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We trust that this may help you to find your way around Lunigiana and to explore its villages and hill walks enjoying the simple unspoilt atmosphere of its countryside and eating places, or to make the occasional foray to one of the beautiful beaches on the nearby coast.

Here in Lunigiana you will experience a very relaxed tempo of a century or two ago - calm and unhurried - but the reverse side of the coin may mean tolerating power cuts during the occasional thunderstorms, or the simultaneous use of immersion heater and other electrical machinery may cause the overload switch to trip! Cocks crow, church bells ring, and chainsaws buzz preparing the wood for winter.

Many of the ‘Borgos’, old hill villages, are worth a visit. Try just wandering through the village streets, saying buongiorno or buona sera to the people sitting around on chairs or doorsteps chatting in the sunshine. If you attempt a few words of Italian, they will always be pleased, and many of the youngsters will want to practise their English. Tavernelle, Crespiano, Virgoletta, Prota, Camporaghena, Bastia and Varano and all typical examples of traditional Lunigiana villages.
The rhythm of the seasons still rules here. Tomatoes are 'passed' through sieves in the summer to make 'passata' for the year, the barrels are left to soak and swell in the street ready for the year's vintage (an less attractively, the lees are often thrown into the gutter after the wine-pressing, causing a strong wine/vinegar smell and small fruit flies to fill the streets).

In their time the olives and the chestnuts are harvested and processed in the 'cantine' beneath the village houses.

Funghi hunting is an obsession. Tens of kilos are collected by each family each year. The places where they are found are closely guarded secrets, though you have to have a licence to collect them. There is even a 'funghi' machine in one bar instead of a fruit machine!


Swimming pools
Phones, PO's, Banks
The Coast
Places to visit
Local Food

Bagnone, 'the jewel of Lunigiana', is a quaint old arcaded market town with a river tumbling over rocks in the gorge below. Above, the ancient castle looks down over everything. There are several bars, restaurants and useful shops, including the oldest pharmacy in Europe - still trading!

The old quarter of the town dates back to the mediaeval times and was originally built along the Roman Way, the old route connecting France to Rome. The Ethnographic museum is well worth a visit, showing how life was lived in Lunigiana until very recently, illustrating the various aspects of agricultural and pastoral life. It is picturesquely set in the old mill of Villafranca next to the bridge in the centre of the town. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Some of the exhibits look just like what you may see in the street at certain times of the year. Nothing changes very fast in Lunigiana! The remains of Malnido castle are still imposing and picturesque, the castle unfortunately having been destroyed by the British in the war!.
Saint Francis' church has two outstanding terracottas by the Delia Robbia school and in the town you will find antique shops selling all sorts of bric-a-brac, old furniture, prints and ancient books.

Filetto is the most original and interesting village in Lunigiana. Unlike all the other villages and small towns, it is a squarre walled town, having been originally a Roman 'castra'.
The the elegant loggia in the middle of the main street and the Marquis' palace and the Fatebenefratelli Convent are all of great interest.
Just outside the village lies one of the oldest chestnut woods in the region (a relic of a more extended forest). This was where many of the mysterious carved stone images, now in Pontremoli museum, were found.
A big fair takes place every year on the 25th of August, near the chapel and spreads all around in the forest. Every year in summer, Filetto hosts the "Mediaeval Market". The narrow alleys and the secluded squares of the village become full of merchants in mediaeval costumes, shops are opened selling all sorts of handicrafts and restaurants serve traditional foods. In the main street there is also a Pottery Workshop, where courses of pottery, ceramic art and decoration are held throughout the year.

The old village of Malgrate, with its mediaeval castle, stands on a hill overlooking the Bagnone valley, from which one can have a magnificent view of this part of Lunigiana. The village and castle are of outstanding historical and environmental interest. Today the two elements, village and castle are strictly connected to form a unique and attractive setting. There is an excellent restaurant hidden behind the bar in the car park.

This village developed along the main street on a spur of solid rock with the church and the piazza at one end and the castle at the other, where the archbishop of Canterbury stayed in the 10th century on his way to Rome. Along the main street you will find doors, windows and other fine examples of mediaeval decoration. The castle has an elegant courtyard with an attractive double staircase. Virgoletta was a stop on the Via Francigena – the route from Canterbury to Rome.

Irola, Mocrone, Merizzo, Fornoli are smaller villages with an interesting history of their own. Near Fornoli, there is the ancient church of Groppofosco where a big religious festival is held every year on August 15th. Nearby are the remains of an old ‘hospital’ used by the pilgrims during the Middle Ages.

Through EQUI TERME flows 120 litres of sulphurous water per second creating a thermal resort renowned since ancient times. Equi Terme spa has now been reopened and offers many different treatments and a wonderful outdoor bathing pool. Several restaurants are to be found there.

Just out of Equi Terme, along a path, the mountain opens up into a cave called ' La Buca' - the mouth. It is a large cavern with a lake and stalactites where Paleolithic and neolithic remains have been found.
The new caves of Equi Terme are full of stalactites and stalagmites in a large variety of colours from dazzling white to basaltic black. The largest cave is over 80 metres high.

Driving or walking around Lunigiana you will discover its rich natural beauty and the character of one of the loveliest parts of Italy, set like a green jewel in a triangle between the glistening sea, the mighty Apennines and the soaring Apuan Alps.

Over the ages people and armies have passed through or settled in Lunigiana, each contributing to its complex defence system. Lunigiana is known as 'Land of the Hundred Castles'. Many are still standing others have been ruined by time. Many castles were built by the Marquis of Malaspina, though they stretch through times from the remains of Bronze age constructions to bastions of the 17* Century.

