There’s absolutely no need to go to Abetone for one’s skiing in the Bagni di Lucca area, especially if one wants to avoid getting skied over by mad fanatics. Much more relaxing is Cutigliano which is a lot closer. Looking, however, through some pictures dating from the winter of 2003-4 I see that we tried out the ski slopes at Vianova which is five kilometres from Careggine, a beautiful village on the slopes of Monte Sumbra, just to the north of Castelnuovo Garfagnana. Here there are three skilifts serving seven kilometres of pistes and, if there wasn’t sufficient of the white stuff, snow generating equipment.
Although best suited for family skiing the slopes should also satisfy more expert skiers. There are also a couple of reasonable places to eat nearby.
From Vianova there’s a dramatic road leading to the Turrite valley and the picturesque, semi-abandoned village of Isola Santa.
The route has some great views. However, if one skids on the often icy winter conditions it’s a long way over the edge down to the valley floor.
Isola Santa is on the road which takes one across the main ridge of the Apuan mountains via the Cipollaio tunnel. One can also continue back to Castelnuovo and find the return route to Bagni di Lucca.
We have very fond memories of these places when our sole means of transport was our scooter, when everything seemed so amazingly new and when we were a little younger…