Perched in one of Italy’s lesser know mountain ranges nicknamed the Alpini or “little Alps,” is a quaint mountain town that goes by the name of Limano. If you have even the smallest desire to immerse yourself in the true Tuscan culture, this little gem is a must have on your travel bucket list.
The village of Limano is a living testimony to the times of old. This town is built of stone and consequently is perfectly preserved in its original 16th century glory. It truly is a jewel of Tuscan history where the homes emanate charm and layers of culture. Some of the houses in Limano are close to 300 years old and the center piece stone fountain located in the center of Piazza Gave dates back to several generations before your great grandparents were around.
For many years, the fountain was the main watering source for the locals, but today, roughly 70 people make Limano their full time residence. The village belongs to the municipality of Bagni di Lucca and is in the province of Lucca in the heart of Tuscany.
My husband’s grandmother, also know as or “Nonna,” was born and raised in Limano just like her mother and her mother before. I have always wanted to visit the village after hearing stories about the fantastic locals and the rich culture of this place. With a baby on the way, our trip couldn’t have come at a better time. We turned our summer vacation into a babymoon and I can honestly say we enjoyed one of the most beautiful spots on God’s green earth!
We arrived in Limano a week prior to the annual festival appropriately named “Primo di Augusto.” As you might have guessed, it literally translates to “The First of August.” What the name doesn’t tell is the wealth of friendships and culture that gather on this mountainside each year for the month of August.
August is typically the holiday season for Italians, and Primo de Augusto is the homecoming event each year for Limano. As expected, the festival kicks off on the first of August with a traditional dance at the day’s end. The dance followed by a hired band that inserts a bit of modern music into the night. Once the wine gets flowing and midnight rolls around, the party is just getting started. Hundreds of locals and foreign visitors move to the open air dance floor in the center of town both dance and drink the night away. Only a select few that have the energy will make it to the only bar in town to continue the celebration until their natural alarm clock goes off in the form of the sun rising. But they don’t fear, because they know this is just the beginning of what they know will be a fantastic month.
Each night during August the locals flock to the town square to catch up on how their lifelong friends have been doing for the past year. Stories of babies born, weddings, and graduations fill the evening. The first week of catching up with friends seems to start all over again with the “Bistecha” the very next weekend. Like the first of August, this night turns into a fabulous night of music and dancing, but the key difference is the tasty steak dinner served on tables set up in the square. It’s almost impossible to describe the magic that seems to fill the air as an entire town of old friends sits down to share a meal together.
I have only been on two international trips where I didn’t have access to the Internet and I’m glad to say that this was one of them. At Nonna’s house, we didn’t have any Wifi and by shutting out the outside world, we were given a great opportunity to just enjoy being in the present with one another and to soak in the town’s beauty and culture. We spent our afternoons swimming in the La Lima, a fresh water river that runs through the province, and ate dinner on the balcony of our house, which gave us lush mountain valley views as far as the eye could see. Around 8PM every evening my favorite part of the day would begin. The locals and visitors would leave their homes and meet at the only local watering hole in Limano to start the evening’s celebrations.
The town is perfectly located for travelers who wish to explore some of the most beautiful places in Tuscany. Limano is a short drive to Bagni di Lucca, Lucca and about an hour drives to Pisa, a ski town (Albertone), and the beach town (Viareggio). Our days were filled with quick road trips to Florence, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Viareggio Pisa, and Sienna. All of which are easily accessible by train.
When summer rolls around next year, I hope to be back in Limano, celebrating Primo di Augusto with my new friends, new baby and hubby. This town means so much to our family and we plan to continue the tradition of spending our summers in our little slice of heaven. The trip inspired me to set a goal that I hope to accomplish before we are back in Limano next year. I plan to learn Italian so that I can chat with the wonderful Italians who make this place the beautiful town it is.
With love + blessings,