A walk through the Villas of Vorno
A ring route of 5-6 kilometers, with some small detours to discover the most hidden corners and evocative glimpses of the natural and architectural beauties of this area.
You can walk or cycle along the foot of Mount Pisano in the quiet village of Vorno located in the green valley of the homonymous stream.
A place known and appreciated also for its urban peculiarities: a strip of land dotted with sluices and stately villas built between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries that were used as summer residences of wealthy merchant and banker families from Lucca.
A pleasant walk in the green of nature, along narrow streets and dirt paths, flanked by small streams of clear and fresh water, to discover the villas hidden behind walls covered with small blooms and the characteristic pergolas of wisteria and grapes .
Very modest in showing off,
the villas can be admired through the fence or small gates that open onto a sudden picturesque view, sometimes in an unexpected way, as soon as you turn the corner.
High grey stone walls protect the large sluices and decorated iron gates, with mighty pillars, and are the spectacular entrances to the villas; tree-lined avenues frame their facades and immortalize delightful images and timeless scenes.
Gardens embellished with stone or marble basins and fountains, boxwood, yew and laurel hedges, colourful flower beds and exotic plants surround the villas. Next to the stables and cellars there are vegetable gardens, orchards, pergolas and lemon houses.
A stop at the parish church of San Pietro in the heart of the town
The parish church is documented for the first time in the year 867. The primitive church, probably a Lombard foundation and perhaps one of the 28 existing in Lucca at the time of Bishop Frediano, has been totally transformed over the centuries. A capital attributed to the Beduino school and the supporting columns of the central nave, enclosed in reinforcing pillars, date back to the antique 12th century building.
Inside the church there are numerous paintings, including the large canvas behind the main altar of the "Madonna Assunta between S. Pietro and S. Paolo”, a work of 1795 by Stefano Tofanelli, a baptismal font in neoclassical style attributed to the royal architect Lorenzo Nottolini and a medieval font in Carrara marble, the "twin" of another one located in the Cathedral of San Martino.
The mysteries of the sky and the magic of the stars at the Astronomical Observatory in the hills
ITaking via di Valle, to the right of the San Pietro parish church, and proceeding uphill for about two kilometers along the hill, you will arrive at the Astronomical Observatory of Capannori (O.A.C.).
An observation station located on Monte della Gallonzora, in an enviable panoramic position without any artificial lights.
A cozy and evocative place dedicated to sky observation and scientific research. Inside the main hall there are four telescopes dedicated to scientific, didactic and public activities. Not only professional astronomers and researchers for their study activities, but also citizens and visitors can participate in the activities organized by the Photometric Research Institute (IRF) throughout the year. An excellent opportunity to observe with your own eyes (and a telescope!) the immensity of the celestial vault in search of stars and planets.
Getting in touch with nature, art and excellent food at Tenuta Dello Scompiglio
In the estate an area of 50 hectares transformed into a large garden reaches the forest. Agricultural areas planted with olive groves, vineyards and orchards and some farmhouses now house artists and collaborators. At Tenuta Dello Scompiglio the motto is "respect nature". The characteristic buildings are all renovated according to bio-architecture, energy saving and environmental sustainability criteria. Inside, for contemporary art lovers, an interesting Performance and Exhibition Space where artists, musicians, performers and dancers showcase their creations and give life to their shows (with a section dedicated to permanent works).
For lunch, an aperitif or dinner, the kitchen of the Scompiglio estate, located inside an old barn, in rooms with a warm and bright atmosphere in the characteristic local "mandolata" style, or in the spacious outdoor platform immersed in the vineyards of the Estate and surrounded by the aromas of medicinal plants and flowering borders, offer dishes based on ingredients coming mostly from their own land and the organic garden. Seasonal fruit and vegetables (ancient, typical and local varieties), spontaneous flowers and long-forgotten herbs are the protagonists of exquisite gastronomic creations accompanied by excellent wines produced on the estate following the rules of natural winemaking and respecting the territory ... not to mention the grappa!