The scents of the earth spread through the woods of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, while the villages and natural reserves are covered in warm shades of red, orange, yellow and brown. With the arrival of autumn, there are preparations for sagre (food festivals) and celebrations, while in the forests you can admire the fall foliage, the splendid spectacle of the leaves as they change hue and release the intense green of summer.
This colourful season is the perfect occasion to get away from the city routine and spend time in the lush nature of the Garfagnana and the Mid Serchio Valley. Practice outdoor sports, go hiking or horseback riding, trekking on mule tracks, or visit natural parks and medieval villages with expert guides who reveal the legends of the imposing Apuan Alps. Finally, of course, savour the typical dishes of the area.
Orecchiella Park at the foot of the Pania di Corfino is the perfect place to admire the scenery of the fall foliage, following along the paths through the coniferous and chestnut woods.
Another fasctinating route is the one that leads from Sillico to the Giro del Diavolo, just above San Pellegrino in Alpe, offering a breathtaking view of the surrounding valley.
In the valley of the Turrite Secca, Isola Santa shines like an emerald. During the autumn period, this place becomes even more special. It's a small artificial lake created from 1949 for the production of hydroelectric energy. Its waters submerged the bridge and the Mosceta mill. Since then, the centuries-old village has been reflected in it. The town is a veritable widespread hotel that hosts numerous fishermen and anyone who arrives at the “fisherman's house” by the lake. Additionally, from Isola Santa there are several hiking trails that reach Monte Sumbra or the Panie Group, also offering an easy walk along the right bank of the lake to reach the Pollaccia, a powerful karst resurgence that feeds the lake itself.
If you're also seeking the charm of history, you can admire the fall foliage with an excursion along the historic route of the Via Vandelli, the centuries-old Grand Ducal mule track. Passing through the Garfagnana area, it still connects Modena to Massa today.
In Garfagnana, there are also fascinating places embraced by the mountains where the colours of autumn can be admired even from afar. Among these are Castelnuovo di Garfagnana with its famous 11th century fortress; Barga whose alleys are considered among the most beautiful in Italy; Coreglia Antelminelli, the town of plaster figurines; Fabbriche di Vergemoli, with the Hermitage of Calomini; and also Gallicano, Piazza al Serchio and San Romano.
The festivities in Garfagnana begin in October with the Autumn Festival in Gallicano. Together with the National Walking Day, an entire weekend is dedicated to walks in the woods, excursions to the Apuan Alps, a visit to the Grotta del Vento, to the village of Trassilico and to the hermitage of Calomini. The evening, on the other hand, is the time of the Veglio, in which Apuan legends are told and you can appreciate the great food of Garfagnana. Taste the pasimata, spelt soup, infarinata, the frittata di vezzadri, potato bread and many other typical dishes.
Numerous festivities throughout the Garfagnana celebrate chestnuts. These are the perfect occasions to taste unique desserts such as Castagnaccio, Torta di Neccio and Necci with ricotta.
Throughout the season, the villages are livened with sagre and festivals to celebrate the many fruits of the earth. Experienced an immersion into the territories of the Garfagnana and Mid Serchio Valley, such as the Wine Festival in Rinaia, the Castagnata in Lupinaia, the October Fair in Castiglione, Autumn Flavours in Pieve Fosciana, the Chestnut Festival in Careggine, Castelnuovo city of the Chestnut...and many others!
Whether you choose to explore the villages, stroll through the woods or join the locals in celebrating autumnal products, autumn of Garfagnana is accompanied by the magnificent colours of fall foliage, the display covering the mountains, drawing visitors to admire and photograph the spectacle.