Many are privately owned (Bastia, Monti and Fivizzano). Some have become properties of the state (Comano Castle dominated by a cylindrical tower, Aulla and Pontremoli)
The Fortezza della Brunella (16th Century) above Aulla is worth a visit. It is set in a beautiful holm-oak park and has undergone intense restoration works. It was bought in 1903 by the British Consul who lived there with his family and later his children used it as a summer retreat. (see 'A Tuscan Childhood' by Kinta Beevor).

In Pontremoli Castle (closed Mondays) is the Stele museum. These prehistoric stone statues have been found in large numbers in this part of Lunigiana. They stare out at you from the past in a most impressive manner.

There are Romanesque churches, called 'Pieve' at Crespiano, Monti, Sorano, Codiponte.. Also worth seeing is the beautiful church at Licciana (connected to the castle by a bridge), and the lovely Santuario della Madonna di Loreto between Licciana and Panicale.

Note that some footpaths may have become overgrown or re-routed. Walking maps can be obtained from the map shop in Licciana-Nardi. You will find it in the village on the left hand side of the main road from Aulla to Licciana. Although we hear that not all the walks turn out as set down!. Prepare to be flexible, always take water with you and wear appropriate shoes.

There are many possibilities for anyone who wants to go walking in and around the Taverone valley. The country is a spider's web of paths and mule tracks. Every village has paths leading out to surrounding meadows and woods or on to the next village.
We have selected a few of these walks.
• Baccana to Bastia: Through the countryside by way of the hill tops
• Maesta (Licciana/Tavernelle/Comano fork) to Varano. Short but practical for getting from or to Varano without having to follow the road all the way round.
• Ripola to Apella. Glorious countryside.
• Tavernelle to Cattognano. Over an old humpback bridge and past the ruins of an old mill (start opposite Capriolo Bar in Tavernelle). A pretty walk through the woods.
• Prota to Groppo San Pietro. A very pretty walk connecting two villages high in the mountains.
• Amola to Panicale. Take the track towards Molesana
These are but a few suggestions. There really are hundreds of little paths leading from the villages through woods amidst spectacular scenery. Be adventurous and let us know your favourites. We ask you to respect the countryside and refrain from picking fruit and vegetables from the land, as it is the villager's livelihood.

For the more adventurous there are some splendid mountain excursions, especially up to and on the Tuscan/Emilian Apennine ridge. For these go by car to the Passo del Lagastrello or to Comporaghena (above Comano)

During the summer months and on a nice day you will only need light clothes and walking shoes or trainers, but it would be sensible to carry a sweatshirt or jumper in case the wind gets up. It is also cooler at 1800 metres altitude. Do take water with you and something to eat - not salty food!

CAMPORAGHENA is a small village above Comano. During the war many escaped British prisoners hid in the mountains above Camporaghena. One day the German soldiers approached to capture the British. The parish priest rang the church bells to warn the soldiers in hiding and they consequently made their escape. The priest was shot dead in front of his church by the Germans. There is a plaque to his memory at the front of the church. Camporaghena is divided into two parts: Top and bottom. When driving into Camporaghena there is a hairpin bend - up is to the top part of the village and down the lane on the right hand side of the bend is the bottom part.

Camporaghena - Torsana: From the top of Camporaghena follow the red and white marks to Torsana, or from Torsana follow the signs to Passo del Cerreto.

Camporaghena - Sassalbo: There are paths both from the top and bottom parts of Camporagheno marked Sassalbo

Camporaghena - Monte Marinella: From the bottom of Camporaghena go straight through the village and follow the red and white signs to Monte Marinella.

Camporaghena - Passo del Cerreto: Take the path to Sassalbo from where you follow the sign to Passo del Cerreto.

Torsana is perched above Comano in the other valley. Torsana- Punta Buffanara: Red and white painted marks indicate this path lading way up to one of the highest peaks of the Apennines (1878 metres) About 5.1/2 hours return not counting rests

Torsana- Passo del Cerreto: The patch down to the right marked Passo del Cerreto leads to Camporaghena and on to Cerreto through Sassalbo

LAGASTRELLO is the old pass connecting Liguria and the North of Tuscany to Parma. If you drive to Lagastrello either from Comano or Tavernelle, at the top you will pass the Lake Paduli on your right.
At the end of the lake there is a bridge on your right and at the other side of the bridge a map of the marked Apennine walks reproduced by the Italian Alpine Club.

There are some beautiful drives in the Apennines. One we highly recommend starts at the Passo del Lagastrello which you can reach either by following the road from Tavernelle or by the more picturesque but sinuous road from Comano. This drive takes you right to the Apennines and is extremely picturesque.

Follow the signs: Rigoso, Monchio delle Corte, Passo del Tiocchiano, Corniglio, Bosco Lagdei, Lago Santo, Lagdei, I Lagoni, Valditacca (one report was the road was poor here), Trefiumi, Rigoso, Passo del Lagastrello.

From Lag’dei, which is a wild life park surrounded by lovely pine woods, you can take the chair lift up and back to the beautiful Lago Santo. After Lagdei turn right at the Cancelli Foresta Parma (the park exit) towards Lagoni, two interconnecting lakes, Lake Santo and the Lagoni are both set in a particularly beautiful place.

The whole drive is approximately 70 Kms and takes about 3.1/2 hrs not counting stops and the chairlift. There are some superb places to picnic or if preferred try a little Trattoria in one of the villages on the way.

Licciana- Fivizzano: Take the road from Licciana signposted Fivizzano. Follow the road up going straight on at fork signposted Fivizzano and then towards Agnino. This road is very winding and passes the most magnificent scenery backed by the majestic peaks of the Apennines. This drive is approximately half an hour and a picturesque way of getting to Fivizzano.

