Lunigiana: Off The Beaten Track in Tuscany – Pontremoli, Fivizzano, Equi Terme

Lunigiana is located on the northernmost part of Tuscany. It’s one of the regions that’s less explored by tourists visiting Italy. However, Lunigiana is a place that’s rich in history. Besides that, it’s a beauty to behold thanks to the small hill-top towns and natural landscapes.
If you are going to visit Lunigiana, then you will leave with three memories. The rich history, scenic mountains, and food. It is known to offer great cuisines which perfectly engage different taste buds. Situated on Tuscany’s tip, Lunigiana sits between Liguria, the Apuan Alps, and the Apennines. Below is an overview of Lunigiana: Off the beaten track in Tuscany and what you can see.

1. Pontremoli 

This is a small city that’s found in Tuscany. Pontremoli was previously a commune of Latin Catholic bishopric. So, it was the sole door for monks, pilgrims, and saints in Central Italy. Found in Lunigiana, Pontremoli has a mixed personality. Its charm is warm and unique. Since its origin, it’s one of the contested villages. And although it has been burned down, it still rises. But what can you see and engage in this town?
This place is rich in history. Ponte Della Cresa, for instance, is a bountiful place that was one of the multiple entrances which people used to access the city. It has four distinct stone arches and it spans over the river Verde. There is also Ponte & Tower del Cassotto which are the symbols of Pontremoli. It’s an entrance and bridge which facilitate easier communication with the neighboring coast.
Don’t forget to visit the stele museum. It’s one of the most mysterious and ancient heritages found in this land. It’s home to numerous stele statues and you will find different dimensional sculptures. A visit to Pontremoli is not complete if you cannot eat testaroli. This is a renowned pasta which is pancake-like. Testaroli is often served with pesto. If you always love to dip your bread in a sauce, you will love it.

2. Equi Terme 

Equi Terme is a stunning region with great natural phenomenon. The mountain town is found within beautiful caves, marble mountains, lush nature, and natural springs among others. It’s renowned for its unique location, beside one of Apuan Alps’ peaks. It’s solidly perched on a rocky and steep slope. Note that Apuan Alps’ marble core contains healing waters that are used in the Terme di Equi baths. These waters are classified as mineral springs and they have an average temperature of 24�C. The popularity of these waters is solely based on their healing properties. People can use them to heal otolaryngology and respiratory problems, joint and bone problems, skin issues in addition to angiology.
Grotti di Equi is another area that’s found close to this bath. The UNESCO-Recognized site is consists of numerous karst caves. It features beautiful wells, lakes, and fascinating underground tunnels.
This is a perfect place to relax, enjoy beautiful scenic views, and heal your body. The Equi Terme Caves are great for an excursion. Just like the natural water spas, they were also formed through erosion. The caves which cover around 1000 meters have three main parts i.e.
La Buca: It’s considered as the entrance to the caves. Note that water no longer flows in this region.
The proper caves: this is where the water still exerts erosive power. As a result, it leads to the creation of stalagmites and stalactites. The proper caves region is made up of several partitions which feature enchanting and surreal characteristics.
The “expert” area: it covers an area of around 500 meters. This area suits only for an experienced caver. As a result, only experts can access it. The cave complex has a paleontological and archaeologic site which is important internationally.
Apart from the caves and the natural hot springs, it’s also vital to go through the village streets. You will come across a picturesque neighborhood, spire-bell tower, and a medieval-like chapel.

3. Fivizzano 

This is indeed one of the most interesting and renown towns in Lunigiana. Fivizzano has a rich history. Besides that, its culture and folklore are interesting. It’s sometimes referred to as the beautiful corner of Florence because everything about it is stunning.
As a historic center, some of the places which visitors can explore include the defense walls. They were built in 1540. There is also the Baroque fountain, the Palace & Tomb of Arcadian Labindo among others. There were many foundries, iron factories, tanneries, paper mills, printing, and dye works. Based on its humanistic culture Fivizzano has played a major role. Note that this is where the Jacopo da Fivizzano initially opened Italy’s first print houses. From its diverse culture and rich history, this region was home to famous notaries, doctors, jurists, as well as men of letters.
Fivizzano gives tourists the chance to explore the Verrucola Castle which is found near the town center. The castle is currently the residence of Pietro Cascella, a popular sculptor. Other areas which a visitor can explore include the Ceserano region which has beautiful vineyards and farm. Besides that, Parish Church of San Paolo di Vendas is also a place that is a must to visit.
You cannot miss out some of Italy’s favorite delicacies in this area. From farm restaurants which cozy restaurants to Michelin restaurants, there is a wide range of delicacies to enjoy.
Generally, this region is suitable for nature lovers and those who love history. Fivizzano is an area that’s found deep within the Apuan Alps Park as well as the Appennino Tosco—Emiliano National Park. Besides that, the Sassalbo mountain village and the Frignoli Botanical Gardens all make this place interesting.

To conclude, Lunigiana is renowned for its unique history. It has amazing small towns which are unexplored thanks to its off the beaten track location. This makes it one of the perfect areas to explore in the Northern side of Tuscany. The beautiful caves, isolated castles, delicious meals, and great itineraries all make this place worth visiting. You will definitely have the time of your life because there is no tourist traffic.

