Lunigiana, from the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines to the sea, is a land to travel, discover, savour, to experience a quality holiday in harmony with nature. Along the Via Francigena, one of the oldest itineraries (mentioned for the first time by the archbishop of Canterbury Sigerico in 994) and, for centuries, the most popular for reaching Rome, pilgrims, merchants and armies have left traces of their passage in castles, parish churches and walled villages that still characterize an intact and almost impregnable natural landscape. Castles and castles, parishes and Romanesque churches, medieval villages and noble buildings follow one another on a journey through history and hospitality that arouses strong emotions throughout the Lunigiana: summer and winter sports facilities, spa treatments, hiking and speleological possibilities, alternating folklore and local traditions are the ingredients to enrich the tourist attractions of a strip of land suspended between the mountains and the sea, flanked by the Cinque Terre of Liguria and the art cities of Tuscany, immersed in an intact and uncontaminated nature. The numerous municipalities offer endless possibilities for excursions and interesting visits, here we can briefly report:
Pontremoli: northern gateway to Lunigiana and a typical medieval city, it was born from the aggregation of a village around its castrum. From the Cisa state road, the Piagnaro castle, completely restored and home to the Museum of the Stele Statues, and the houses of the city, seem to defend its historic center, protected to the north by Porta Parma and bordered to the south by the confluence of the Magra and Verde rivers . The municipality hosts numerous monuments such as the Cathedral of S. Maria del Popolo (17th century) with a Baroque interior, the Campanone, a tower of the ancient curtain wall that divided the Guelphs and Ghibellines, the Church of S. Colombano and the Church of S. Pietro with the sculpture of the pilgrim’s Labyrinth, the Church of SS. Annunziata of 1471. Pearl of Lunigiana, in front of the small baroque masterpiece of the church of Nostra Donna and the Teatro della Rosa, one of the first in Italy, recently restored and rich, inside, of baroque elements The town is home to the Bacarella Prize (third Sunday in July).
Considered the Florence of Lunigiana, Fivizzano has always been an important center, as evidenced by the large number of works of art and stately buildings such as Palazzo Cojari, the Town Hall, Palazzo Fantoni-Chigi and Palazzo Benedetti. In fact, Fivizzano was given to the Medici in the 15th century and remained in their possession until the coming of the Lorraines. The walls of Fivizzano were erected by order of Cosimo de’ Medici in 1540, while the Baroque fountain in the square, overlooked by the church dedicated to Saints Giacomo Apostolo e Antonio, was built by Cosimo III in 1683. Further on, towards Porta Sarzanese , there is the former Augustinian convent and the oratory of San Carlo or the small church of the prisons. Beyond the walls, the village of Verrucola houses the castle of the same name, built by Spinetta Malaspina the Great. Fivizzano was the birthplace of Jacopo da Fivizzano, who was among the first to print with movable type in 1471. Worth mentioning every summer is the Disfida degli Arcieri di Terra e di Corte and the Fivizzano Sapori exhibition.
In the hamlets, we can visit the parish church of San Paolo di Vendaso, the parish church of Pognana, the village of Soliera, the villages of Gragnola, Vinca, Sassalbo and Viano. Also, don’t miss a visit to the Frignoli Botanical Garden and the caves of Equi Terme.
Filattiera: very ancient Ligurian-Apuan settlement; medieval capital of the Malaspina dello Spino Fiorito. To visit: Church of S. Giorgio with Leodgar’s tombstone and medieval defense tower of the castle (14th century). At the foot of the town, the Pieve di Sorano (8th-10th century), a fine example of Romanesque art. In the surroundings: Ponticello, a typical tunnel village; Caprio, an interesting village with the remains of tower houses.
Bagnone: the castle, perched on the promontory and, further down, the village, characterize this town. Attractions: marquis castle with cylindrical tower (14th century) common to many castles in Lunigiana. Nearby: village and castle of Castiglione del Terziere, (11th century); Jera, a small mountain village that offers splendid views.
