LUNIGIANA

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Lunigiana, the northern peninsular of Tuscany, is nestled between the Appennini and Apuane Alp mountain ranges following the river bed of the Magra that separates Liguria from Emilia Romagna. Known as the “Undiscovered Tuscany”, Lunigiana is relatively untouched by tourism or heavy industry making it nature lovers’ perfect holiday destination. Lunigiana, literally translated as “earth of the moon”, takes its name from the ancient Etruscan city of Luni, a Roman settlement founded in 677 BC. The region historically served as a passageway for pilgrims between the rest of Europe and Rome (Via Francigena) and was fought over between the Malaspina and the Medici families leaving its landscape dominated by medieval castles with tower watchposts, fortified stone walled hill top hamlets, baroque villas and palaces with XVII/XVII century frescos and ancient churches. Nature provides Lunigiana its greatest attractions from trekking paths through the Tuscan / Emilian Apennine National Park (www.appenninopark.it/parco.asp ), skiing at Zum Zeri or at the Cerreto Pass (used for the World Skiing Championships) or the thermal springs and caves at Equi Termi. Lunigiana is also renowned for its farmhouse cuisine that takes the freshest ingredients from its nature, namely chestnut flour, mushrooms, natural herbs (Torta D’erbi), fresh ricotta and other cheeses, DOP (Protection of Origination) honey and lamb (Zeri). During the summer months, almost every town and village will host a sagre (festival) dedicated to different and many traditional gastronomy of the region.
(www.terredilunigiana.com)

 

Pontremoli

This castle town is magically set on the confluence of the River Magre and Verde and acts as the northern gate to Lunigiana. Characterised by its many stone bridges (from which it takes its name, literally translated as “ponte tremulus” or “trembling bridges”) and cobbled narrow streets winding onto its piazzas and up to its northern gate, “Porta Parma” and the Castello del Piagnaro which hosts the Museum of the Statue Stele, ancient stone carvings from the settlements of Luni dating back to 3400BC. Pontremoli hosts the Premio Bancarella Literary Festival each year in the middle of July and the medieval festival of “Medievale” at the end of July as well as normal market days every Wednesday and Saturday mornings of the year and antique and artesian markets on the first and third Sunday morning of each month.

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Fivizzano

Fivizzano is the widest village of Lunigiana. It extends from the Appenines to the Apuan Alps. The numerous valleys, of the torrents Rosaro, Mommio and Lucido meet all the course of the Aulella. In the zone it is possible to admire great landscapes, from hills to mountains with a mild climate.
Considered the Florence of Lunigiana, Fivizzano has always been an important center. Castles, churches and noble palaces show it. Fivizzano gave itself to the Medici family in the XV century and remained in their possession until the come of the Lorena. The walls of Fivizzano were erected for order of Cosimo de’ Medici in 1540, while the baroque font of the main square was constructed from Cosimo III in 1683. Beyond the walls, the village of the Verrucola where the castle of the Verrucola lies, erected from Spinetta Malaspina the Great. Fivizzano gave birth to Jacopo from Fivizzano, one of the first printer.
Every summer in July, the “Disfida degli arceri di terra e di corte” fill with people the medieval village. Nearby, we can visit the Romanesque churc of Saint Paul of Vendaso, the village of Soliera with the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Necks, the villages of Gragnola with the castle and Vinca. Moreover, the Botanical Garden of the Frignoli and the village of Sassalbo.

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Filattiera

Filattiera is a fortified hilltop settlement of Byzantine origin, dominated by its castle tower, church and medieval piazza. Its name comes from the Byzantine term “Fulacterion: meaning “watch tower” thereby signifying its strategic position as an enemy watch post. At the bottom of the hill, its parish church, the Romanic Church of Sorano, Logarghena and the local church, La Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista.Twice a year, the church hosts a procession of the cross with band music along the road leading to Tarasco.

Bagnone

Both Bagnone and Magrate are hill top settlements dominated by their Malaspina castles. The Malgrate castle was built in 1355 and has been recently restored. Based on a rock above the river, Bagnone has several watermills and was historically fought over for its strategic position on the crossroads between the Appennines and Lucca/Bolano. Just outside Bagnone, there is another village worth visiting with its eleventh century castle, Castiglione del Terziere which has also been perfectly restored.

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Mulazzo

Historic capital of the right bank of the River Magra of the Malaspina dello Spino Secco rule, Mulazzo is situated high above the Mangiona stream and hosts the BancarelVino fair where visitors can enjoy wine tasting of the local vineyards. Of Byzantine origin, attractions to see include the octagonal “Tower of Dante”, the ruins of the Malaspina castle, the arcades of a fifteenth century aqueduct and the Alessandro Malaspina Research Centre. The neighboring villages of Castevoli, Lusuolo, Groppoli and Montereggio have further castles to explore and other attractions such as the eighth century Romanic Church of S. Martino, the medieval Monastery of the “Madonna del Monte” and the home of the original booksellers to whom the literary prize “Premio Bancerella” is dedicated (Montereggio).