Forte dei Marmi Tuscany Between the Sea and the Mountains (There is Lard)

Do you love fashion, hiking or beaches? If you answered yes to this question, then Fort dei Marmi is a must visit destination for you. The town is among the most up-to-date and chicest in Versilia. Thanks to its beautiful villas immersed in pine groups, an impressive view of Apuan Alps, as well as the beautiful beaches, which makes the town a haven for tourists from all walks of life.

Pontile di Forte dei Marmi

Forte dei Marmi, located in the Tuscany region is one of the top summer destinations in Italy because of the standard services, vibrant nightlife, and its beaches. The site is ideal for those who love to walk and ride since it’s located in a natural plain beside the fascinating scenery.

Life in Forte dei Marmi originates from the Piazza Garibaldi, the central square, marked by famous spots including restaurants, bars, and various shops. From there, you can easily find the historic symbol in the region, the fortification – popularly known as the Fortino – constructed for security purposes by Leopold I.
The iconic pier (built in 1876) is a symbol of cosmopolitan Forte dei Marmi. Together with Fortino, the two sites gave the town the name “home of the Museum of Satire and Caricature. Pier was historically a place where marble extracted from quarries were loaded onto boats.

Forte dei Marmi was founded in Roman’s era and expanded significantly in the 16th century after the quarries were opened near the town. For the rest of century, the Fortress grew and developed through sheer renovation efforts. Towards 1788, the Fortress was completed, and around the 1800s, the Versilia town became a tourist destination and held similar status up-to-date.
It is the perfect destination for a luxury tour on a global scale with a wide beach area and an assortment of elegant villas based at the heart of the town. More so, Forte dei Marmi is also famous for its markets (in Vittoria Apuana, Piazza Marconi, and the antique) as well as festivals in honor of Saint Francis and Saint Hermes).
Additionally, the ancient traditions and hidden parts of the Apuan Alps are worth a visit as well. The sites will invite you to explore surprising and evocative paths in the upcountry.
A usual gathering is represented by an open market every Wednesdays in Pizza Marconi with various accessories, and frivolousness on display. The lively surrounding stretches along the seaside, which consist of a 10 km beach. The beach is made up of sections (called “bagni”) that provide visitors with unique environment and offers. This is composed of areas suitable for kids and families, for lovers and so on. The seaside is also ideal for shopping: there you will access an array of ateliers and boutiques.

Lastly, your tour will not end before taking some pictures, and the experience you get will always be fresh in your mind several years later.

Carrara marble tour

Carrara Marble

Carrara is based in a strategic location with proximity to popular destinations including Pisa, Lucca, Florence, and Cinque Terre. It is also located along major communication routes, such that if you are visiting Tuscany from the East (Riviera, Spain, France) or from the North, you will never miss the sight of the fantastic white mountains that stand stretches towards the horizon.

The marble mines located in the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany offers an incredible tour experience. Although you can tour the marble mines above the Carrara through a self-guided car tour, you’ll need to take a guided tour to reach the highest level of the Apuan Alps.

The marble quarries are the world’s most massive bedding that stretches along three major valleys (Colonnata, Torano, Fantiscritti) which branch out near Carrara town. The marbles caves are so unique that words can not describe the feeling you get once you get surrounded by the white, incredible marble mountains.

The unique art and archaeological feature is dated back to 2000 years ago. During this period, the Romans used the marble to built Rome and marked emperors celebration with it. Iconic museums in Italy such as the Rome Archaeological Museum, Vatican Museums, and Uffizi among others featured Carrara marble works.

Lardo di Colonnata

Lardo di Colonnata

Many thanks to its unique compatibility of taste and seasonality – the Lardo di Colonnata, strips of cured fat is an exceptional food of Tuscany and probably the perfect natural accompaniment to the bruschetta.

The curing and storage of the Lardo di Colonnata is exceptional in every aspect. First, the marble mold consists of a particular type of marble from marble-cutter referred to as Calanoni. It is considered as the ideal cure of the Lardo. The marble is washed with hot and called water respectively.

History

Lardo di Colonnata is the product of two great Tuscan products: pork and the white marble from the Apuan Alps. Pork is the main livestock product in the region while the marble used to make beautiful columns are of excellent quality.

On the one hand, the Romans focused on increasing the amount of marbles they could extract, while on the other, the Barbarians that controlled the region after the Romans focused on the rearing of pigs for pork and lard. The best lardo is produced in Colonnata.

The consistent mountain wind in Colonnata brings about a suitable environment for aging lard. The fat is stored in basins or marble tubs with ideal porousness. Lardo di Colonnata standards include aging the meat in marble and are regulated by IGP. As soon as you move away from the regulated region, you will notice a decline in the quality of lards.

Final thoughts

Now you have a basic understanding of Forte dei Marmi, Carrara marble tour, and Lardo di Collonata. As a tourist visiting Italy for the first time, and more so Tuscany, Forte dei Marmi is a must-visit location due to its the top-notch services, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches, not to mention the impressive view of Apuan Alps. The Carrara marble tour will guarantee you a one-on-one view of the famous marble quarries. And finally, the delicious taste of Lardo di Collonata will ensure your tour experience is one of its kind.