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A Walk in the Lunigiana

■ 29 May 2012 by James Martin

Alpi Apuane pictureI write about Italy. I get some response. But when I stick my camera out my window and snap a picture of my village I get more response. I don’t know why that is, but I’m willing to think that the rural areas of Italy are getting more attention these days, especially the pretty rural areas.

Here folks make their own food. It’s good food. They forage a lot too. That’s good food. Perhaps the industrial crap food you get in America is making you crazy for rural Italy and its good food. I’m just guessing.

roses and monastery pictureOne of our walks is a bit of an uphill crawl toward what the Italians call an ex-monastero, a building that used to be a monastery but these days functions as an Agricultural school. The Lunigiana Chorus rehearses here.

Once we reach it, I go immediately to the top of the hill upon which the school’s vineyards sit, and I look out over the valley and see the little towns and the Apuan Alps, the marble mountains of Massa and Cararra, looming in the background. It’s a great view.

lunigiana landscape pictureThe vineyard itself is lined with roses, which as susceptible to the same fungal infections as the grape vines, so are grown as an early warning system. You can see this in the Napa Valley as well. All in all we have a tiny slice of what it is to live in a place where good food is a priority. Where wine isn’t for the wealthy, but cheap enough for almost everyone.

I can take the same path back, a wide, well maintained path that could carry a stout car or some small farming machinery, or I can take the road. My neighbors tell me that in fall they gather, at various times, porcini and chestnuts along the path.

Oh, you can click on these pictures to make them pop up into bigger sizes. Nice, eh? Don’t you wish you could hang out in the Lunigiana?

A Walk in the Lunigiana originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com May 29, 2012, © James Martin.

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