Lunch in the Garfagna: Italy update #11

Local products.

Local products.

On Sunday we took a beautiful drive up to the Garfagnana, a mountainous region of Tuscany north of Lucca.  We could see the white marble cliffs of Carrera and later the snow-covered Alps from the road that followed the Serchio River.  The air was clear and crisp and the sky intensely blue.

We stopped for lunch at l’Aia di Piero in Castelnuevo. This market sold all local products and had five tables in the corner. They gave us a choice of three dishes, no menu. I had a thick farro soup, Paulo had lasagna with creamy béchamel sauce and the bread was nutty and brown.  A platter of local cured meats, cheeses and sweet and sour pickled vegetables followed.

Quarters were close and the stone room was chilly. We sat on backless stools and the ancient fur-clad woman behind Paul leaned on him throughout the perfect Sunday lunch. We bought some jars of good Italian tuna to bring home then walked around the corner for coffee and cake and a good look at the Serchio which runs right through the small town.

The corner of the Castelnuevo shop where we had lunch. That's Paul's shoulder with his leaning friend behind him!

The corner of the Castelnuevo shop where we had lunch. That’s Paul’s shoulder with his leaning friend behind him!

Back in the car we crossed the river and meandered through steep little villages passing couples walking off lunch on the narrow roads and groups of old men in front of bars. Timeless pictures.  We made our way to Borgo a Mazzano in search of yet another 12th century church thinking it would be open since it was Sunday, but once again the interior eluded us.

We arrived home to see the full moon rise.  Buona notte from Lucca.