Lunigiana is the triangle marking the border between Tuscany. Liguria and Emilia and has always been crossed by pilgrims, traders and merchants. The result of these exchanges is noticeable in the architecture, language and food of the region.
From the three regions, Lunigiana has taken the best of each


TORTA D'ERBE is a local pie made with a base of very light pastry filled with herbs, green vegetables, leeks and spinach. A delicious snack.

TESTAROLI are the pride of Lunigiana cuisine. You will not find them anywhere else in Italy. They are made from a batter of wheat flour, water and salt which is cooked in large cast iron pans with lids. They form a sort of pancake which is then boiled and cut up into small strips and is usually served with Pesto

PANIGACCI Iis another speciality of Lunigiana. Like Testaroli they are made of a batter but one which is cooked in red hot clay dishes over an open fire. Panigacci are then served as hot crispy pancakes which you then spread with a soft Stracchino cheese and fill with mixed cold meats such as Parma ham, salami etc. The village of Podenzana is famous throughout Italy as the home of Panigacci.

FOCACETTE are similar to panigacci but made with maize flour and can be sampled at the many local festas and sagras.

FOCACCIA is well known throughout Italy but particularly good in this region. It is leavened bread cooked with olive oil and salt; particularly good when just out of the oven and still warm in the mornings for breakfast. Focaccia can also be found made with onions olives and sausages.

FRITELLE Slices of vegetable, fried in a very light batter, as part of an antipasto.

SGABEI Chisel-shaped fried dough, served as part of an Antipasto

For pasta there are the famous TORTELLI , TORTELLONI OR PANSEROTTI, which are similar to ravioli but stuffed with ricotta and spinach and served with parmesan cheese, fresh sage and melted butter.
PAPPARDELLE Wide ribbon pasta usually served with hare sauce (ragù di lepre). Also often served with a sauce made from wild boar (cinghiale)

CINGHIALE or wild boar, is hunted in the Lunigiana hills and is a staple in many of the restaurants. Often cooked 'al umido' (stewed) and served with polenta.

You will see many stalls in the local festas and indeed in many of the local grocery shops (alimentari) a plump beige/brown mushroom in wicker baskets lined with chestnut leaves. The inhabitants of Lunigiana look forward to the beginning of the season when these funghi (mushrooms) begin to grow. They are a great delicacy and expensive to buy. You will find them frequently served in restaurants with pasta in a sauce or often with cream in a sauce with meat. They are in fact the 'boletus edulis - "cep " in French or PORCINI in Italian. You can buy them fresh to cook there, or dried to take home.

The cheeses, such as pecorino, are served in most of the restaurants or sold in the grocers. Pecorino Toscana is particularly good. Other good cheeses are gorgonzola with or without MASCARPONE, STRACCHINO (creamy cheese), fresh PARMIGIANO.

A great part of Lunigiana is covered by chestnut woods and chestnuts at one time constituted the local peoples livelihood before and during the war. There are many local dishes where the main ingredient is chestnut flour but the most popular is probably PATTONA - a chestnut batter cooked in clay dishes and served with ricotta and salami. Also popular is GNOCCHI di CASTAGNO Gnocchi made with chestnut flour. Many of the festas held in the region will serve dishes based on chestnuts.


Although Lunigiana is not famous for its wines, most restaurants make their own from grapes they collect from the South of Tuscany. Wine here is of course really very reasonable to buy.
The area of Lunigiana is surrounded by well-known vineyards. To the south is Chianti, which produces the most famous wines of Italy; other Tuscan wines worth a try include Vernaccia, Aleatica, Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano. The Cinque Terre produce pleasant dessert wines such as Sciacchetra.


In Italy food is eaten in the following order

Starter, hors d'oeuvre. Usually consists of thinly sliced cold meats such as Parma ham, salame etc. referred to as Antipasto Italiano or Salumi Misti or Affettati and generally accompanied by pickled vegetables. Often you get little ‘fritelle’ – slices of zucchini, etc fried in batter, and ‘sgabei’, chisel-shaped fried dough. Antipasto can also be a hot dish (stuffed pancakes) or seafood.

§ PRIMO PIATTO - This is the pasta course. Pasta, risotto or soup, is eaten as a primo. Many people find that antipasto plus a primo pasta dish is more than enough. A group can often ask for a selection of different pasta, so everyone can try everything. Ask for ‘misto’.

§ SECONDO PIATTO - This is the main course (meat or fish).

§ CONTORNO - Vegetables. In Italy vegetables do not automatically come with your main dish and should be ordered separately.

§ FORMAGGIO - Cheese

§ DOLCE - Dessert or GELATO - Ice Cream or FRUTTA - Fruit

CAFFE - Espresso is normally served unless otherwise ordered. CAFE MACCHIATO is espresso with a touch of milk .

