Throwback Thursday: Motorbiking through the Mountains

When I am not travelling sometimes I get nostalgic about places I’ve been. I look through old photos. I reread old posts. In honour of #ThrowbackThursday, I thought it would be nice to do a few posts about places I’ve been, but haven’t blogged about before.

Several times I have been to La Spezia to visit with my husband’s family, but quite often I didn’t blog about it because either I didn’t have time or I forgot. I intend to correct this omission with a couple of posts about things I’ve done in and around La Spezia.

In 2011, my husband and I took his brother’s scooter for day trip up through the Apennine mountains and back down to the coast again. We made several stops along the way admiring the scenery in Tuscany.

Our first point of interest was Massa, but we didn’t stop in the town itself. Instead we drove up the mountains to a lookout point where you get a great view of the town and the coast. We weren’t the only ones admiring the view from here. On the way up we passed several cyclists who then took a well deserved rest at the lookout.

As you go further up the winding road into the mountains you are treated to amazing views of the mountains and of the excavation of marble rock from the hillside.

Apennine Mountains near Massa, Italy
Apennine Mountains near Massa

We made our first stop in Barga. It’s a medieval Tuscan town that Wikipedia calls “The most Scottish town in Italy”. It’s true that it has red telephone booths and some British food in the bars, but other than that the town is very much Italian.

There is a beautiful cathedral in the town (San Cristoforo – Duomo di Barga), with superb views of the town and the surrounding valley. The old medieval city centre is pleasant to walk around in and because of the change in height you get amazing backdrop of the surrounding hills in most of your photos.

Cathedral in the town of Barga, Italy
Cathedral in the town of Barga

We continued on our trip and made a nice long afternoon stop in Lucca. This town is most famous for its renaissance walls which are still intact today. It’s a great to walk along the walls and enjoy the shade of the large trees on a hot afternoon. We also cooled down on this hot day with a gelato in the main square after wandering through the city centre.

Unfortunately, on this trip we didn’t have time to go up Guinigi Tower or visit that many of the churches and cathedrals. However, Lucca is only an hour away from La Spezia, so maybe on another trip 🙂

The renaissance walls of Lucca, Italy
The renaissance walls of Lucca

As the sun began to set we drove out to Viareggio on the coast. We were just in time for a swim as it got dark after a sweltering day on the road. By this time most of the sunbathers had already left, so we had the beach largely to ourselves – apart from a group having a bonfire.

It took us about an hour to get back to La Spezia – just in time for a late dinner.

It was nice to get out and discover some lesser known parts of Tuscany. Even though Lucca is still fairly well known, there are less tourists here than in Florence and it has more of a peaceful feeling. If you have a car or motorbike, this is a nice itinerary for a day trip.

Sunset in Viareggio, Italy
Sunset in Viareggio

4 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Motorbiking through the Mountains

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