Licciana - Bagnone - Filetto: From Licciana take road to Panicale. Pass Panicale and on to Villa di Panicale, Lusana and Gabbiana. Keep on the same road, which eventually arrives in Bagnone. Bagnone, a truly splendid town, is set on the river and a marvellous place to potter about. Take the old lane to the Ponte Vecchio and view Bagnone from the other side with almost every window trailing with geraniums. From Bagnone follow road over bridge through the old part of the village and out the other side. Filetto is approximately 5 minutes drive further on. An intriguing village built in a square maze pattern and has a marvellous house bridge crossing the main road.


Follow the Fivizzano road out of Aulla, but turn off up to Casola. Carry on, and on, with stupendous views all the way through Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Barga, Borgo al Mozzano, and down into Lucca. You can also make a detour to Bagni di Lucca, where Byron and Shelley lived for a while. Not the quickest way to Lucca, but one of the most scenic routes in Italy. You can return on the autostrada, if you prefer.

There is also a train that does this journey – this way the driver sees the views as well! You can catch it in Aulla, Gragnola or Monzone.



The West side of the Gulf of Spezia

From La Spezia take the scenic road to Portovenere. The first part of the road is unfortunately not so beautiful as it over looks the docks and the military base.

The first village you come to is Le Grazie, which is set in a lovely natural harbour. Here, well worth a visit, is the Convent of the Olivetari which has some lovely frescoes.

The next village on is Portovenere. It is an enchanting old town with tall beautiful pastel coloured houses lining the sea front. It has a wealth of interesting lanes and alleyways. Along the front all the colourful fishing boats bob in the sea and in the evening all the nets are laid out along the promenade. There are many pretty little boutiques and stalls selling various artwork and clothes and many good fish restaurants. You can visit the castle and the old church of San Lorenzo built in 1130. At the very top end of the village and surrounded on three sides by the sea is the church of San Pietro built in 1277 on foundations dating from the 6Ih Century, offering magnificent coastal views.

You may want to take a boat to the islands of Palmaria and Tino, where you can visit the remains of a monastery. There are guided boat trips around islands from Portovenere.

The East Side of the Gulf of La Spezia - SAN TERENZO

This charming multi-coloured fishing village was discovered in the 18th Century by Shelley and Byron. It is dominated by the Castle on the East side and has a natural harbour with a good sandy beach along the front backed by a colourful cluster of houses.

Shelley lived in the Villa Magni situated along the front. It is a low arched building, now a museum housing preserved mementoes of his stay. Shelley was tragically killed, at the age of 26, when his boat capsized in the bay during a storm. His friends burned his body on the beach.

In the mornings you can buy fish off the wooden carts as they are loaded off the fishing boats.

Further along the coast is Lerici, another picturesque coastal village dominated by its ancient castle. Lerici, once a Roman Naval base, now boasts a chic selection of boutiques and restaurants. The village is a series of stone flagged alleys lined with pastel coloured houses and has many interesting old shops. Take an evening stroll along the promenade or stop in one of the many seaside bars to watch the world go by.

During the middle ages it was the site of many disputes arising between Pisa and Geneva who fought over their rights to the sea. Lerici is halfway between these two cities so the village itself was also contended over. In 1200 Pisa won and built the castle and, clustered around it, a walled village on the site of the now picturesque port of Lerici. In 1265 Lerici was lost to Genoa who extended the castle, which is Lerici's most important monument

Lerici is still a fishing village and you can watch the fishermen at work along the quay. In the mornings you can buy fish off the wooden carts as they are loaded off the fishing boats.

You can no longer drive into Lerici in season. You park in one of the two large car parks that you will be directed into, and walk from there.


D.H.Lawrence sailed across to his house here on a fishing boat, complete with his trunk of books and a piano!

Further down the coast are the villages or Tellaro and Fiascherino. where D. H. Lawrence once lived.
Tellaro is the last village of the Gulf of the Poets and is situated on a little rocky peninsula. In the middle is a lovely square surrounded by colourful, green shuttered houses which were part of the old walled village.
Down from the square is a little landing place protected by a breakwater showering beads of spray over the houses. This scene has been painted by many local artists.


These enchanting old fishing villages were and still are the homes of those who fish and work the land and the vines. Some of the houses along the Cinque Terre are still only accessible by boat. You can taste their wines and perhaps some acciughe (anchovies) in the true Cinque Terre style.

The Cinque Terre are five villages strung along the coast behind La Spezia now linked by train. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. These enchanting old fishing villages were and still are the homes of those who fish and work the land and the vines.

The Cinque Terre produce wine for which they are renowned since ancient times such as the 'Biancho Nero', 'Sciacchetra', Red and white dry wine from Levanto, Bonassola and Framura further north. Steep terraced vineyards look like stairs plunging down to the coves and little beaches where you can swim.

The area is dotted with churches and sanctuaries of a bygone era. The churches are in the villages and the sanctuaries are in breathtaking position on the hills. The villages themselves face the sea either at the bottom of the hills (Riomaggiore, Manarola. Vernazza and Monterosso) or like Corniglia at the very top. The villages are made up of tiny lanes leading to the village squares, ports and coves. The structure and setting of the villages have a rustic beauty difficult to beat. Some of the houses along the Cinque Terre are still only accessible by boat and the road only goes as far as Manarola and from then on it is in a bad state of order. Here you can taste their wines and perhaps some acciughe (anchovies) in the true Cinque Terre style.

From Corniglia you can enjoy an incomparable vista of the Cinque Terre. Corniglia and Monterosso have long beaches, while in the other villages you can swim off the rocks.

