The Local Area

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The Local Area

Lunigiana is the most northern part of Tuscany. The landscape is dotted with picturesque medieval villages such as Licciana Nardi, Bagnone, Pontremoli, Filletto, Sarzana and Fivizzano. From the medieval castle at Fosdinovo, which still bears the coat of arms of the Malaspin from the early Middle Ages, there’s a splendid view from the gulf of La Spezia to Versilia, and on the slopes below lie some excellent vineyards. Further afield are the cities of La Spezia, Lucca and Pisa.

The Port of La Spezia is an important naval base and occupies part of a pretty bay with marinas and villages such as La Grazie and Portovenere on one side, and the beach resorts of Lericci and Forte dei Marmi on the other.

North of Portovenere on the coast can be found the World Heritage site of the “Cinque Terre” a dramatic chain of coastal villages at the foot of steep hills and cliffs, accessible by car, train and ferry boat.

Lucca (right) is a walled city and features some of the finest medieval and Renaissance architecture, excellent shopping, wonderful restaurants, antique markets, classical and rock festivals.

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There are excellent markets in most of the small towns as well as the larger ones. The markets sell everything from fresh produce to fashion clothes and garden tools:

  • Pontremoli, (30mins North) has a market on Saturday
  • Sarzana (20mins SW) has a market on Thursday
  • Forte dei Marmi (35mins S) has a market on Wednesday
  • Aulla (15mins SW) has a market on Saturday


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Lunigiana, as in many other parts of Italy has its own unique dishes of which it is justifiably proud. There are many excellent and varied restaurants and Pizzerias.

Among our favourite dishes are “pannigacci” - pieces of focaccia made with flour and water and baked in trays placed over an open fire and eaten with cheeses and cured pork – and “Tagliatelle” - T bone steak cut off the bone into slices and cooked on a sizzling clay skillet.

The area is also renowned for its chestnuts and olive oil. The chestnut festivals are held in many local villages during October.

As always, there are many pizzerias and most villages have their own with traditional wood burning ovens.

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Local Activities

Below are listed some of the activities available in the area.

Wine tasting

Sarzana: Lunae Vineyard (Cantine Lunae) Via Palvotrisia, 19030 Castelnuovo Magra. Guided tours and tastings to be found at this excellent vineyard and bookings can be made on-line at

Also, smaller vineyards can be found in the local area: Il Monticello, Via Groppolo, Sarzana Santa Caterina, Via Santa Caterina, Sarzana


There are many pathways and tracks winding through the local valleys and woodland. Additionally there are some steep hill paths leading up to breathtaking views from the mountain tops.

For example, take the Road from Licciana up to the hill village of Bastia, then on to Paretola, Cisigliana and finally the mountain top where magnificent, panoramic views across all the surrounding country await you.

Going in the opposite direction and nearer to home, take the road up from Licciana to Panicale. Park your car at the top near the church and walk west along the ridge and down to Monti.

Alternatively chose any or all of the spectacular coastal trails along the “Cinque Terre” National Park (right) where foot paths connect each of the five villages.


Swimming and Sunbathing

Lerici (40mins S) has excellent , clean sandy beaches and the access is easy. Forte dei Marmi (50minsS) also has excellent sandy beaches and is the Italian’s favourite fashion and seaside resort.



The cycle, foot and leather ware shop, Brunilde, just off the square in Licciana Nardi is planning to hire (powered) cycles from 2010 and to provide local maps with cycle routes. On a trip to Lucca, it is possible to hire bicycles to ride along the top of the old town walls and through the town itself.