Mulazzo: Village of Byzantine origin which became the capital of the Malaspina dello Spino Secco. Sights: Octagonal tower, known as “di Dante” because Dante Alighieri stayed here as a guest of the Malaspinas, remains of the Malaspina castle (13th-15th century), imposing arches of the ancient aqueduct (15th century); Study Center Alessandro Malaspina, navigator of the 18th century. Nearby: on the road to Gavedo, site of a 16th century castle, you can visit the ancient Romanesque church of S. Martino (8th century); Montereggio: characteristic village surrounded by chestnut trees and home of wandering booksellers; the medieval Monastery of the Madonna del Monte with a 14th century Marian icon
Aulla: City dominated by the Brunella fortress (15th-16th century), now home to the Natural History Museum of Lunigiana. Nearby: the village of Bibola with its spiral structure and the remains of a mighty Castle (XII-XIII); the medieval walled village of Caprigliola with the cylindrical tower (XII).
Fosdinovo: Set within the walls of its village, where you can breathe sea air and mountain wind, the Malaspina castle (14th-17th century) stands out, as well as the Church of S. Remigio (1367), a panoramic point. Nearby: Caniparola and the Malaspina villa. Luni, Sarzana, Cinque Terre.
It is the splendid and renowned tourist resort of the Ligurian Riviera, which rises in a suggestive inlet between the Gulf of Tigullio and Punta Carega. Portofino has always been one of the favorite destinations for thousands of tourists, especially well-known personalities linked to the world of culture and entertainment. Since 1995 Portofino has been among the “Jewels of Europe”, the club that brings together the most important European tourist centres.
Forte dei Marmi
One of the busiest seaside resorts in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Forte dei Marmi is grouped around a pier established in the sixteenth century for the loading of Apuan marble and protected, since 1788, by a fort built by Leopold I, visible in the center of Piazza Garibaldi. Nobles from half of Europe, diplomats, businessmen and captains of industry, artists and famous personalities have built splendid villas hidden and protected by the greenery of the pine forest, choosing its very fine sands to spend a period of vacation and rest.
Elegant and refined, Viareggio is one of the best-known towns on the Versilia coast and a destination for world tourism. The center of entertainment, home of the Carnival and of nightlife refinement with its avant-garde and classy venues. The lights of the night give way to a lively and colorful landscape in the summer, to the splendid sunsets and tranquility in the winter. And in any case Viareggio is never far from the spotlight as it can offer various reasons for tourist attraction in any season of the year.
On the Apuan Alps the spectacular marble quarries reflect a suggestive image. Here the precious white stone has been mined since Roman times. Since then it has been used for all kinds of uses: from simple objects to the most famous works of art and architecture. In the past, blocks of marble were transported with an ancient manual technique: the lizzatura, re-enacted every year, thanks to the courage and skill of the last living lizzaturas. In the artistic laboratories of Carrara, the marble museum and in open-air exhibitions, you can see the history and working of marble up close.
Montemarcello is a splendid town which dominates the Gulf of La Spezia, the open sea, the coast of Versilia and the mouth of the river Magra from the top of the Caprione promontory. The landscape is certainly one of the most evocative of the Ligurian coast, which borders Tuscany at this point. Carrara is not far away and looking east, beyond the plain of Luni, it seems you can touch the Apuan Alps and the white streaks of the marble quarries. The village owes its name to the Roman consul Claudio Marcello, who in 155 BC. here he defeated the Ligurian Apuans who inhabited the area. Its origins are very ancient and throughout the Caprione area one has the sensation of moving through centuries and centuries of history. You can walk along the Roman road, still paved with stone in many points, to get to Bocca di Magra where there is a splendid thermal villa dating back to the 4th century BC, or visit nearby Luni with its archaeological excavations and Roman amphitheater .
Equi Terme is a charming village located in Tuscany at the foot of the steep slopes of the Northern Apuan Alps, protected by the regional park of the same name. Equi is a renowned tourist resort known for the possibility of thermal treatments, thanks to the source of sulphurous water with multiple therapeutic qualities. The most enchanting karst phenomenon is the Buca and the Grotte di Equi, an extensive underground karst complex formed over the millennia by erosion caused by underground watercourses. Here the action of the water has created highly suggestive cavities with tunnels and halls affected by concretions (stallatites, stalagmites, lava flows, etc.) explored since the 1700s. Thanks to the intervention of the Municipality of Fivizzano and the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps, the front part of the Equi caves, called the Buca, can now be visited by tourists with a short but suggestive route – lasting 20 minutes – within everyone’s reach, which allows you to cross tunnels and halls of great interest.