A friend sent me a link to an article about a Tuscan "Sleepy Valley" recently. The valley the author referred to was the Garfagnana, the valley just to the east of my little corner of Tuscany, La Lunigiana, the boundaries of which happen to embrace three sleepy valleys.
Many a legend surrounds the charming town of Lucca and its Medieval walls!
Lucida Mansi was renowned for her dazzling beauty, her amorous adventures and the tragic end she reserved for her lovers, who she disposed of by throwing them into a pit full of sharpened blades.
But it was her obsession with beauty that eventually got the better of her, she had to be constantly surrounded by mirrors so that the image of her beautiful looks was always in sight, everywhere she looked; on the walls, in her prayer book and even on the ceiling above her bed!
One day, as she was admiring her face, it was with great horror that she noticed her first wrinkle! It was with no hesitation that Lucida accepted the devil's offer: she would retain her beauty for another thirty years in return for la sua anima (her soul).
So the years went past seeing one lover to the next making their way into her bed and then being killed. When the pact with the devil was about to come to an end, she escaped in fear to Lucca's clock tower (la torre delle ore) to try and stop the clock before it struck mezzanotte (midnight). But as she was climbing the steps, she was stopped by the devil who dragged her into his carriage in flames, then drove across the city and along the city walls before falling into a small lake. This can still be found today in l'Orto Botanico (the Botanic Gardens).
It is said that the devil's fiery carriage can still be seen on certain nights and that if you are brave enough to immerse your head in Lucca's Laghetto (small lake), you can see Lucida's desperate face looking up from the muddy bottom.
Imagine plunging underwater and seeing paved roads flanked with buildings, magnificent villas, dozens of statues and mosaic floors dating back to the first century BC!
Baia's Underwater Archaeological Park is located in the Bay of Naples off the shores of Pozzuoli.
The ancient Roman city of Baia was once a renowned resort for the empire's rich and famous. The city was well known for its hot springs and its Bohemiam status.
Most of Baia now lies underwater due to a unique phenomenon known as Bradyseism, which causes the gradual rise and fall of the Earth's surface.
But you don't need to be an expert diver to escape into this ancient city! These ruins actually lie in relatively shallow water at an average depth of 6 m. So you can see some of these amazing structures from a glass bottomed boat!