Although it has been inhabited since prehistoric times, the Lunigiana area was developed during Medieval times. The subject of disputes between many powerful families, the House of the Malaspina ultimately reigned supreme. In spite of the numerous enemy incursions, they managed to retain their hold on the area. The many fortifications here were constructed to defend the Magra Valley, which was a thoroughfare of key commercial and strategic importance.
Discover the many villages and castles scattered throughout every corner of the valley. In even the smallest of villages, you will be struck by the hospitality of the people and the charm of the unspoilt surroundings.
The fortified villages that are huddled amongst the hills offer dishes handed down from generation to generation. Don't miss out on the "testaroli", similar to crêpes and made with water and flour. The dough is cooked on cast iron griddles, after which they are scalded in boiling water. Testaroli are excellent served with pesto or mushroom sauce. "Panigacci" are small focaccia breads cooked in special terracotta moulds directly in the flames, served with fresh cheeses and cured meats. The red wines go with these mouth-watering dishes, made using humble ingredients, to perfection.
From marine landscapes to valleys hidden by mountains and the Alps. The changing scenery of the Lunigiana is marked out by imposing castles built on isolated rocky outcrops, surrounded by vast expanses of forest. Following the windy roads so typical of this area, you will come across half-hidden ruins and villages in which time stands still. Along the length of the River Magra, inlets regularly appear, immersed in the midst of the unspoilt nature.
The story goes that this area conceals over 160 castles, some of which have been destroyed, whilst others are in perfect condition and are therefore better known. All are of extremely old origins and will weave their magical spell over you.
How to get there
By car, taking the La Spezia-Parma motorway, Aulla exit.