Monteggiori: In Pictures, The North West Tuscan Way, Tour 7

Tour 7 / The North West Tuscan Way / Monteggiori / In Pictures 
Pisa Map from space, by Google

p r e s e n t s

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Monteggiori, Map 4, Google Earth

North West Tuscany for the independent tourist

I N   P I C T U R E S

Monteggiori, Tuscany, Italy

Tour 7: Monteggiori, A Not So Hidden Gem

Monteggiori, Tuscany, Italy

The village you are about to explore was chosen to represent so many such teeny-tiny little ancient hilltop towns scattered thickly across the North West Tuscan landscape.      I had my eye on it for quite some time in fact.     Throughout the month of April, 2014, while I based myself in nearby Pietrasanta, I had reason many times to raise my neck up at this little cluster – this tiny ring of houses, clinging one to another for dear life, it seemed… perched as they were,    so precariously,    and precipitously     at the edge of some quite seriously steep cliffs.         I thought however that they looked as though they had been there for quite some considerable time, and when I approached the large information sign adjacent to the small car park, the obvious presumption proved correct.         For almost 800 years people have tracked up and down this steep little winding cobbled path.           People, animals, prisoners, soldiers, priests, wagons of food and wine; children, old folk, the dead and dying laid out on carts, babes in arms… up and down this worn and weathered road they went,     century after century.      Plagues and came and went;    wars, revolutions, times of famineand times of abundance…     down through the ages these stones have seen it all.       And for a pleasant hour or so we too will see it all,   as we stroll around it’s narrow, cool and verdant little lanes.       It won’t take more than a squint of the eye to take you back to the early middle ages.      But better be ready though,   I’m telling you – that worn and weathered, beaten up, ancient cobble stone road is steep. A real breath-catching doozy.

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To read my Rogue Carver on the Loose dispatch please click on the link below:
And so here I present Monteggiori, one such village.      I have already showcased another; Casoli, Village of Art, but that was a bit different as it was fairly unique in the way it showed all the signs of a hipster revival, and you’ll travel far and wide to discover another such artistic village.    But I chose to spotlight Monteggiori as for me it represents all the nameless, silhouetted, hilltop villages I have seen from afar, and explored from within. I think of them as tiny little jewel box communities, and how they have survived well into the 21st century with such integrity and charisma is a testament to the laudable Italian tradition of savoring and valuing its past. For in Italy nothing it seems is ever simply torn down for the sake of it – not the old factory, or the railway station building, or the crumbling farmhouse, the gatehouse, old walls… nothing!      It’s all left for the next generation – and who knows? Perhaps they might find a use for it!       But however these magnificent urban sculptures have survived, and whoever is responsible for their maintenance and upkeep, I tip my hat to them for they are in my eyes truly magnificent. In them I can see the careful work of numerous generations of masons who leave their mark with every indentation in the stone. I can easily identify the very tools they used, and if the stone was dressed in situ I can even figure out just where they would have placed their feet. The ghosts of countless generations of my mason predecessors haunt every nook and cranny of these villages and it’s a privilege indeed to saunter around such lovely buildings and survey their work….. c l i c k  here

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and now

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Monteggiori, Tuscany, Italy

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Don’t forget to admire the lovely gardens on the way down, and continue with a brisk walk through some lovely shaded woodland.

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Monteggiori, Tuscany, Italy

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If you are following this tour in chronological order then you are going to need a good long walk before, and after our next tour.       For while this is quite rightly a vacation, and much of the focus quite naturally falls upon lighter subjects – certainly lighter than our next tour, but from time to time it is as well to shed a little perspective on what I gushingly I have described as “all this wonderfulness”.           And wonderful it is.           But what a past, what a history this region holds, as exemplified by the many graphic war memorials adorning the edge of practically every town and village throughout the region.   And so what we are in for next will most certainly come as something as a shock.        I stumbled across the place shortly after taking a walk and snapping these two pictures.        And so I’ll let you do the same.                        

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next

The North West Tuscan Way: In Pictures

Sant'Anna di Stazzema, Tuscany, Italy

Tour 8: Sant’Anna di Stazzema

coming soon

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thank you for visiting martincooney.com

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