The Val di Scesta is one of several valleys branching north off the Lima valley (where Bagni di Lucca is situated). The best way to reach it is to turn off at the last bend before reaching Astracaccio from Palleggio where the little chapel and cemetery are.
In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful valleys in our area and ,with April and May being two of the most beautiful walking months in Italy and yesterday such a glorious day I could not resist repeating this walk.
The first part takes one along a rough road (do-able with an all-terrain vehicle and certainly with a mountain bike). I walked, instead, taking advantage of the glorious stretches of woodland which shade one from the midday sun.
One is disappointed, however, by the absence of any water in the stream. What’s happened? Has it run underground in this limestone country? Let’s wait and see…
On each side precipitous slopes mark the valley and it is amazing that trees can find a foothold on the rocks.
Mysterious valleys branch off from the Scesta. It is truly a secretive part of the world and some say there is a link here with the disappearance of a young girl learning the flute in the Vatican City.
There are plenty of glorious wildflowers.
Eventually, the rough road peters out and one takes to a footpath through forests increasingly inhabited by chestnut trees hundreds of years old.
This one was a whopper!
Then one hears the sound of rushing waters. The stream is alive!
I discover that the stream gets diverted into a tunnel to feed some ancient hydro-electric scheme. I see a dreaded ENEL notice. It’s strange to see these signs of quasi-industrial archaeology in this remote place.
Above me is the great ridge of the Apennines. I could continue and go over the crinale’s top eventually finishing up in Modena but today’s enough walking for me.
I rest by the flowing stream. The stones are naturally sculpted by the waters. There is no-one around.
Suddenly those wonderful lines from Wordsworth’s come to mind. I know them by heart because these ecstatic lines are the heart of what I truly believe in for here I feel:
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye and ear, both what they half-create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.