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Luniholidays The Fiera del Cucu The Fiera del Cucu with the Tower behind
Two of the local lads at the fiera Hand -made lacemaking alive and well Spinning a yarn the old-fashioned way  
Part of the medieval part of the village - Casola - LuniHolidays

Casola in Lunigiana

A mile down the hill from Vigneta is Casola - a small hill village of about 1,500 people located in the higher part of the Aulella river, on a terrace surrounded by the Aulella and the Tassinaro streams. The community lies between the Lunigiana and the Garfagnana, and also between the Apuane Mountains and the Apennines. An important resource for this region has always been agriculture, specialised in cereals and in the exploitation of large chestnut forests. The area around Casola is still undeveloped and is superb walking country with stunning views over the surrounding valleys.

The first settlements date from the Bronze Age when small villages were inhabited by tribes of Ligurian stock . During the Iron Age these villages grew and agriculture became more extensive. The famous Statue Stele, mysterious stone statues representing stylized human bodies, come from this period. Not until the late Middle Ages did Casola develop as a little town and, to its misfortune, it attracted the interest of the surrounding towns. Casola has been little modified since the XV century; it still retains its characteristic fan shape, which starts from the tower and widens downhill towards the valley. Two doors, the Porta Soprana (Higher Door) and Porta Sottana (Lower Door) delimit the old town, while the tower is Casola's hub and symbol. The tower was erected in the Middle Ages; it was part of a stronghold and later, in 1745, was transformed in a bell tower. Palazzo Lombardelli, an elegant Renaissance palace, was built in 1544 by the Lombardelli family, one of the richest and most powerful in the region.

Today Casola is a small friendly place with a selection of shops including an excellent butcher and greengrocer, a bank, bar, and even a small petrol station and post office. There is a small (very small) market on Friday - not the one in the pictures which is the Fiera del Cucu. For more information click here. About a mile beyond Casola is little Pieve San Lorenzo where there is a train station for direct trains to Lucca and Pisa. There is also a good restaurant, Il Borghetto, whose owner speaks good English.

The area around Casola is wonderful unspoiled countryside with high chestnut-covered hills dotted with ancient villages. A significant portion of the region belongs to the Apuane Park and is characterised by untouched countryside and green hills. Many paths cross this region, leading to little villages and ancient ruined castles; among these latter, the Malaspina castle and the Groppo San Pietro castle.

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