Lunigiana is the undiscovered northernmost tip of Tuscany and lies between
the coastal province of Liguria to the west and the Apennine mountains to the
north-east. To the south-east the region is dominated by the peaks of the Parco
Alpi Apuane beyond which are the Renaisance Cities of Florence, Pisa and Lucca.
This is an area of outstanding natural beauty dotted with ancient hill-top
villagesand terraced olive groves. Not yet discovered by tourists the area
is economically poor but rich in other ways. Here the pace is slow, the food
and wine robust and the smiles as warm as the sunshine. Here the old-fashioned
courtesies are observed and the stranger made welcome.
Lunigiana is a veritable paradise for walkers, painters, photographers, and
those who simply enjoy the pleasures of life, and is full of natural curiosities
such as the caves near Equi Terme, site of the natural sulphur baths. There
are also castles, churches, monuments and whole villages built before Columbus
set sail for the New World. Names of once-mighty families such as the Medici
and Malaspina are commemorated by the fountains, piazzas and palaces they left
behind, and all of this is within an hour or so train ride or drive of their
more famous cousins to the south - Florence, Pisa and Lucca. And if that is
not enough there are festivals, street markets and palios a-plenty - often
in medieval costume.
The main town in the area is Aulla from which the Taverone and Aulella valleys
radiate, the hillsides of which are covered with chestnut woods and high meadows.
At the end of the Taverone valley the Lagestrello pass marks the route through
into Parma Province, the source of the River Taverone and the end of the Crenale
mountain ridge. Leading more directly east from Aulla the old Lucca road runs
along the Aulella valley, through Casola and on into the Parco Alpi Apuane
before turning south along the old pilgrim road to Lucca.
Bordering Lunigiana to the west, past La Spezia and the famous pretty fishing
villages of The Cinque Terre is the province of Liguria, with its sandy beaches
and pleasant climate.