Borgo a Mozzano is the first town that you’ll come across in the Serchio Valley, in the province of Lucca. Famous for its Ponte della Maddalena, a magnificent and somewhat visionary medieval structure, it’s the true symbol of the valley and the entire Lucchesia.
The Rocca di Mozzano is mentioned in documents for the first time in 1180, described as the Suffredinghi feudal lords’ property. The name Mozanus dates back to the 8th century, when the area only had small villages. After Lucca took control of Borgo a Mozzano, it became one of the most important centers of the Serchio Valley thanks to its strategic position.
The symbol of the town has to be its bridge. Built by Matilda di Canossa, it’s known as the Devil's Bridge because of a legend that tells the story of how it came to be made. To explain the marked asymmetry of its arches, it’s said that the impressive structure was built with the help of the devil; in exchange for the bridge’s construction, he required the soul of whoever crossed it first.
In order to get around the agreement the villagers had a goat - not a human - walk the bridge first and the Devil, out of spite, altered the width of the arches, making the spacing inconsistent.
In the center, the oldest part of the town is structured around three main streets. Medieval palaces overlook the streets and are crowned by gardens and vegetable gardens. The Church of San Pietro is also well worth a visit, built in the 12th century AD and an interesting example of urban construction in a rural setting.
As is the case throughout Garfagnana and the middle Serchio Valley, the village and its hamlets are characterized by their beautiful and historic medieval churches. The Church of San Jacopo is a perfect example, distinctive for its impressive bell tower. Inside, it holds a beautiful baptismal font from 1590 and some works by the Della Robbia workshop. The Convent of San Francesco also deserves a mention, with its baroque church and elegant 16h-century cloister. The historic parish church of Santa Maria Assunta in the hamlet of Diecimo is also an intriguing monument.
You absolutely must experience the view over the entire valley from the Torre del Bargiglio, which is located on Bargiglio mountain.
A few minutes drive from the village are the Bagni di Lucca thermal springs, which became incredibly famous in the 11 century when Countess Matilde di Canossa held power. Today, they are known for being one of the most elegant spas in Europe.
Borgo a Mozzano is often the stage for many interesting events. Flower enthusiasts will adore the Biennale dell'Azalea, a market exhibition that takes place in April that goes above and beyond expectations. There’s also events for the foodies among you, such as the Cod Festival, organized every May 1 in the hamlet of Anchiano in collaboration with the Norwegian city of Aalesund. The Halloween Celebration is also unmissable, being the biggest and scariest attraction in Italy. The event takes place at the end of October with the main event – a huge program full of attractions, concerts, interactive activities and re-enactments - taking place on Halloween night, October 31.
The centuries-old butcher's tradition in Garfagnana (an untouched mountain area in Lucca) involves exclusively using a pig’s head to obtain the unique regional sausage, Biroldo, giving a gorgeous softness and delicacy to the final product.
DOP chestnut flour is another unmissable product, deriving from chestnuts and represented in the area’s crafts, flavours and traditions.