Pizzorne Cowboys (and Girls)

The Pizzorne is the name given to the mountains directly to the south of our house. Their well-wooded slopes lead up to a plateau which gains a height of 3366 feet.

In past times the Pizzorne was a crossroads for various routes going south from the Val di Lima and north from the Piana di Lucca. This explains the  remains of “ospedali” or travellers and pilgrims’ rest houses. The biggest of them was situated near the oratory of San Bartolomeo (Saint Bartholomew) located in the centre of a beautiful grassy mead where in summer picnickers congregate. The Ospedale has now gone but the large church still remains and dates back at least a thousand years.

In the centre of the Pizzorne there is a small village with a very decent restaurant ,“Aldebaran”, facing an ample meadow and specializing cooking with local products like porcini mushrooms and wild boar. It’s also possible to order a “pranzo a sacco” (packed lunch) there if one wants to picnic out in the meadow. In winter “Aldebaran” (named after the brightest star in the Taurus constellation) is rarely open, however. Do check-up at http://www.aldebaranonline.it/ristorante.html. You could of course pick your own as the area teems with “frutti del bosco” (blackberries etc.) and mushrooms, especially of the boletus edilis variety (license required for these….).

In the often torrid summer heat of Lucca many of the city’s inhabitants like to spend a week-end on the cooler slopes of the Pizzorne.  Festivals are organized and one year (2006) there was a “western-style” horse-riders meeting.

Most of these events take place in August, which month also celebrates the area’s main religious Festa at the Chiesa Del Crocifisso on the 3rd.

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With an all-terrain vehicle, trail bike, mountain bike, pony-trek or a rather long but very peasant walk it’s possible to take two routes from the Pizzorne to the Val di Lima. One of them brings you to Lugliano and the other to Corsena. It’s also possible to cut across to Boveglio and thence reach the passo Del Trebbio passing en route the little church of Madonna del Monte. (See my post at https://longoio.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/off-roading-in-the-pizzorne/ for more details).

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Unfortunately, local maps are not very reliable and the Pizzorne even lacks a decent footpath map covering its extensive area. I’ve managed to work out these routes a little by trial and error. (One example of an error was when we got completely lost in the Pizzorne and had to spend the night there in the dark forest like Hansel and Gretel. Fortunately it was summer and there were no evil witches around!)

The Pizzorne has its own webpage at https://www.facebook.com/altopianodellepizzorne. I’ll be looking forwards to its summer festivals with great pleasure.

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