How to get there:

By car: From La Spezia take road sign posted to the Cinque terre to Riomaggiore and then you can walk along the famous Strada dell Amore to the next village Manarola (15-20 Minutes) and then on to the next villages. The Strada dell Amore is cut out of the rock leading along the cliff edge and has spectacular views.

By train: The trains run about every hour from La Spezia to each of the five villages.

You may want to stop and take a dip in one of the many coves along the way or taste the Cinque Terre wine (Sciacchetra) or perhaps just climb up to the terraced vineyards above and have a look at the marvellous sea views. The walk from Riomaggiore to Monterosso is about 20 Kms. It can be very hot along the coast so do take plenty of water with you to quench your thirst if you intend to do the whole walk.


Along the Versilia Coast, stretching from Marinella di Sarzana to Viaraggio there are many beaches, some private requiring a daily entrance fee and some public and so free of charge. Prices along this stretch of coast may vary enormously depending on the area and equipment. Some of the beaches are equipped with sport including water skiing, wind surfing and paragliding.

Or you may prefer the coves at Fiascherino. Behind Lerici castle there is a small creek or, on the other side of Lerici, there is a lido, and further along (at Venere Azzurra) there is a public beach with optional rental of deck chairs and/or parasols. Water sports available peak season.

On the other side of La Spezia lie the lovely Cinque Terre. The very last of these villages, Monterosso boasts a long sandy beach. There are both public and private sections.

N.B. If taking your car to the coast please ensure that it is left in an official car parking spot. White car space lines signify free parking whilst blue indicate a tariff has to be paid. These tariffs vary from resort to resort and will either be staffed by traffic wardens or by a pay and display system. Several free parking Zones have time limits and require that you display your arrival time on the front dashboard (disco Zona 1 Ora) Parking in any other areas could mean the towing away of your car and a heavy fine



The country is a spider's web of paths and mule tracks. Every village has paths leading out to surrounding meadows and woods or on to the next village.

For the more adventurous there are some splendid mountain excursions, especially up to and on the Tuscan/Emilian Apennine ridge.

Bagnone, a truly splendid town, is set on the river and a marvellous place to potter about. Take the old lane to the Ponte Vecchio and view Bagnone from the other side with almost every window trailing with geraniums.

Leisurely drives through the mountains to Barga, Lucca and Bagni di Lucca will afford you some spectacular scenery, but the coast drives are equally beautiful.

You will certainly want to spend some time exploring the morning markets in Lunigiana mountain villages. Each morning a traditional market is held in a different village.

Festas celebrating the local churches' patrons take place throughout the summer months. These candlelight processions are followed by traditional songs and dances and, or course, a hearty offering of local delicacies.

At Villafranca there is a beautiful Olympic sized swimming pool set in a pine grove. It usually opens during June, depending on the weather and stays open until September. There is a pizzeria, a bar for snacks and a baby pool.
Tennis court available.  Tel No. 0187 493112

Vallee della Luna, Outdoor pool at 5 euros a head for the day. Great restaurant for lunch.

Between Aulla and Fivizzano, there is a complex of two public outdoor swimming pools which can be seen from the road (main pool has a water chute. It is about 10 KM from Aulla).
Tel No 0585 99300

Equi Terme
There is a large thermal pool open to the public in high season. Situated by the Hotel Equi Terme. There are several restaurants in Equi Terme. You can also visit the nearby caves.

Take the little lane going inland to Venere Azzura. There is a pool and parking at the end of the lane. Please check locally for opening times to pool. This pool can get crowded.

Licciana-Nardi - Bar Piero. There is one tennis court in Licciana next to the school, which can be seen from the main road. Payment and booking should be made at the Bar Piero next to the court.
Villafranca - At the side of the swimming pool, which is signposted off the main road there are two tennis courts. Booking is advisable. Tel 494100
Comano - Bar Albergo Miramonti. There is one tennis court in Comano. Payment should be made at the Bar Miramonti in Via Roma No51.

Calling the UK from an Italian phone, dial 0044 followed by the full UK Area Code but omitting the '0' then the number required.
Calling Italy from an UK mobile, or from UK, you do not omit the '0' from a land-line area code. But Italian mobile numbers never have a ‘0’.

Post offices are available in Aulla - La Spezia - Licciana Nardi - Crespiano - Tavernelle - Comano -Pallerone- Serricciolo - Rometta - Gassano - Fivizzano - Gragnola - Monzone - Equiterme - Codiponte - Casola - Villafranca - Bagnone - Filattiera - Pontremoli - Guinadi - Lerici - San Terenzo - La Serra -Portovenere.
The Post office in Aulla is open from 0830 to 1830 (Mon-Fri) and from 0830-1200 hours (Sats).
The main post offices in La Spezia (Piazza Verdi) and in Sarzana (Via Landinelli) have the same hours.
Other village post offices are usually open from 0830-13.30 (Mon-Fri) and from 0830-12020 (Sats)
Please check for latest rates when buying a stamp (francobollo)