LIQUORE – Liqueur – Try Limoncello, often homemade and delicious.

VINO - Wine. Most restaurants make their own wine. (Vino della casa) and will simply ask if you prefer red (rosso) or white (bianco)

ACQUA - Water. When ordering you should state if you want ACQUA GASSATA (Fizzy) or alternatively ACQUA NATURALE (plain mineral water)

In Italy it is normal to make a cover charge to include bread, etc (pane e coperto)
IVA (VAT) will be included in your bill and service sometimes is as well.

As a general restaurants are open from 12.00 to 14.00 and from 1900 to 2400 (pizzerias are normally open until much later). We advise you to book in high season and weekends.Italians usually eat out at lunchtime on Sundays!

Many restaurants in Lunigiana do not have a menu. They just come and tell you what they have that day. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat it. They don’t tell you the prices, but they will always be reasonable in this sort of restaurant, as will the house wine.
Beware of prices on the coast, which are much higher than in the Lunigiana area. BUON APPETITO !!

Check that the restaurant takes credit cards - some take only cash. You may not always get a receipt unless you ask.
All restaurants and bars close one day a week.


Taverone Valley

RISTORANTE VENELIA - Monti Tel 0187 472106
In Monti take road straight on at Tamoil petrol station towards Villafranca instead of bearing left round bend to Aulla. After 100m there is a fork. Carry straight on towards Aulla. There is a modern arcade on the left just after the next left turn. Excellent food.Closed Wednesdays.

GALLETTI - Crespiano Tel 0187 484224
On the main road going through Crespiano on right hand side. Very convenient good local restaurant. not expensive. They sell their own Mirto and Fragolino liqueurs.

TRATTORIA FEDERICO GUIDO - Prota Tel 0187 484235
From Licciana Nardi go up the valley road and take fork towards Comano. On entering Crespiano take sharp left hand turning up hill to Prota. As you come into Prota, Guido’s bar and shop is on the left hand side (no sign or indication, though). The restaurant is upstairs. Try their Faraona (guinea fowl), if they have it on. Good traditional cooking at a very reasonable price. Mainly open weekends, but other days in season as well, though it's best to book.

TRATTORIA LA LUNA - Monti Tel 0187
On the from Monti to Licciana. Good food, with dinner and ballroom dancing Friday and Saturday evenings. all for 15 euros a head.

LA GABBIANA - Gabbiana Tel 429033
From Licciana Nardi take the road up towards Panicale. Pass Villa di Panicale and Lusana. The trattoria is on the main road in Gabbiana on the left hand side opposite the parking area. Has a small terrace with wonderful view. Has recently changed hands. . €10 lunch.

Up in the hills above Tavernelle. Just follow the signs and keep going. Stupendous view. Excellent food. Usually a fixed menu with just a few choices. Best to book as it offers some of the best food in Tuscany.

Another new restaurant, a bit more upmarket, reflected in the prices. Good food and lovely building, but lacks the atmosphere of a god local trattoria like the others.

The Magra Valley

RISTORANTE GAVARINI - Mocrone - Tel 493115
Don't be put off by the narrow entrance to the village of Mocrone The restaurant is near the main piazza and has a car park. Interesting dining room filled with paintings and mirrors. Roaring fire in winter. Good menu and professional service is reflected in the slightly higher prices.Good food. Rooms available.

LA TORRE - Malgrate
Drive up towards the castle but don’t enter the village. Park in the car park. The bar you see has an excellent restaurant at the back. The owner may ask you what you like rather than present a menu. Try their Gnocchi al Castagno for something really different. The 'tagliata' (fillet steak sliced onto rocket salad) is the best anywhere.

PIZZERIA ROMA in the main square. Good, very economical pizza. Also to take-away. Newly opened as a pizzeria.

There are several other restaurants in Bagnone, of varying quality and price.
For instance LA LINA in another square has good food. You have to ring the bell and be escorted upstairs.

Newly opened just beyond Mocrone is RISTORANTE ENRICA

LA FRINGUELLA – Scorcetoli.
On the road from Villafranca to Pontremoli, turn right over the level crossing opposite La Pantera Rosa (also a restaurant). It is at the back behind the bar which is beside the railway. It only serves lunch, for €10 all in. Excellent meat. Good value.

RISTORANTE ROLANDO - Barbarasco Tel 477371
Take main road from Aulla towards Pontremoli. After about a km there is Terrarossa castle on the right. Turn left through Terrarossa. Afterthe level crossing you will reach a crossroad, follow the signposts for BARBARASCO, CERCO, RICCO, TRESANA. You will pass a bridge and at the end of it follow again the signpost for TRESANA going straight on. After a km you will arrive in Barbarasco. Rolando is the first restaurant on the left hand side after approx 100 metres. Expensive by Lunigiana standards, but excellent.

