The ancient legends are those handed down by our ancestors and are the stuff of atavistic folk beliefs. But there is another kind of legend. A certain "urban legend” and while this might surprise you, Garfagnana has one of its very own. This urban legend finds its home in Monte Palodina, which, at 1171 metres, is the boundary between the Valleys of Turrite Cava and Turrite di Gallicano, a beautiful natural terrace over the Serchio Valley. The place was and always has been a haven for hikers, mushroom seekers and hunters. It was the latter whose act of cowardice claimed national headlines back in 1987. It sounds incredible, but many people swear they remember the hunter who, when faced by a large squamous creature said to be more than two metres high with a reptile head, ran like hell. The story was picked up by RAI, who aired it on their Uno Mattina programme. From that day on, Monte Palodina earned a chapter in the local X-Files. Many have tried to find the creature, but there is no trace of the lizard. The only tangible sign is what was left of the poor hunter’s gun, destroyed and strangely bent.
This incredible story of gnomes confirms that our mountain is predestined for supernatural happenings. Just two months after the famous green lizard showed its face, some residents of the village of Bolognana, a small neighbouring town in the municipality of Gallicano, took advantage of the beautiful sunny day and went deep into the woods of Monte Palodina for a walk. Suddenly they noticed something about 50 metres away from them - small beings, no taller than 60cm intent on picking something from the undergrowth. Hearing the sound of footsteps, the little men looked up in alarm and promptly (as the testimony recalls) hugged each other to form a circle and rolled down the slope, disappearing into the thick of the forest. As incredible as the story sounds, the alleged gnomes were seen by more than one person, making them harder to ignore.