Banks are normally open from 0830-13.30hrs and in the afternoon from 14.30 to 15.30 or sometimes may keep later hours. They will cash Travellers cheques, take credit cards and change money. Please have your passport with you as a form of identification. Bancomat machines can be found in most towns and villages of any size. Many have an option to have instructions in English.
Cassa di Rispiarmo di Pistoia e della Lucchesia, Strada Statale del Cerreto, Tel 0187 420290
Casa di Risparmio della Spezia, 1 Via Aulella. Tel 420206
Casa di Risparmio di Firenze, 9/10 P. Mazzini Tel 408200
Casa di Risparmio di Carrara, P. Gramsci Tel 400297
Casa di Risparmio di Firenze, 56 Via della Republica. Tel 429020 (Morning only)
Casa di Risparmio della Spezia, 156 Via Roma. Tel 0585 92013/92254
Casa di Risparmio della Spezia, 14 Via Roma. Tel 474045
Casa di Risparmio di Carrara, 2 Via Giarella. Tel 471277 (Morning only)
Casola Lunigiana
Casa di Risparmio di Carrara, 84 P. della Torre. Tel 0585 90037
Casa di Risparmio di Carrara, P. della Republica. Tel 830297
Casa di Risparmio di Firenze, la Via Ricci Armani. Tel 830061
This list is not exhaustive. You will find many villages such as Monzone and Gragnola with small banks. They may be open in the mornings only. You may also find exchange bureaux in larger busy towns.

Bus tickets must be bought at appointed bars (displaying CAT bus sign) before boarding the bus. Bus tickets are not available on the bus. Tickets must be punched in the machine at the entrance to the bus or if there is not an automatic puncher they must be presented to the driver.
When buying your ticket, state your destination and whether a single (andate) or return journey is required (andate e ritorno).
Children up to 7 years old are free. Children over this age pay normal fare.
See elsewhere in this folder for timetables if we have been able to ascertain them for this season.

Any rubbish should be put in sealed plastic bags and placed into the nearest rubbish bins beside the road. There is a variety of different coloured bin now for different types of rubbish to allow recycling.
They are regularly emptied by the comune on set days of the week.

You will find a wide variety of goods in Lunigiana which are of good quality and reasonably priced. As a general rule shops are open from 0900 - 13.00 and from 16.00 - 20.00. The grocery shops (alimentari) are usually closed on Wednesday afternoons (Thursday afternoons in La Spezia area). The other kinds of shops are often closed on Monday mornings. It is best to check so that you do not get caught without essential provisions. Shops are also closed on public holidays or local festa days.
Most little villages have grocery shops (alimentari) but the choice will be limited. For a wider choice it is best to go to one of the larger supermarkets or shops in Aulla.
On main road coming out of Aulla towards Villa Franca and Pontremoli (not autostrada). About half a mile after passing under the railway bridge you will see on right hand side of the road the entrance down a steep slope into CONAD car park. Large supermarket. (Closed Mondays AM)
Near the exit of the Motorway (autostrada) Aulla. Here it is possible to find many different kinds of food at cheaper prices. NB Pennymarket doesn’t take cards.
Take main road from Aulla to Villafranca (not autostrada). This is a Spesafacile supermarket and is on left hand side as you enter Villafranca. Going through the town, just past the second petrol station, there is a CONAD on the left. Further up the road there is Eurospin
IPERCOOP Hypermarket- Before Sarzana
Take main road from Aulla to Sarzana - La Spezia (not autostrada), passing through Santo Stefano continue ignoring autostrada signs. Shortly after going over a railway bridge you will see IPERCOOP on your left however you must turn right off the road and under the tunnel under the road to find the car park. Most villages are served by travelling shops. These arrive on various days of the week selling vegetables, groceries and fresh fish. Please check locally for days of service.

Listed below are the markets in the area
MONDAY MORNINGS * Carrara & Bagnone
TUESDAY MORNINGS * Massa & Fivizzano
WEDNESDAY MORNINGS * Forte dei Marmi & Pontremoli
THURSDAY MORNINGS * Marina di Carrara
ALL DAY * Sarzana
SATURDAY MORNINGS * Aulla, Pontremoli & Lerici
Sarzana and La Spezia are the biggest markets and you will find virtually everything from cheese to leather shoes. Visit the market in Sarzana and combine it with a visit to this old picturesque town. Lerici is for everything but food and is set along the colourful sea front. The vegetable part is on the one way hill going out of Lerici (before the church). Aulla is a good size market and worth a visit for the weeks shopping on Saturday morning.
In addition to the market in La Spezia on Fridays there is a large covered fresh fish and vegetable market (ex Sundays) and it is very colourful.
Check the local billboards for special markets which tend to be quite large and selling anything.

Your E111 Form should be validated by the USL office (Unitá Sanitaria Locale)
Aulla - Piazza XXV Aprile. Tel 0187 420004
La Spezia- Via Fazio30. Tel 0187 737051/738315
Pontremoli - Piazza Italia. Tel 0187 830663
Fivizzano- Via S. Francesco. Tel 0585 9401

Aulla - Sanatrix, 1 Viale Rimembranza. Tel 0187 421730 Fivizzano - S. Antonio Abate, Salita S. Francesco. Tel 0585 9401 La Spezzia - S. Andrea, ViaVeneta 197. Tel 0187 533111 Massa - SS Giacomo e Christoforo, Via Sottomonte. Tel 0585 4931 Pontremoli- Via Nazionale. Tel 0187 462111 Sarzana - S. Bartolomeo. Tel 0187 62311

As a rule chemists are open from 0830 to 1230 and from 1600 to 1900. They are closed on Sundays and some on Saturday afternoons but will display a notice advising the nearest open chemist in case of emergency. Some chemists speak a little English.
Aulla - 43, Via Nazionale.
Bagnone - 42 Via della Republica.
Casola in Lunigiana - Via Stazione.
Comano - 67 Via Roma.
Fivizzano - 107 Via Roma.
Monti – on the corner of the piazza, near the petrol station.
Pallerone - 198b Via Nazionale.
Pontremoli - Piazza Italia. 8
Serriciolo - 12 Via E. Fermi.
Terrarossa - 50 Via Nazionale.
Lerici - Via Roma (Corner of Via Gerini)
San Terenzo - Via Mantegazza. 1

There is a mass in Licciana Nardi on Sundays at 1100 hrs. Mass is also held in Panicale, Varano Tavernelle, Bastia, Pontremoli, Guinadi and other villages. It is best to check times of masses locally.
The Coast:
Lerici - Chiesa di San Francesco d' Assisi, 3 Via Matteotti. Sunday mass 0800, 0930 1030 and 1200
San Terenzo - Chiesa di S. Maria Assunta, 4 Via Matteotti. Sunday mass 0800, 1000 and 1115


Parma is a prosperous and industrial city but still retains an artistic quality with its quiet old streets and squares providing a lovely setting for concerts in the Summer. It is also traditionally associated with ham and Parmesan Cheese (Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano).

