We are spoiled for choice here in the Bagni di Lucca area for interesting places to eat. Not far from our village, in the Garfagnana, is an amazing hermitage built into a rocky cliff above the town of Gallicano.
The hermitage, Eremo di Calomini, has been around since 1000AD. The grotto and the church are carved into the rock and have been expanded over the centuries. The double colonnaded facade was added in the 18th century.
The Calomini hermits took care of the sanctuary until 1868 and now it is in the hands of the Lucca Capuchin Fathers. It is open sometimes (usually between 9.00 – 12 and 15.00 – 17.00) and you can take a look inside. (phone 39 0583 767003)
There used to be a small restaurant in the grounds of the hermitage, but a few years ago the owners built an agriturismo and restaurant a few hundred metres away, just up the hill.
You can park in the car park beside the hermitage and walk up.
In warm weather it is delightful to sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the mountain views.
The menu is short and offers fresh, local produce. I can’t go past the crepes filled with ricotta and spinach and covered with a delicious ragu.
Also good is the trout (you know it is fresh because there is a trout farm nearby).
There are some pretty walks around the restaurant along leafy paths.
Take the road towards Castelnuovo, turn off at Gallicano, drive through the town and follow the signs towards Vergemoli. About 1 kilometre past Gallicano you will see the sign for Eremo di Calomini.