L’ANTICO FORNO - Villafranca.
Near the post Office. Fried antipasti. Beautiful meat dishes. Good choice of wines.


In the main piazza as you drive through. Try their Panigacci, in front of the roaring fire.. Quite dear for Lunigiana, but always excellent.

Podenzana is famous for its Panigacci – thick pancakes cooked in the fire, served with creamy Stracchino cheese and cold meats. Gavrino d’Oro, in the village, and Il Gambin, up on top of the hill, are both excellent.


On a corner on the way into the town. Specializes in cheeses from all over Italy. €10 lunch.

Turn left at Il Convento and go over the river bridge. Turn left at the junction and go on till you go uner a bridge. Turn immediately right (before the motorway entrance). Carry on up and up, following the signs. Superb, home-grown food is served. Rooms and a pool. Closed Wednesday.
TRATTORIA DA RENATO - Guinadi (Pontremoli) Tel 834715
Leaving Pontremoli, head towards the village of Casa Corvi, carry on through following signs for Guinadi about 7 Km. On entering Guinadi leave car outside post office and walk up approx 200 metres. Renato is on your left hand side.

TRATTORIA DA PELLICCIA - Pontremoli, Via Garibaldi Tel 830577 Stay on main road passing Pontremoli up to level crossing Porta Parma. Leave car here. Walk through arch on the left hand side for approx 10 metres and the trattoria is on the left hand side. RISTORANTE CA DEL MORO - Pontremoli, Casa Corvi Tel 830588
Go into the centre of Pentremoli to Via Roma and turn right following signs to restaurant. Special menu. Old covered farmhouse. Romantic setting.

PIZZERIA/RISTORANTE SAN GIORGIO - Pontremoli Via P. Parma Tel 831543
Follow road towards hospital passing a level crossing in Pontremoli. San Giorgio is on right hand side after hospital.

TRATTORIA DA BUSSE - Pontremoli, Piazza Duomo Tel 831371
Park your car in the Piazza Duomo. Da Busse is next to the cathedral in the centre of the piazza in Pontremoli

Aullela & Lucido Valley

LA GLICINE D’ORO - Pallerone.
On the back road round Pallerone, above an empty warehouse unit on the light industrial estate! Lunch for €10 and good value in the evening as well. Live music at weekends.

Drive past the first turning to Solliera and you will see a sign to the Agriturismo Bardellino just before a bridge. Follow this to the left, up the hill and you will see a sign directing you in to the drive on the right. Good traditional Lunigianese cooking . Closed Mondays. Also rooms and a pool.

DA REMO - Monzone Tel 0585 - 97933
Doesn’t look much, but offers wonderful food at a good price. They do a wonderful ‘antipasto’ which keeps coming to the table. The pasta dishes are different from the usual Italian standard ones. If you want something for a main course the ‘tagliata’ at Da Remo is lovely. Rare beef which has been marinated and quickly grilled, served on a bed of Rucola.

AL VECCHIO TINO - Closed Wed +39 0585 97733
On a hill top near Mezzana above Monzone. Incredible views and some of the best food you'll find anywhere in Italy. Not easy to find. As you enter Mezzana, turn sharply left (there is a sign) and keep going.....

LUCIDO - Bivio de Aiola (between Monzone and Equi Terme)
Go through Monzone towards Equi Terme and you will find the restaurant at the fork standing on the edge of the river. Excellent food very popular on summer evenings.

PIZZERIA - Gragnola
There is a small pizzeria, which you will find by turning down the small alleyway half way up the high street. Follow the sign.

CASA FELICE - Equi Terme
Serves mainly seasonal dishes - funghi menu in the funghi season, cinghiale menu in the cinghiale season.. Interesting paintings on the walls.

LA POSTA - Equi Terme
Good local food.

The Coast

So many choose from. Try visiting Bocca di Magra and Montemarcello, both with wonderful restaurants.

Take road down into Portovenere and turn left at bottom of hill along sea front and away from the old part of the village. The restaurant is about 200 metres along the sea on the left hand side

RISTORANTE LA MEDUSA - Portovenere Tel 900603
Ristorante Medusa is set in the old lane (borgo) in the centre of the old part of the village running parallel to the sea promenade

LA PALOMBRA DA PIETRO - Le Grazie Tel 900019
Le Grazie is a little sea front town just before Portovenere. From main road go down into town centre and turn left. Follow road round to seafront La Palombra is on the right hand side.

These are just a selection of the restaurants available.
They are always changing and you should check for closing days especially if you are not in high season.
Check if they take credit cards - a large number take only cash.

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