Leave the city of Lucca and its impressive defensive walls behind and follow the river up through a hilly woodland area, full of oak trees and olive groves. There are many important farms hidden among the trees here, as well as small churches and votive chapels which mark the route of the ancient Versilia – Lucca road. The road eventually takes you to the castle of Nozzano.
Ascend from Ripafratta to the slopes of the Pisan Mountains along a route which goes through small historical towns, monumental villas and ancient places of worship, all surrounded by beautiful countryside and thermal springs. The road is surrounded by Mediterranean woodland, olive groves, chestnut woods and fields of cultivated flowers such as camellias.
From the heights of Castelvecchio it’s possible to admire the whole of the area once occupied by Sesto Lake. The lake was drained a century ago and transformed into the fertile Lucca plain. Many traces of the past are still present today, such as the fields of sweet corn, the poplar trees planted along the hilltop ridges and the tortuously winding roads which follow what was the banks of the lake and the ancient Roman roads.
From the hill of Montecarlo, the route winds its way through the hills around Lucca. There’s much to see, such as the aristocratic Mercanti villas with their unique architecture and elaborate parks, the Medieval churches on the ancient wayfarer’s routes and the terraced olive groves and vineyards. This tour takes in not only art, but also traditions, culture and excellent local cuisine.