Lunigiana , a very special part of Tuscany

Springtime is coming. Are you ready to venture into a special Tuscany, outside the touristy beaten paths? Forget for a moment the stunning cities of art and plunge into small charming villages. Give yourself a treat with  authentic natural parks and open spaces with breathtaking views on The Apuan Alps, just less than an hour’s drive from the Mediterranean Sea.

We are suggesting a visit to the northern part of Tuscany called Lunigiana.

A landscape of green meadows spotted  by sunny old stone houses, telling  the ones who can listen, stories of simple way of life. Tuscany Holiday Rent suggests you a holiday accommodation in Tuscany offering rental apartments in Gragnola characterized by a stunning view over the valley.

The area is worth being visited. History has left  meaningful marks here. Among them the Francigena, a road  leading to Rome which in the Middle Ages was trodden by the pilgrims heading  for the center of Christianity. One of the most famous, Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, recorded his several stops here in  Lunigiana. In Montelungo, just beyond the Cisa Pass, St Benedict’s Monastery  hosted him.  In his record he as well remembers also   Pontremoli St Peter’s Church and Aulla along  the banks of the  Magra River.

The Francigena was used by the Lombards on their coming south from Pavia, their political center. The monasteries and abbeys they built on their descent were safe political and religious strongholds.

Historical witnesses of the Liguri, the third millennium B.C.,original inhabitants  can be admired in the Piagnaro, the museum inside Pontremoli castle . We mean the statue stele, archeological  remains of the prehistoric inhabitants. Their mostly unknown anthropomorphic cult of stone divinities can be a charming voyage back in time, essentially evocative because of the statues’ geometrically essential features, though well identified in their respective genders, males by daggers and axes and females by adorned breasts.

From their sacred  area near Villafranca  they have been moved to the castle, faithful to their secrets.

Culture in Lunigiana  also means cooking , well rooted in its peasant background,  the simple ingredients perfectly combine in special recipes  worth being tasted. Among them just to mention some, the “torta d’erbi”, a sort of pie, made up of a thin pastry layer filled with  simplycooked wild spontaneous herbs. The testaroli are probably the most known and appreciated, a sort of salty pancakes generally served with pesto sauce or mushroom one. They are delicious.

Lunigiana can be really a corner far from  common tracks which needs  to be discovered and consequently  appreciated  far better by a curious  traveler  rather than by an ordinary tourist .

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