Francesca and Armando wanted to take us on a little walk to a chapel yesterday. At four o’clock. Italy, you may recall, was booting balls fruitlessly at that hour.
Odd, when the world cup started, Armando watched it voraciously. When we got in the car, Francesca climbed in with us so we wouldn’t get lost. I asked her why they weren’t watching the game. She doesn’t like calcio. But Armando?
“He doesn’t like it when the team is playing like bozos, so he won’t watch,” she said in Italian, but actually used the word “bozo.” I had to look it up to see if it was an Italian word. Maybe it’s universal. The concept is.
(Italy, of course, played like bozos that evening and are out of the World cup, unlike the powerhouse US team.)
Anyway, we drove a long way on roads that weren’t much wider than the average bathtub. Then we stopped. There was a “road” off to our right, which looked like an avalanche of white rock and river cobbles. Of course, we had to drive up it. Just to see, mind you, if it were “doable.”
And of course we’d use our car.
We lurched and bottomed and spun the tires for 100 yards up the pile of stones before the car started smelling like a burning oil slick full of sea turtles. Then we parked.
It was a bit of a walk, a bit of a climb. Along the way were wild flowers I’d never seen before—not to mention wild thyme in profusion. We foraged. This is Italy after all, and the wild is always better, unless, I suppose, you’re a soccer player.
Anyway, we reached the little chapel. It was locked, because otherwise the sheep get in and trash the place—which they had done anyway, it seemed.
But—off to the right there were these stunning views, unobstructed by the usual trees which they plant to keep you focused on driving between the ruts. I whipped out my video camera. Who wouldn’t?So below is the video. I hope it will give you an idea of what we saw and how we got there to see it.
The main city you see in the video is Fivizzano, with the craggy Alpi Apuane behind—the mountains of Massa and Carrara where the marble comes from.
On the way back home, we had to inch past a tiny tractor with a hay wagon behind which held the requisite hay plus a sturdy mountain woman. Armando got his car by, then we started inching forward, left wheels in the weeds.
The woman glanced at us and suddenly leaned forward, screaming “Stranieri!” to her hubby at the wheel. Our French license plates had given us away as foreigners. The tractor lurched to the right to remove itself from our path.
We foreigners inspire respect here in the Lunigiana. Or maybe it’s fear. We evidently don’t drive right at all.
Like what you see? Then discover Fivizzano with our Fivizzano Map and Travel Guide
Fivizzano is in northern Tuscany