Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Garfagnana Mushrooms

Garfagnana is an historical region of Italy, today part of the province of Lucca in the Apennines, in northwest Tuscany, but before the unification of Italy it belonged to the Duchy of Modena and Reggio, ruled by the Este family. For a short time, in the 16th century, it was governed by the poet Ludovico Ariosto. It is one of the most rainy regions of Italy, so is in a large part covered by forest vegetation (mainly Chestnut, Oak and Pine).
Located between the Apuan Alps (famous for the production of marble) the main part of the Apennines, Garfagnana is a mountainous region of Tuscany. It considered a particularly striking and beautiful part of Tuscany owning to its mountains, the rest of Tuscany being generally more flat.
The native trees are mostly deciduous, the most common being Chestnut, which provided an important food for the region until World War II. However, after the war, disease infected most of the chestnut trees and caused widespread devastation to the chestnut population. A program of tree planting was introduced to limit erosion, using pine trees. As a result it is common to see pine in the region. Chestnut has started to recover, however.
The region is also known for its production of farro (emmer wheat), and for its porcini mushrooms.
The capital of the region is Castelnuovo di Garfagnana.

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