We are having the most amazing fall. Sunny days, mild evenings, and despite the Italian fashion faux-pas it might be, still wearing flip flops. This weekend we decided to ring in the fall by leaving our little seaside villages and heading up, up, up to Campocecina.
Campocecina is a hiking refuge about 3000 feet above sea level. In fact, it's so high up that you actually look down on the marble mountains of Carrara (the Versilian coast, Portovenere and Mediterranean Sea as well!). You can choose from about 10 different hiking trails here, one that actually saddles the mountain so to one side you have the sea and to the other side you have the Apuane Alps and Lunigiana below. There is also a nice little restaurant called Il Belvedere that serves delicious fresh dishes including testaroli with pesto sauce, cinghale with polenta and one of the best cheese cakes I have ever eaten in my life. Oh, and their wine isn't bad either. You can eat outside in the summer months with panoramic views. They even have some pretty horses to pet and feed.
After a big lunch and little hike (had to at least feel like we were working off some of that cheesecake!), we headed down to the Fantiscritti Quarry, the only one that allows the public into it's cave. For 6 Euros, you get to go 650 meters into the mountain which is literally ALL MARBLE, and have a 30 minute tour (Italian & English). They show you just how hard the work is there, no sunlight for 8 hours, it's cold, damp and dangerous. Still it is fascinating to think what these people do for a living and to see just how much marble exists after 2000+ years of excavating it!
It was a lovely way to welcome in the new season and just another easy adventure to do from our little piece of paradise on the hill above the Med...