Bagni di Lucca, the Val di Lima and the Garfagnana
Most of the properties we offer are situated to the north of Lucca in the villages of the hills surrounding the valleys of the Serchio and Lima rivers.
This is an area of wooded hills and winding roads, where many Italians choose to have their holiday properties, where there are still ruins to be found at reasonable prices, and good-value village houses complete with old terracotta floors, chestnut beams, and pantiled roofs.
You should however note this isn't Chianti, the fashionable, expensive and crowded part of Tuscany, south of Florence, but the quieter, more relaxed and, to our minds, far more interesting area to the north. Pisa and Florence are within easy reach, and skiing at Abetone and sandy beaches are within an hour's drive of the area. The region has excellent walking, friendly locals and many cultural activities. If you have read Eric Newby's "A Small Place In Italy" which is set towards the northern end of this region, you will already have a good idea of the area.
The villages remain mainly unspoilt with small scale farming the principal source of employment. Industry, primarily paper-making, is confined to the bottom of the valleys as only there is it possible to build roads suitable for heavy vehicles.
The northern, more mountainous, part of the region is known as the Garfagnana. This region begins around thirty kilometres north of Lucca. Through this area runs the river Serchio which divides two mountain ranges, the Apennines, the range that runs almost the entire length of Italy, and the Apuan Alps, the smaller coastal range well known for its marble. From this area the Serchio runs south eventually entering the Mediterranean Sea south of Viareggio.
Major towns in the Garfagnana include Barga (pop 11,000), noted for its prominent hilltop position and cathedral and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana (pop 6,000), the principal town of the region.
Some 15 kilometres to the north of Lucca the Serchio is joined by the river Lima, just to the west of the spa town of Bagni di Lucca.