Ghivizzano & The Serchio Valley
Casa La Pace Bed and Breakfast is in the village of Ghivizzano. Ghivizzano belongs to the municipality of Coreglia Antelminelli in the province of Lucca. The first historical document that mentions Ghivizzano dates to A.D. 983. The village is characterized by its cobblestone streets, its vaulted fortification walls, and a castle and guard tower by Castruccio Castracani, noted Lord of Lucca.
Ghivizzano is located in the Serchio Valley and borders the Garfagnana. The Serchio Valley lies between two mountain chains, the Apuan Alps and the Apennines. It is a picturesque valley of verdant hills covered in oak and chestnut trees. The Serchio River, which carved the valley, begins in the Garfagnana, a mysterious region of rugged mountains, grassy slopes, and mysterious forests. The valley is populated with hundreds of villages, sprinkled on mountain tops and steep hillsides, and hidden in secret valleys and crags. These villages still reflect their medieval origins, a time when each town was its own fiefdom and was controlled and protected by a powerful lord. Until recently, the Serchio Valley was ignored by the outside world, leaving most villages almost untouched. A stroll down the narrow alleys and cobblestone streets is a walk into the past.
The Serchio Valley, now a short drive from Lucca, was historically a remote, untamed territory. This isolation is reflected in its unique cuisine, a delicious mix of wild and cultivated ingredients. Today, the Serchio Valley, with its natural beauty, is a destination for visitors who want to explore history, enjoy wonderful local cuisine, and experience the 'true' Italy.
There are many day trips you can take from Casa La Pace.
Below are Frommers.com introductions to each town.
LE CINQUE TERRE - 2 hr 30 min
Olive groves and vineyards clinging to hillsides, proud villages perched above the sea, hidden coves nestled at the foot of dramatic cliffs -- the Cinque Terre is about as beautiful a coastline as you're likely to find in Europe. What's best about the Cinque Terre (named for the five neighboring towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore) is what are not here -- automobiles, large-scale development, or much else by way of 20th- and 21st-century interference. The pastimes in the Cinque Terre don't get much more elaborate than walking from one lovely village to another along trails that afford spectacular vistas; plunging into the Mediterranean or basking in the sun on your own waterside boulder; and indulging in the tasty local food and wine.
FIRENZE - 1 hr 30 min
Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci all left their mark on Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance and Tuscany's alfresco museum. With the graceful Duomo as a backdrop, follow the River Arno to the Uffizi Gallery, soaking in the Old Masters paintings. Then wander across the Ponte Vecchio bridge as dusk descends, silhouetting the red rooftops and lengthening the shadows of Florence's tangled medieval alleyways. Finally, sample seasonal Tuscan cuisine in an authentic trattoria. You've discovered the art of fine living in this masterpiece of a city.
LUCCA - 25 min
Lucca is the most civilized of Tuscany's cities, a stately grid of Roman roads snug behind a mammoth belt of tree-topped battlements. It's home to Puccini and soft pastel plasters, an elegant landscape of churches and palaces, delicate facades, and Art Nouveau shop fronts on wide promenades. The sure lines of the churches here inspired John Ruskin to study architecture, and though the center isn't the traffic-free Eden many other guidebooks would lead you to believe, cars truly are few and far between. Everyone from rebellious teens to fruit-shopping grandmothers tools around this town atop bicycles.
PISA - 50 min
Nothing says Pisa more than its Leaning Tower, part of the Campo dei Miracoli -- literally, Field of Miracles. Gateway to the Tuscan hills, this medieval city of architectural masterpieces goes against type with its young and upbeat feel. Native son Galileo may be long gone but students still come here to study at the prestigious university where he taught. In its heyday Pisa was one of Italy's most powerful maritime republics. Follow its past in the Romanesque churches, piazzas and palaces that line the winding Arno River through the city to the sea.
Nearby Villages and Towns
Below are of some of the nearby villages and hamlets near Casa La Pace and the approximate distance to each.
BAGNI DI LUCCA - 10 min
lBagni di Lucca is one of the few towns in this area that was built along a river. It was 'discovered' by the Bonapartes in the 1800s when the natural springs were developed into lovely bathhouses which still welcome visitors today.
BARGA - 15 min
lBarga is one of the principal towns of the Serchio Valley. It is perched on a hilltop and has breathtaking views of the Apuan Alps. It has long been awarded 'one of the most beautiful villages in Italy'.
BORGO A MOZZANO- 15 min
lOne of the most famous landmarks of the Serchio Valley is in Borgo A Mozzano, the Devil's Bridge. This was a vital trade artery for centuries and the ruts of laden carts are still visible in ithe old cobblestones.
CASTELNUOVO DI GARFAGNANA - 25
lSituated at the confluence of two rivers, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is the gateway to the Garfagnana. It has a commanding view of the Appenines and and is a historic market town.
COREGLIA ANTELMINELLI - 10 min
lCoreglia Antelminelli is one of the oldest historical mountain villages, nearly 2000 feet above sea level. It retains its defensive walls and a stroll through its narrow streets is a walk back in time.
FABBRICHE DI VALLICO - 15 min
Situated in a narrow canyon, Fabbriche di Vallico is one of the villages least touched by modernity. Origianlly known for its fabric dyreng factories, it is one of the hidden gems of the Serchio Valley.
LUCCA - 25 min
lLucca is the capital of the province and also its largest city. It is thoroughly modern in its attitude but its 2000 years of history are beautifully evident.
MONTEFEGATESI - 25 min
lMontefegatesi is one of the most picturesque villages of Italy. It is also one of the most remote, accessible via 20-minute drive up a narrow road comprised mostly of switchbacks. This wonderful hilltop village is well worth the trek.