Places to see: Piazza Duomo with its cathedral built in Romanesque style. Piazza Garibaldi: with pavement cafes surrounded by find 17th century municipal buildings, Palazzo delta Pilotta - containing two museums with a superb collection of paintings, among them masterpieces by Correggio.

Bologna, capital of Emiglia-Romagna, is the gastronomic centre of Italy. This handsome old town, built mostly of brick is traditionally a centre of learning. It has Europe's oldest university where the first lessons in human anatomy were given. Bologna is also the birthplace of Marconi, the inventor of wireless.

What to see: Start sightseeing at the very heart of the town. Piazza Maggiore and Piazza del Nettuno. Pleasant pavement cafes line the arcaded Piazza Maggiore providing a splendid vantage point for observing the Bolognesi and their city. Across the piazza you will see the enormous basilica of San Petronio, built in 1930 and never finished. The nearby Piazza del Nettuno is famous for its fountain with the magnificent statue of Neptune known as ''II Gigante", by Giambologna, one of Italy's leading sculptors.

The best view of the city is certainly from the Torre degli Asinelli 320 feet up! Also the adjacent Torre Garisenda 150 feet up! During the 12th and 13th Centuries there were some 200 towers erected in Bologna by the Comune. Today these are the only two remaining and have become city landmarks. Torre degli Asinelli leans about 3 feet off-centre and the shorter Torre Garisenda tilts 10 feet in the other direction and figures in Dante's inferno. Allow some time to wander around the porticoed streets where you will find excellent shops. Along the Via dell'Independenza you will find a variety of shops selling fashionable clothes and leather goods.

Genoa, Lucca (a wonderful walled city) and Bagni di Lucca are within an hour of Aulla by car.
Milan is abouttwo hours and Turin (Torino) about three.

The Italian Riviera, that stretch of the coast from La Spezia northwards to Genoa has world famous beaches and resorts.
Leisurely drives through the mountains to Barga, Lucca and Bagni di Lucca will afford you some spectacular scenery, but the coast drives are equally beautiful. You will certainly want to spend some time exploring the morning markets in Lunigiana mountain villages. Each morning a traditional market is held in a different village.

Festas celebrating the local churches' patrons take place throughout the summer months. These candlelight processions are followed by traditional songs and dances and, or course, a hearty offering of local delicacies.

A trip via the back roads from Aulla to Carrara will acquaint you with some wonderful scenery and remind you that these mountains are haunted by the memory of Michelangelo. Carrara means marble and Michelangelo thought of marble quarrying as an art just as serious as the actual shaping of the stone. You will find a trip to the most famous marble quarries fascinating.

The rivers and streams in Carrara run white with the dust from the quarries, some of which have been active since Roman times. There are many quarries open to the public. It is possible to drive to several (follow signs in the town). There are several related exhibits in town including the Museo del Marmo.

Not far away, is the great Marina di Carrara, the marble port from which the famous stone is shipped all over the world. Just to the north is the ancient Roman site of Luni, a colony built as a defence against the Ligurians and now an exciting archeological exploration.

No opera buff can visit the region without a trip to the shrine of the great master, Giacomo Puccini. All of his operas except his final one, Turandot, were written here. Puccini's villa is on the banks of the picture postcard lake and he, his wife and son are buried in the chapel next to the villa. These might be a lovely setting for a picnic lunch and lazy afternoon nap or one might explore the nearby resorts of Viareggio and Forte del Marmi.

There is an annual festival with performances of the Puccini Operas on a stage by the lake during July/August and well worth a visit.

Why not combine your holiday here in Lunigiana with a visit to Siena. It is a wonderful mellow old Italian walled city set amidst breathtaking countryside. It still retains a distinct mediaeval character. Every gateway in its thick battlement walls frames views of sunflowers, maize and vineyards. Within the walls are a jumble of narrow traffic free streets, well-preserved ancient Gothic buildings and artisan shops clustered around the imposing humbugstriped cathedral.

Painters have always flocked here, lured by the clarity of the light and, of course, the iron rich earth that they used to colour their oils.

Getting around: Siena is surrounded by car parks, from which you can ascend to the old city by escalator of lift. There are good bus services from the Piazza Domenica to nearby towns.

What to see: Piazza del Campo is the heart of Siena and one of the most beautiful squares in Europe- a paved, fan shaped basin.

The Cathedral -in the Piazza del Duomo - Its face is a surprisingly delicate sculpture of pinks, greens and golds. Of particular note are the beautiful marble floors, the Carrara marble pulpit and four statues by Michaelangelo.
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo - tucked around the corner from the cathedral and the home of Siena's most prized paintings: Duccio's Madonna di Maesta and Lorenzetti's Birth of the Virgin.

Torre di Mangia - in the Campo. 332 feet high, for beautiful views over the tiled rooftops.

