When you think of Italian mountains, you immediately think of Dolomites…you really don’t know how many wonderful places there are in the Apennines!
I am very attached to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines in the Modena area, I spent there many seasons with my family and I can say they are enchanting.
Driving along the road that leads from Modena to Abetone you will come across several villages. One of the biggest is Pavullo nel Frignano, where there is usually some traffic. Our favourite stop in Pavullo is at the Forno Tazzioli, a bakery which is right on the main road on the right as you enter the village. Do not miss the “Focaccia” a kind o bread that is delicious!
Continuing along the twisted road you arrive at another place called Lama Mocogno. This little village is very pretty and lively. On the main street you can find shops and bars. You cannot miss the Vecchia Lama Restaurant, where you can have Tuscan and Emilian specialities at the same time!
Just a little further away in the locality La Santona there is another restaurant called “Miramonti” which literally means that it looks at the mountains, in fact the view is wonderful.
This restaurant won many awards from the seventies to nowadays. Mom and son, the owners, are very nice people . The mother is the cook and she does delicious homemade pasta!
There are usually 3 different types of pasta and my ranking is as follows: first “Tortelloni di ricotta burro e salvia”. Stuffed homemade pasta with ricotta cheese and spinaches melted in butter and sage…creamy and tasty! I think the secret is in the cheese that they can find directly from a mountain farm! Tortelloni ricotta and spinaches with butter and sage
Second “Tortellini alla panna”, another traditional homemade pasta filled with meat, boiled in a meat soup and mixed with fresh cream. Incredibly tasty!
Third “Tagliatelle al ragù”, the pasta is a little thick and soaks the sauce and meat perfectly…delightful!
A side dish that I love is the “vegetable salad” made with potatoes, peppers, carrots, onion and other vegtables cooked slowly for a tasty result.
There is no better conclusion for a meal that eating a homemade ice cream with blueberries of the Apennines.
After a hearty meal the journey can continue on the Abetone road towards Fiumalbo, a village that is part of the Italian ranking of the most beautiful villages. Old stone houses, mostly renovated, overlook sloping narrow streets, in a typical medieval village of the Apennines.
In Spring it can happen to see the higher peak of the Tuscan –Emilian Apennine still white: Mount Cimone (that means big peak). It’s really a wonder when the top is still snow covered and the valleys are completely green!
From Fiumalbo, on the way back to Modena you can make a small detour of a few kilometers and head to a location at an altitude of 1200mt called Piane di Mocogno. It is a resort town famous for skiing in Winter and long walking tours in Summer.
You can also decide to stay for the night and continue you tour on the Apennines. There are many outdoor activities to do and many more places to discover!