Boa Constricting at the Ceragetta!

Yesterday I took a day off from the Work in Progress and Neil played truant from the marble yard. Warned that the beautiful weather was about to break, we went up into the Alpi Apuane for lunch. We have a favourite place for special treats - La Ceragetta. It’s high in the mountains - over 3,400 feet - with spectacular views over the alps and down to the glacial lake called Isola Santa.

view from the terrace

down below

 It’s also cheap - 23 euros (about £20) buys you the fixed menu with 5 courses, plus as much alcohol as you can drink. We had antipasto - seven different kinds of meat and savoury - followed by pumpkin soup, then two sorts of pasta (one with salmon, one with bacon and porcini mushrooms), then the main course - a huge platter of pork, chicken and beef grilled over an open fire, followed by three types of dessert (chocolate mousse, cherry tart and custard pie) plus coffee, all accompanied by sparkling wine, chianti and sweet sangria. We somehow staggered to the car where we sat like a couple of boa constrictors, and lay in the sunshine looking at the mountains and sleeping it off.

It’s lovely walking territory, with a maze of old packhorse routes across the mountains which we love to explore. There are shrines everywhere, and crosses and madonnas on every pinnacle of rock.

the madonna of the rock

 This was partisan territory during the war and every now and then you come across plaques erected in the memory of those who died - a story behind every one of them.

Shrine to the madonna

Partisan Plaque
I wondered who this young man - nicknamed ‘the bayonet’ - had been and how many times he had lead people to freedom along this path to the Allied Lines. The elderly lady who owns La Ceragetta is over 90 and old enough to know the story, but my Italian isn’t good enough to ask her - yet!  I'm doing an on-line course in an effort to improve it.

Today we have a huge thunderstorm, snow on the mountains and torrential rain and hail at lower levels. I’m curled up indoors working on my new (and rather secret) project and Neil is chipping away at his huge chunk of the mountain in the marble yard.


  1. sounds like heaven - all of it (except the partisans who died of course)

    please keep posting these wonderful glimpses of another world, as far from dust and desert as imaginable

  2. A major oversight I don't have any of my book/s set in Italy. I have to rectify that to compel me to come for research. Not that I really need an excuse.
    Sounds like you are having a lovely time.

  3. Kathleen, I am so envious of 'where you are'! :)

    But what I really want to say is: congratulations on being an inaugural Straid Collection Award winner for "Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21"

    You must be over the moon.

  4. What a glorious sounding day - that lunch... mmm! and the countryside looks beautiful.

  5. Thanks for your comments everyone - yes, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth here. It would be very easy to lock yourself away and forget that anything else exists!
    Al - it is a major oversight! So many interesting things happened here during WWII - plots for a dozen novels, and you get the wine and the scenery as well!
    Helen - thank you!! Didn't know anyone in NZ would notice. I'm absolutely thrilled!


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