Palazzo Publico - once a palace and now the town hall. The exterior sculptures tell the town's history. Look for Senius, the wolf who supposedly founded Siena. Inside is the City museum.

Pinacoteca Nazionale - Palazzo Buonsignori, via san Pietro, a huge collection of paintings.

Special events: 2 July and 16 August, the Palio horse race takes place. A handful of horsemen gallop bareback around the Campo three times - dangerously - whilst the town folk party. Not to be missed!

Pisa is about an hour by car from Aulla. If you arrived via Pisa, you may have seen its most famous monument, the leaning tower, from the air. Even if you did, the city which 900 years ago was known as the city of marvels is worth a day's exploration.

The great Cathedral complex of Pisa, the Field of Miracles, comprises the Duomo, the Baptistry and the leaning Tower. The baptistery is the largest of its kind in Italy.

The Campo dei Miracoli also includes two museums and a cloister. There is a festa on June 25th (Gioco del Ponte), which culminates in a giant tug of war over the Arno. As in all Italian cities, food is plentiful through not necessarily cheap. It is probably best to leave your car in the car park near the Campo dei Miracoli and walk.

Florence can be reached by train or car from Aulla. The train leaves at 6.27 AM, a disadvantage (Check the time). Parking in Florence is expensive and may be difficult. Cars are banned in the centre. The train station is centrally located and Florence is a wonderful city for walking. If you do drive, a good tip is to park up at Piazzale Michelangelo (form the Certosa exit on the A1) Parking here is free, though unguarded, and the view over Florence is stupendous.. You can easily walk down into the city, but check the number of the bus for your return – it’s a long haul back up.

June 24th is the feast of St John the Baptist, a traditional holiday in Florence. Also during three June weekends, the Calcio in Costume, a renaissance football game, takes place in the city.
A good guidebook will help you to make the most of a short visit to Florence. The city is very compact, has some good shopping streets and some fun markets in addition to more art than any city in Europe. Have an espresso at a table in the Piazza della Signoria. Or go to the Giubotto Rosso, in Piazza del Reppublica – a favourite haunt of artists, from the Futurists onwards. The walls are covered in their paintings.

After a brief tour of the Uffizi museum you can stroll across the Ponte Vecchio to the Pitti Palace, and the Boboli Gardens.

Before you return to your train or car, visit the market near the Duomo and rub the nose of the bronze cinghiale (the wild boar) and wish fervently to return to Florence!

You can book tickets for the Uffizi Gallery Museum by telephoning 055 294883. This means that you will not have to queue - go straight to the door and claim your ticket.


Lunigiana is a triangle of Tuscany, squeezed between Liguria and Emilia. For millenia it has been crossed by pilgrims and merchants. The result of these exchanges is noticeable in the architecture, language and, best of all, the 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 and filled with edible field grasses -leeks and spinach and the result nevertheless is always delicious.

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

Another speciality of Lunigiana is PANIGACCI. 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.

For pasta there are the famous TORTELLI OR TORTELLONI which are similar to ravioli but stuffed with ricotta (fresh goats cheese) and spinach and served with parmesan cheese, fresh sage and melted butter. 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 - "cepe " 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. 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.


CANELLONI Large cylindrical pasta stuffed and oven baked.
CROSTINI Slices of bread toasted or deep fried and covered with various toppings
FUNGHI Lunigiana delicacy - Wild mushrooms
GNOCCHI Oval shaped pasta made of potato dough and served with sage and butter.
LASAGNE Sheet pasta layered with meat sauce, white sauce and parmigiano cheese and baked in the oven
PANIGACCI A batter made of sheet flour, water and salt and baked over an open fire and served as crispy pancake. They are served with stracchino and cold meats. Look for restaurants specialising in Panigacci. It is a typical Lunigiana experience. You roll up your cold meats in the pancake as you do with chinese pancakes.
PAPPARDELLE Wide ribbon pasta usually served with hare sauce.
PENNE Cylindrical 'lined' pasta
PESTO Sauce made of fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic and grated goats cheese and frequently served with pasta and testaroli.
RAVIOLI Square pasta stuffed with vegetables, meat, ricotta cheese etc.
RISOTTO Rice cooked in stock until it is completely absorbed and flavoured in many ways including the famous Porcini funghi which is delicious.
TAGLIATELLE Very thin ribbon pasta
TESTAROLI A batter of wheat flour, water and salt, which is cooked in large cast iron pans with lids. They form a thick pancake which is then cut into small strips and boiled for a few minutes. Testaroli is usually served with pesto.
TORTA D'ERBA A light pastry case filled with wild grasses or vegetables and baked.
TORTELLI Similar to ravioli but larger and stuffed with ricotta (fresh goat's cheese) and spinach and sometimes served with Parmigiano cheese, fresh sage and melted butter

DATTERO DI MARE grows in the cracks of some sedimentary rocks. Divers catch them using a hammer and chisel to breach the rocks. They taste delicious.
MUSCOLI or COZZE are mussels. They are often: floured and fried, or cooked with garlic and parsley and tomatoes. This sauce is very good on spaghetti.
TARTUFFO DI MARE (sea truffle) is very much appreciated for its exquisite taste. It can be eaten with squeezed lemon as an hors d'oeuvre. They grow on the bottom of the sea and divers search them out in the sand.
ZAMPA DI VACCA tastes of musk. It is particularly difficult to find as it grows on rocks hidden by seaweed.
PATELLA is nother mollusc. When fried it is similar to the precious sea truffle.
Also worth a mention are the RICCIO (sea-urchin), the LUMACCHINE DI MARE, the OGLIERE or FIDELINI DI MARE that we call 'Biguete or Beleteghe - a kind of small fish that is delicious when floured and fried.

