Not all Castagnate have to be big affairs. There was a little confusion this weekend about which Castagnate should be where.
Trassilico is one of the most loveable villages in the Gallicano area and I was able to attend a miniscule but very friendly castagnata (chestnut festa) there.
I particularly enjoyed talking to the maker of the model of this metato (chestnut drying hut). He has built many such models including a mill.
There was also a very friendly cat called Ruffo:
I had a chat with one particularly knowledgeable local about the history of Trassilico. It used to be a truly important Estensi centre (i.e. under the rule of the Estensi family from Ferrara) and to this day does not enjoy being under the yoke of Lucca. It even was its own comune until 1947 and the recent merger of Vergemoli comune not with it but with Fabbriche di Vallico made my narrators’ blood boil. History in these parts of Italy isn’t something one just reads about in books. It is felt upon the pulse and there is real resentment against Luccan domination to this day!
I’ve already written about transcendental Trassilico. (See my post at https://longoio.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/trassilican-transcendence/ )
There is however, always more to discover. The walks from Trassilico are some of the best in the Apuan Alps and I took one to the church of San Ansano, a little way outside town. Can you see the Monte Forato (the mountain with the huge natural arch) in the distance?
On the way I passed an old version of a fridge – a stone hut called a ‘casalino’ built into the side of a rocky outcrop to keep items like milk and cheese fresh.
Trassilico, in fact has four churches and finally I was able to find out why the finest is some way down the hill, It’s because in the fourteenth century there was a massive earthquake in the area and people decided to rebuilt their village further up on the ridge, leaving the magnificent church in isolation and only reachable by footpath!
The little church of San Rocco in the village’s main square is also worth a look (if it is open as on this rare occasion).
Trassilico can never fail to please and the view of the Estensi fortress from the other side of the settlement set against the startling backcloth of the Apuans is almost Himalayan in its feel.