Castiglione di Garfagnana
Approximately 70km from Villa La Bianca is Castiglione di Garfagnana a pretty medieval town in the province of Lucca. The origin of the town dates back to a Roman castra, called Castrum Leonis, ("Lion's Castle"), built on the border of the Liguria side of the Apuan Alps. The fortress later developed under the Lombards and Franks. Today the town’s well preserved medieval walls are almost intact and the old Citadel, with its 3 towers, offers a unique panorama of the surrounding countryside. Other historical sites of interest are; The Church of San Michele, dating back to the 14th Century, with its late gothic façade composed of grey stone, red and white marble and that contains Giuliano di Simone’s “Madonna with Child” (1389); the Church of San Pietro, dating back to Lombard times, where it is possible to admire Vincenzo Civitali’s three wooden statues of Saints Peter and Paul and the Blessed Virgin of Carmelo, the Palazzo rinascimentale del Parlamento, seat of the Town Hall;
the Sanctuary of Saints Pellegrino & Bianco in the hamlet of San Pellegrino in Alpe, which at 1400m dominates the whole of the Serchio Valley; and the Don Luigi Pellegrini ethnographic Museum, found within the medieval San Pellegrino Hospital, where there is an extraordinary collection of artefacts linked to the artisan and pastoral traditions of the Serchio Valley and Tuscan and Emilian Apennines. As for the gastronomy it is possible to sample delicious mushroom, chestnut and truffle based dishes, and in the winter months, the chestnut polenta with boiled pork is not to be missed.