Between the Apuane Alps and the Tosco-Emilian Apennines, the town of Careggine was developed near Monte Volsci, on top of a curiously shaped hill. It’s oval, situated on top of a ridge, perfectly positioned, which means that it could be defended on all sides from the raids and attacks to which all towns were once subjected. Now, from the bluff you can see some of the most beautiful views of the Garfagnana and feel like you’re in the clouds.
The whole of the town is hemmed in by strong stone walls. In various places the houses themselves are part of the masonry, with two impressive gates, one to the east and one to the west. At the entrance to the main gate you find the piazzetta della Chiesa. A lovely square paved in hard stones and dominated by the bell tower that vaunts on one side the famous “War Dance”, the bas relief that symbolizes the area. The little square is the starting point from which the old town streets lead off, taking you on a discovery of past times and new places.
Careggine is delightfully located, wholesome and sheltered from mists and rainfall. The town affords truly lovely views, as well as easy and evocative excursions. The silence of the mountains is interrupted only by the chirping of chaffinches, skylarks and shrikes. All you’ll want to do is lie down and have a nap in the balmy shade of the chestnut and birch trees.
Admire the surrounding fields and shady meadows, fruit trees and the wild riot of flowers that draw attention to the verdant chestnut groves, followed by oak, beech and fir woods, with a rich undergrowth of an array of succulent fruit.
In past times, when farming was everything to families, it was commonplace to come across local youngsters standing guard over the flock. You could hear their songs, stories and folk songs. Those mountain songs filled the countryside with life and helped the women to bear the hard work. Start walking, listen to your senses and your heart will open as you can almost hear those songs between the clouds and the stones.