Posted by: Debra Kolkka | February 16, 2021

San Pellegrino in Alpe

Just before our recent return to orange with the accompanying restrictions, I went with friends to San Pellegrino in Alpe. The tiny settlement is high in the Apuan Alps, on the border of Tuscany and Emilia Romagna.

There has been heavy snow on the mountains for a while and it took some time for the roads to be clear. We drove through canyons of snow to reach San Pellegrino. The snow was much higher in the weeks before we were there, but it was still impressive.

We stopped along the way to take in the gorgeous snowy scenery.

San Pellegrino is not much more than a couple of houses, a bar and a restaurant. (Which is very good)

You can see the snow ploughs that have been busy recently.

At the centre of the village is the Santuario in Alpe or Santi Pellegrino e Bianco. It is a Roman Catholic Church built on the site of a hostel dating from 1168. By 1200 a church had been built to house the relics of Saint Pellegrino. By 1400 the church had been refurbished and in 1473 a small sepulchral monument in the form of a tempietto was constructed by Mattei Civitali.
In the 17th century the relics of San Bianco were added and today we can see them lying side by side in their glass case in the current church which was built in 1908 after the previous church collapsed.

After a quick visit to see the side by side saints we walked through the arch near the church to take in the stunning view over the mountains sitting above the clouds.

From here we drove to Abetone on a around about way back to Bagni di Lucca. There has been a huge amount of snow at Abetone, but because of covid the ski fields have not been open. This hasn’t stopped large numbers of people descending on the village on weekends. The snow is dirty from the cars splashing along the streets and does not look appealing at all, so I have just one photo of Abetone.

There has been more snow this season than there has been for years. What a pity the ski fields have not been able to operate because of travel restrictions. Perhaps there is still a hope for some spring skiing if the covid situation improves.


  1. Looks like a beautiful trip and quite a change of scenery for you!

    • I love driving up into the mountains around here.

  2. Fascinating trip, Deb. The little I could see of the Saint really does make it seem as if death is only a sleep. They look touchingly vulnerable. The snowscapes are fabulous and the mere fact that a huge moving machine is required shows just how much of the white stuff there was: a lot! So sorry you’re stranded and isolated again. Let’s hope that the vaccine is a positive turning point.

    • We had to wait a while to drive up there. The roads were dangerous for a while after the snowfall. I hope the vaccines start to make a difference soon. I’m getting a bit tired of al this.

  3. A day trip from Bagni that is very enjoyable. A pity that skiers could not fully enjoy all that snow at Abetone.

    • It is a real pity for the ski season with many people relying on it to make a living…the best snow in years and they miss out.

  4. The snow is quite high! I find it nice to visit but I wouldn’t want to live in it all the time. I’m not that hardy. I’m glad you were able to get out and see it.

    • I like it for a day or 2, but would not like to live with for too long.

  5. I remember my first trip up there. I looped the other way, Abetone first. It was winter several years ago, but not very much snow at all. When I came upon the signs to San Pellegrino, I was thinking ‘oh where the sparkling water comes from’). In the US, there’s just a few sparkling waters, with San Pellegrino being the ‘giant’. As I arrived, I realized, maybe there’s another San Pellegrino!

    • Yes, the water comes from somewhere else. I have been a few times to San Pellegrino. It is lovely in spring too.

  6. Beautiful. Can’t wait to be able to travel again. Abruzzo is beautiful, but I’d like to just get in the car and drive.

    • We all look forward to being able to travel again.

  7. Love all the photos of snow on the mountains peeking out above clouds, & just like everyone else feel so much for the ski operators missing out on a vital income, plus all the tourists missing out on such a good ski season. Even tho winter has been brilliant for you hope you have a good spring season to bring some joy.

    • I am ready for spring. Sunny warm weather is predicted for next week so I will go to Casa Debbio and start planning the next plantings for the garden.

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