In Italy food is eaten in the following order
 ANTIPASTO - 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’, chiselshaped 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.
 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, especially in the Lunigiana countryside in the evenings. Italians usually eat out at lunchtime!
Beware of prices on the coast, which are much higher than in the Lunigiana area.
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.

There are rarely menus in Lunigiana so finding out what there is to eat is something of a challenge. Don’t worry about the price as nothing is expensive and if you drink their own jugs of wine, it doesn’t cost much.

Magra Valley

La Torre at Malgrate, a bar/restaurant in the car park, which has very good, freshly cooked food, at reasonable price. They do gnocchi di castagno (gnocchi made with chestnut flour) – a traditional Lunigianese dish that has almost disappeared. The Tagliata is the best around.
Nearby, at Mocrone, is Ristorante Gavarini Tel 493115, with an antipasto of meats and home-picked vegetables, as well as good meat courses. This has become the main restaurant of the area, and the prices reflect this, but still good value.
A bit further down the road is the newly opened Ristorante Enrica. Not tried it yet.
At Selva di Fileto, there is Al Pozzo – food variable in quality, but excellent pizza, And also La Madonna for good pizza and pasta dishes.
In Bagnone,Pizzeria Roma in the main piazza offers good pizzas at a very reasonable price.At La Lina, up towards the Carabinieri station you have to ring the bell to get in. La Bicchieraia has been taken over and may improve . At I Fondi you can lunch on a terrace beside the river, but in my experience, you pay much higher prices for smaller portions than elsewhere. Up in the hills behind Bagnone, is the Nuova Jera, set in the old village of Jera. Excellent cooking - just don't get the owner started talking about politics!
In Villafranca is the Antico Mulino, in the piazza by the post office. Its main courses are excellent and it has a selection of interesting wines.

Going towards Pontremoli, you will pass La Pantera Rosa at Scorcetoli. Good, home-cooked menu at a ridiculously low price (€9 all in). At lunchtime, if you go over the level crossing opposite, you will find La Fringuella. It looks like just a bar, but in the restaurant behind, you can get an excellent, home-cooked 2-course meal, with wine, water and coffee, again for €9.

As you enter Pontremoli, on the left corner is Il Convento. with an amazing board of special cheeses from farms all over Italy. People go for just that, a plate of salumieri, and a salad. Across the bridge and just past the motorway, you will see a sign to the Costa D’Orsola. The antipasto keeps coming, and the lamb is straight off the hillside.
In old Pontremoli, try Osteria della Bietola – excellent food. Just over the bridge into the new part, on the left, is a small, but very atmospheric pizzeria.

Last of all, in Podenzano, just up above Aulla, you can eat a meal of Panigacci – local thick pancakes cooked in an open fire, served with prociutto, salami and soft cheese. Gavrini d'Oro, in the village, and Il gambin, on the top of the hill are both good and atmospheric. Also very good is the Pasquino Hotel, in the middle of Aulla. The Taverone Valley

The Taverone Valley

Galletti - Crespiano Tel 0187 484257
Excellent food at a very good price. Popular for lunch and in the evening. Closed Wed. They make a Myrtle and a Wild Strawberry liqueur with the berries still in the bottle. Available at the bar.
Guido’s - Prota Tel 0187 484610
Open weekends, especially Sunday lunch, and other times by arrangement. Not obvious (no signs), but go in the little bar/shop on the left near the top of the hill, before the piazza. The restaurant is above. No written menu, but very good, freshly-made food. Tell them Hello Italy recommended you.
La Luna - Monti.  Trattoria with dinner dances Friday and Saturday for €15 per head.

, Monti 0187 471518 open 17:30 - 23:00 closed Wed, Good pizza, great fish.
Ristorante Venelia
- Monti From Licciana, go straight on at the petrol station in the piazza. It’s on the left after the kitchen shop. Newly opened, it serves some of the best and most interesting food in the area, and a reasonable price. Really excellent. Closed Wed.
Boccondivino – Pontebosio Another new restaurant, a bit more upmarket, reflected in the prices. Good food and lovely building, but lacksthe atmosphere of a good local trattoria like the others. 0187 471017
Montagna Verde, Apella 0187 421203 an old monastery, outdoor eating area, fantastic views, country cooking.

Il Capriolo
, Tavernelle 0187 425038 Good Pizzas at weekends, outdoor eating area, lovely borgo nearby for a stroll after eating.

The Aullela / Lucido Valley

Da Remo
in the middle of Monzone, doesn’t look much, but 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, Monte dei Bianchi, above Monzone Tel. 334 3430011. Virtually Michelin quality cooking in the heart of the country, and at Lunigiana prices. Amazing views.
By the river towards Equi Terme the is Il Lucido. A wonderful place to eat on a hot sunny day.
In Equi Terme there is La Posta, an old coaching inn, which serves especially nice pasta dishes.
Da Felice, just before, serves splendid food at a reasonable price. The menu is very seasonal.

On the road out from Aulla, in the light industrial estate behind Pallerone you will find the Glicine d’Oro – good food at a bargain price.
And above Solliera is Il Bardellino – an agriturismo that uses all it’s own ingredients.
Locanda Al Castello, Via Munte Tomba, Verrucola, Fivizzano 0585 90168  Lovely very old building next to the castle, have an open fire and do panigacci at weekends, very good meat dishes.

These are just a selection of the restaurants in the area. Most don’t have menus – they just tell you what they have, or ask you what you would like. They are all reasonable in price - some a bit more than others.

They are all very child friendly

Buon appetito

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. If you find good new restaurants leave a note in he house book for others to find.

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