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Aulla

Town dominated by the Brunella fortress (XV-XVI century), now seat of the Museum of Lunigiana Natural History (phone 0187 409077 ). In the surrounding area: the village of Bibola with its winding structure and with the ruins of an imposing castle (XII-XIII), and the walled medieval village Caprigliola with the cylindrical Tower (XII century).

Fosdinovo

It is surrounded by the walls of the village, where sea and mountains seem very close to each other, and is dominated by the Malaspina castle (XIV-XVII). To visit: the church of S. Remigio (1367) with its panoramic location. In the surrounding area: Caniparola and the Malaspina villa, Luni, Sarzana and Cinque Terre.

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ENTOURAGE

 

Portofino

Est une splendide et réputée localité touristique de la riviera ligure, elle émerge d’une manière suggestive entre le golfe Tigullio et la pointe Carega. Portofino è depuis toujours un des objectifs privilégiés des touristes, surtout de personnages fameux liés au monde de la culture et du spectacle. Depuis 1995, Portofino est considéré comme un des «Bijoux d’Europe », un club qui regroupe les plus importants centre touristiques d’Europe.

Forte dei Marmi

Localité balnéaire parmi les plus fréquentées de la mer Thyrrénienne. Forte dei Marmi s’étend autour d’un débarcadère construit au 16ème siècle pour le chargement du marbre des alpes Apuanes, et protégée par un fortin construit par Léopold I, visible du centre de la place Garibaldi. Nobles de la moitié de l’Europe, diplomates, hommes d’affaires et capitaines d’industrie, artistes et personnages célèbres y ont construit des villas splendides cachées et protégées par les vertes pinède, choisissant les plages de sable fin pour y passer des périodes de vacances et repos.

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Viareggio

Elégante et raffinée, Viareggio est la localité de la côte « versiliese » parmi les plus connues et un objectif touristique mondial. Un centre de divertissement, patrie du Carnaval et du raffinement nocturne avec ses établissements d’avant-garde et de grande classe. Les lumières de la nuit donnent naissance à un paysage coloré et vivace l’été, aux splendides couchers de soleil et à la tranquillité lors des périodes hivernales. Viareggio a toujours les réflecteurs qui l’éclairent pouvant offrir à n’importe quel moment de l’année différentes attractions touristiques.

Carrara

Sur les Alpes Apuanes, les spectaculaires carrières de marbre constituent un site suggestif et impressionnant. Ici la précieuse pierre blanche est extraite depuis le temps des romains. Depuis, elle est utilisée de diverses manières: depuis de simples objets aux œuvres d’art et d’architecture les plus célèbres. Dans le passé, les immenses blocs de marbre étaient transportés avec une ancienne technique manuelle : la « Lizzatura » (glissage des blocs de marbre), cette tradition est perpétuée chaque année grâces au courage et à l’habilité des derniers “lizzatori” (carriers qui maîtrisent la technique. Dans les ateliers artistiques de Carrare, au musée du marbre ou lors d’exhibitions à ciel ouvert, on peut toucher de près l’histoire et le travail du marbre.

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Montemarcello

Montemarcello est un splendide village qui domine du haut du promontoire du “Caprione” le Golfe de La Spezia, la mer Ligure, le littoral de la Versilia et l’embouchure du torrent « Magra ». Le paysage est sûrement un des plus suggestifs de la côte ligure, qui à cet endroit confine avec la Toscane. Carrare n’en est pas loin et regardant vers l’est, outre la plaine de Luni, on a l’impression de pouvoir toucher les Alpes Apuanes et les rayures blanche des carrières de marbre. Le village doit son nom au consul romain Claudio Marcello, qui en 155a.c. a vaincu les « Liguri Apuani » qui habitaient la région. Son origine est fort antique et dans toute cette zone du Caprione on a l’impression de parcourir siècles et siècles d’histoire. On peut se promener le long de la route romaine, encore pavée en pierres d’époque à de nombreux endroits , pour arriver à « Bocca di Magra » où il y a les restes d’un splendide villa thermale datant du IV ème siècle a.c., ou visiter les fouilles archéologiques de Luni et son amphithéâtre romain.

Equi Terme

Equi terme è un petit village suggestif situé en Toscane au pied des pentes escarpées des Alpes Apuanes septentrionales, protégé par le parc régional du même nom. Equi est une réputée localité touristique connue pour ses cures thermales, grâce aux sources d’eau sulfureuse aux nombreuses qualités thérapeutiques. Les phénomènes karstiques les plus magiques sont la « Buca » et les Grottes d’Equi, un ensemble karstique souterrain étendu formé depuis des millénaires par l’érosion des cours d’eau souterrains. L’action de l’eau a créé de grandes cavités suggestives avec des galeries et salles contenant des concrétions (stalactites, stalagmites, coulées, …)esplorées depuis début 1700. Grâce à l’intervention de la commune de Fivizzano et du Parc Régional des Alpes Apuanes, la partie antérieure des grottes de Equi, appelée la « Buca » est aujourd’hui visitable par les touristes. Le parcours est bref mais fort suggestif, d’une durée de 20 minutes, il est à la portée de tous, il permet de traverser des galeries et des salles de grand intérêt.

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