When we first visited Italy in 2014, we were invited to lunch at the home of friends, Deb and Jim, in the mountains of the Garfagnana. We recalled the drive as being somewhat hair-raising but, when invited again this time, we couldn’t resist. With much trepidation, we ventured forth, stopping in Gallicano for a heart starter coffee and pastry.
The road out of the village certainly fits the description of ‘narrow’,
as we passed beneath the ancient aqueduct.
It almost made the road to Vergemoli look like a highway,
excepting when there is more rock than road.
Clouds gathered as we climbed into the mountains,
looking back the way we had come, the view was spectacular.
The mountains loomed closer and before long we had reached Vergemoli.
Turning left at the small piazza, we parked at the top end of the village by the 17th century church of Sant’Antonio.
We had allowed time for a stroll through the village before lunch, our first discovery was an outdoor theatre, a lovely spot to watch a play in the summer months.
We could see for miles across the valley,
a stone bench perfectly placed to catch your breath after walking up the hill.
The houses were neat and colourful,
some seemed to end suddenly at the edge of the cliff.
There was no shortage of intriguing doorways.
The parish church of San Quirico and Santa Giulitta, in the middle of town, dates back to the 10th century.
I’m not sure what this stone monument represents but it is dated 1637AD
and another close by is unidentified.
Alleyways veered in all directions filled with dwellings built at impossible angles.
Some had room for a garden shed
or a beautifully maintained shrine.
We didn’t see many locals but the four-legged inhabitants were very friendly.
We could see our destination, Casa Debbio, waiting comfortably on the hillside as we returned to the car and drove the track to the house.
Although the weather was too inclement to dine on the terrace,
the vista across to Vergemoli was stunning.
The drizzle didn’t deter us from exploring the garden with its quirky residents
and some of the most fabulous flowers I have ever seen.
From the terrace at the back of the house, there is a lovely view of the wisteria on the pergola
and of new plantings as the garden blends with the wilderness.
A few more flowers and treasures
and we returned to the house
with that amazing view
to enjoy a slice of Angela’s hat.
We farewelled Deb and Jim and made our way back down the mountain. If only Australia wasn’t so far away.
Casa Debbio is the perfect place to escape and unwind for a few days or weeks and is available for holiday rental, take a look.