Just 15 minutes from Popiglio is a beautiful gorge that will feed your sense of adventure as well as your craving for nature. The Canyon Park is the first adventure park in Italy set inside a canyon. Its zip wires, tight ropes, and Tibetan bridges span the Lima River in the Cocciglia Canyon, to give an experience that goes beyond adrenaline to natural splendour – with a kick!
There are water holes to jump into, fun activities to try (all with security gear, of course!), along with river rafting. Water trekking and SUPs (stand up paddle boards) are also offered, so no matter what your thrill or level of adventure, there is something for you to try and enjoy. Tamer types can enjoy lounging on a riverside beach and swimming in the lagoon in a beautiful environment.
Advance booking is recommend in high season. http://www.canyonpark.it/en/
Santa Maria Assunta
Santa Maria Assunta is a Romanesque church in the piazza in Popiglio. It is one of the most important sacred monuments in the Montagne Pistoiese. It was built in 1271 with the facade decorated with bas-reliefs in stone. The interior was modified in the second half of the 16th Century.
A pleasant walk down to the river Lima from Casa Nicola will take you to the Ponte Castruccio, a magnificent example of a Medieval bridge, known to locals as ‘Bridge Bells’, it features a single arch 10m high, an enchanted place, almost out of time.
Torri di Popiglio
Upstream of the village rose the Rocca Securana, an important defense point of the Montagne Pistoiese on the border with the state of Lucca until the 15th Century. The fortress stood on an ancient Roman camp of the 2nd Century BC that was used to protect the Roman roads. The towers of Popiglio are the last remnants of the fortress and stand at 811 meters above sea level.
A breath-taking footbridge, long, narrow, and high, that connects the two sides of the Lima stream between Mammiano Basso and Popiglio. It was built in 1923 to allow for the factory workers to arrive at work quickly. Being suspended high in the air makes for a thrilling hike while admiring the views.
An important festival that takes place every year on 30th April is the Cantamaggio. According to an ancient tradition, musicians and singers tour around the local streets and houses singing songs that announce the spring and hope for a good harvest. In return they are given wine and eggs which are then eaten together. Anyone can participate, bring instruments and join in the festivities.
San Marcello Pistoiese
The nearest market town is San Marcello Pistoiese. Just 10 minutes by car, or there is a bus service. Here you will find shops, supermarkets, restuarants, bars and even a hospital.
On the 8th September every year San Marcello celebrate the anniversary of Saint Celestina with a hot-air balloon made of paper which is placed in the main square and set free in the afternoon of that day with all the people around watching it flaying until it disappears in the sky.
Bagni di Lucca
The spa town of Bagni di Lucca is 15 minutes away in the direction of Lucca. There you will find plenty of restaurants and bars as well as an excellent outdoor swimming pool. Also a good place to stock up on food supplies at the house.
The very beautiful Ponte Diavolo crosses the Serchio river at Borgo a Mozzano, just 4 kilometres before Bagni di Lucca.
The bridge was thought to be commissioned by the Countess Matilda of Tuscany around 1080 – 1100 to enable people to cross the Serchio and get access to the spas in Bagno di Corsena, as Bagni di Lucca was then called.
The bridge’s more popular name, Devil’s Bridge, comes from the legend from the time of Saint Julian, the protector of travellers. The devil was asked for help to construct the bridge and in return he was offered the soul of whoever crossed the bridge first. Saint Julian arranged for a dog to cross the bridge for the first time.
Collodi is where you can find Villa Garzoni. Designed by Ottaviano Diodati in the end of the 18th century and proud owner of one of the most beautiful staircases. The stairway is like a monumental theatre of Baroque design. They say that the park surrounding the Villa inspired Carlo Collodi to writing his famous tale Pinocchio.
As well as the major towns of Florence, Lucca and Pisa all within an hour’s drive, there are many other areas of northern Tuscany to visit. The list is endless, but here are a few recommendations:
One of Tuscany’s hidden gems, the beautifully preserved town of Pistoia has many historic and artistic treasures. It is also a lively town with many excellent restaurants and bars. Pistoia also has a major music festival every year called Pistoia Blues featuring many well-known artists.
Abetone is the second highest mountain in Tuscany and a very popular ski resort. It is just 20 minutes from Casa Nicola. It’s on the border with Emilia Romagna, in the province of Pistoia. It’s very well-known in Italy and is the perfect place to bring together a vacation on the snow and a holiday in Tuscany.
The Garfagnana is the mountain area north of Lucca, with famous towns such as Barga. It is home to a nature park called Parco dell’Orecchiella and is famous for its chestnuts. There are many small hamlets immersed in the woods which have been abandoned and for this reason the Garfagnana region is a walker’s paradise.