Italy was just amazing. We stayed in the Tuscan mountains inland from Pietrasanta, which is about 45 miles northwest of Pisa. It was a painting vacation, one of my friend’s counsin has a “Zingola” of an old marble mill at the crotch of two mountains where Michelangelo got his marble. It was a ruin when purchased and we stayed there once before a decade ago. Cheap to buy, long arduous and expensive to rehab.. it was finished after 20 years of love and work vacations for him.
The Zingola was magical and a great place to relax.
Spring fed stream flowing near the flower garden
The entry to our place has a pizza oven
My view every morning
The road into the mountains could not always fit two passing cars, and yet they drove 60mph everywhere.
We stayed pretty much in the mountains the whole time, I prefer being among the trees anyway.
Mostly the trees were Chestnut, a main staple of the local folk, nuts, wood, and honey from the blossoms.
Everywhere were overgrown terraced tree farms, and new ones in the making. The problem is an Asian bug that is infesting and eating out the trees. The government has tried pesticides and controlled burning, but nothing seems to be stopping them, and there are no predators that eat them yet. The locals are afraid, but what happy and friendly people everywhere.
As for trees, I saw basswood, fir, fig, walnut, chestnut, pine, sycamore, and a ton of trees I could not identify at all. I was very surprised to see American Black Locust and the Asian Ailanthus (tree of heaven) everywhere as non invasive species.
Fig (they are inedible) and others…
Abandoned chestnut terraces covered in some sort of Ivy that is slowly tearing them down.
But some resist…
Some are amazingly large…
Some of the asian insect egg sacks. too early to see this years damage.
But we did need groceries and see art work, so we went to Piertrasanta and Lucca.
In the cities were almost all cultivars… Cypress, Stone Pine, palm, olive and fruit trees, but there were some truly amazing sycamores that if not for the bark, I would have thought maple trees.
St Michael’s Chathedral
A mountain street lined with Cypress and Stone Pine
Stone Pine in Porta Veneres
950 AD church
150 year old sycamore in Lucca
Palm and Pine on the coast
Amazing cultivated sycamores at the local grocery store~
The 5 villages of Cinque Terre ~ Morolo
Mountain Village of Stazzema
Well..I took hundreds of pictures. Thanks for looking
It is good to be back in my own bed, but I will miss the food, the people, and the laid back culture.
-- the sacrifice of one's ego is the greatest gift to someone you respect