix 995 - the second love of my life.  Carmen is first of course!!!


Carmen and David