Are you in search of a charming, serene medieval village to escape the bustling cities of Tuscany? Look no further than Montecarlo di Lucca, a picturesque jewel nestled within its fortified city walls. With its rich history, well-preserved architecture, and natural beauty, Montecarlo offers a unique and peaceful retreat in the heart of Tuscany. In this travel blog, we will explore the enchanting Montecarlo and discover its captivating attractions, local products, and even a legendary tree.
A Glimpse of Montecarlo’s History
Montecarlo di Lucca, situated in the province of Lucca, is a quaint medieval village that transports you back in time. It is home to three fourteenth-century gates: Porta Fiorentina, Porticciola, and Porta Nuova, offering a glimpse into its ancient charm. The town’s fortifications include the remains of a fourteenth-century castle, enclosed by walls with a bulwark from the sixteenth century. These historical treasures have earned Montecarlo the prestigious Orange Flag recognition from the Italian Touring Club in 2018.
Attractions in Montecarlo
- Cerruglio Fortress: Your journey through Montecarlo begins with a visit to the Cerruglio Fortress, perched at the highest point of the hill. Dating back to the 14th century, this triangular fortress showcases an imposing semicircular tower, along with two square towers known as Torre dell’Apparizione and Torre di Santa Barbara. You can also explore a part of the fortress from the Medici era, featuring a semicircular tower and two curtain walls. The fortress stands as a symbol of the town’s rich history.
- Rassicurati Theatre: The Teatro dell’Accademia dei Rassicurati is a small yet charming theater that dates back to the late 18th century. With less than 200 seats, it holds a significant tradition of opera and was frequented by the renowned Giacomo Puccini. Its intimate setting allows for an immersive experience in the world of Italian theater.
Local Delicacies from Montecarlo
Montecarlo di Lucca is perched on a hill surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, offering stunning views of the surrounding plains between Lucca and Valdinievole. The region is renowned for its excellent quality olive oil and wines, notably the Montecarlo Bianco and Rosso di Montecarlo. As you explore the village, be sure to indulge in these delectable local products, which perfectly capture the essence of Tuscany.
Discover the Legend of the Witches’ Oak
A short 7-minute drive from Montecarlo, towards San Martino in Colle, you’ll encounter a natural wonder – the Quercia delle Streghe, or the Witches’ Oak. This awe-inspiring oak tree, aged over 600 years, soars 24 meters high with a trunk measuring 4 meters in circumference. What makes this oak tree truly extraordinary is its horizontal growth, in stark contrast to the typical upward reach of oak trees. It’s this unique characteristic that gave rise to the legend that witches once gathered on its branches during sabbats, earning it the name “Witches’ Oak.”
In the serene Villa Carrara Park in Gragnano, you can explore this ancient oak tree freely. As you stand beneath its expansive branches, you can’t help but feel the magic of centuries past. It’s a place where nature and folklore intersect, creating an enchanting experience for all who visit.
Montecarlo di Lucca is a hidden gem in Tuscany, offering a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you explore its ancient fortress, attend a performance at the intimate theater, or savor the local wines and olive oils, you’ll find yourself immersed in the timeless allure of this medieval village. Don’t forget to make a detour to the Witches’ Oak for a touch of mystery and legend. Montecarlo di Lucca is a testament to Tuscany’s enduring charm, waiting to be discovered by the discerning traveler.
Our luxury Tuscany tours offer curated experiences to explore this glittering world, ensuring your journey is as memorable as the treasures you uncover. Don’t miss the chance to bring home a piece of Tuscany’s legacy.