I was driving in Garfagnana in the middle of April and the weather was kind of crazy: sun, rain, warm and cold in the same day! I don’t know why I wasn’t prepared for that as this is normal in the beginning of the Spring season in Italy. Before you ask me: Spring officially starts on March 21st and ends on June 21st. So, if you are traveling in the same period, I advise you to dress like an onion: t-shirt, pullover and a heavy coat.
The route to get to Castelnuovo is a part of the trip: narrow road by the river with the mountains around you, ancient Tuscan houses… I bet you’ll stop to take pictures as I did (the Devil’s bridge is a must!).
The main attraction of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is the Rocca Ariotesca, a fortress built in the 11th century and the home of the poet Ludovico Ariosto: between 1522-55 he was the Governor of the province of Garfagnana.
My last advice is about food: you’d better arrive early for lunch. I was able to get a table at Trattoria Marchetti because I arrived at 12.30: most tables were reserved and I wouldn’t have had the possibility to eat a delicious local food if I had arrived 10 minutes later.
This trattoria was an excellent tip of an old lady I met for the first time some minutes earlier! Well, maybe the best advice is that you spend at least 4 days at Castelnuovo so you’ll have time to live Garfagnana the slow way, maybe add a picnic at Fortezza delle Verrucole or a trekking day in the National parks around there.
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