Unveiling the Hidden Treasures of Lunigiana: A Tuscan Adventure Awaits

Nestled between Liguria and Tuscany, Lunigiana is a historical region of Italy that offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. Named after the ancient Roman city of Luni, located near the mouth of the Magra River, Lunigiana is a region that has been shaped by centuries of history.

The region is characterized by its unique geographical location, straddling the administrative boundaries of Liguria and Tuscany. Its territory corresponds to the basin of the Magra River and its tributaries. Although its borders are not precise, they can be understood within a line that, starting from the coast near Moneglia and crossing the Passo del Bracco, reaches that of Cento Croci, then follows the Apennine watershed to the Passo del Cerreto and Monte Belfiore, and descends back to the sea, south of Montignoso, between Massa and Pietrasanta.

1. Embark on a Culinary Cycling Journey in Lunigiana

Immerse yourself in the enchanting landscapes of Lunigiana, a hidden gem nestled between Tuscany and Liguria, as you pedal through its verdant valleys and charming villages. This isn’t your ordinary cycling tour; it’s a gastronomic adventure that marries the thrill of exploration with the joy of tasting authentic Italian cuisine. With an e-bike, you’ll navigate the region’s diverse terrain with ease, pausing at local eateries to savor the flavors of Lunigiana’s culinary heritage. From artisanal cheeses to traditional pastries, your taste buds are in for a treat. This is a unique opportunity to experience Italy’s la dolce vita in its most authentic form.

2. Step Back in Time with Lunigiana’s Majestic Castles

Lunigiana, often referred to as the “Land of a Hundred Castles,” is a paradise for history enthusiasts and romantics alike. Embark on a journey through time as you explore the region’s well-preserved castles, each with its own unique story to tell. From the hilltop Castello di Lusuolo offering panoramic views of the Magra Valley, to the imposing Castello di Monti di Licciana Nardi and the fortified Castello di Bastia, these architectural marvels will transport you to a bygone era of knights and nobility. Many of these castles offer guided tours, providing fascinating insights into the region’s rich history and culture.

3. Discover the Fortezza della Brunella – Aulla’s Crown Jewel

Perched on a hill overlooking the town of Aulla, the Fortezza della Brunella is a testament to Lunigiana’s strategic importance in the past. This imposing fortress, now a museum, offers a deep dive into the region’s geological and natural history. As you wander through its ancient corridors, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys – a sight that’s worth the visit alone. The fortress is a symbol of Lunigiana’s resilience and a must-visit for any traveler.

4. Dive into Adventure at Stretti di Giaredo

For thrill-seekers and nature lovers, the Stretti di Giaredo offers an unforgettable adventure. This stunning natural canyon, with its towering walls and crystal-clear waters, is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Trek through the rugged terrain, swim in the refreshing waters, and marvel at the awe-inspiring beauty of this natural wonder. With a guide by your side and all equipment provided, all you need to bring is your spirit of adventure and a love for the great outdoors.

5. Experience the Grandeur of Villa Dosi

Step into a world of elegance and grandeur at Villa Dosi, a stunning Baroque villa near the historic center of Pontremoli. This architectural masterpiece, with its beautifully preserved frescoes and intricate stucco work, offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Italian nobility. A guided tour of the villa is not just a walk through its lavish rooms; it’s a journey through the region’s artistic and cultural history. Don’t miss the chance to experience this piece of Lunigiana’s heritage.

6. Live a Day in the Life of a Lunigiana Shepherd

Experience the simple pleasures of rural life in Lunigiana by spending a day with a local shepherd. This unique experience offers a rare insight into the traditional pastoral lifestyle that has shaped the region’s culture and cuisine. You’ll learn about the art of sheep rearing, cheese making, and perhaps even hear a tale or two about the shepherd’s life. This is a perfect activity for families, offering children a fun and educational experience.

7. Savor the Flavors of Caseificio Sociale di Borgotaro

Cheese lovers, rejoice! A visit to the Caseificio Sociale di Borgotaro is a must when in Lunigiana. This renowned Parmesan cheese cheese factory offers guided tours that take you through the fascinating process of cheese-making, from the milking of the cows to the aging of the cheese. The highlight of the tour is, of course, the tasting session where you can sample some of the factory’s finest parmigiano reggiano. This is a unique opportunity to taste the flavors of Lunigiana and learn about the region’s dairy traditions.

Lunigiana, with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and delectable cuisine, is a destination that captivates and enchants. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an adventure seeker, or simply a traveler in search of authentic experiences, Lunigiana has something to offer. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the hidden treasures of this Italian gem.

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 

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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 

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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 

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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.

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