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Discover the hidden Tuscany: a delightfully unspoiled area known as the "Valley of the 100 castles". It's just impossible not to be enchanted by the medieval hilltop towns, castles and fortified villages, while watching history unfold before your eyes. Lunigiana is a mountainous region dissected by the Magra river, an area which runs from the Apennines to the Mediterranean Sea that now belongs in part to Tuscany and in part to Liguria. Our Lunigiana itinerary is the perfect option for those who want to book a shore excursion from La spezia port of call.

Between history and myth

Lunigiana takes its name from Luni, a Roman town, perhaps pre-dated by an Etruscan settlement, which became the principal urban center on the northern Tuscan coast. Others maintain that the region was populated by those who worshiped the moon ("luna" in italian). The symbol of contemporary Lunigiana is a crescent moon held in the claw of a bear. The earliest recorded inhabitants of this region may have been the Apuani (from which is derived the name of the Apuan mountain chain), an ancient Ligurian people, as well as Etruscans who may have inhabited towns along the coast and even the hamlets near in-land trade routes. Curiously, while evidence of both Roman and later Medieval settlements are ample, the wondrously appealing stele, late pre-historic and Bronze Age stone statues which have been found in large numbers in this part of Tuscany, remain the symbol of this ancient land. They are the first expression of the art and, perhaps, of the religious beliefs of the peoples that inhabited northern Tuscany from the Bronze Age to start of the Roman Empire.

Interested in history, re-enactments and medieval festivals? This itinerary is perfect for you!

Medieval Festivals and Fairs

Castles and medieval villages

It is impossible to present the Lunigiana region without mentioning the Malaspina family since the history of this land has been inextricably tied to this noble Italian family of langobard origin, which ruled Lunigiana from the 13th to the 14th century through many feuds and built a great number of castles. During the Middle Ages, there were 160 castles in Lunigiana, only thirty of which have reached our times in a good state of preservation. The most important castles in Lunigiana are:

  • La Verrucola, the famous castle of Fivizzano
  • the castle of the Piagnaro in Pontremoli, home to the Museum of the Luingiana Stone Statues since 1975
  • the Rocca of Villafranca
  • the Malaspina castle in the city of Massa
  • the Malaspina castle of Fosdinovo
  • the fortified village of Filetto
Lunigiana is also known for being part of the ancient Francigena Road, the pilgrim route running from France to Rome.

The proposed itineraries are only examples. For customized itineraries we invite our clients to contact us. Price: starting at 620 euro with pick up in Pisa. Duration of the tour 9 hours. Up to 8 passengers

Fosdinovo Castle in Lunigiana

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NOTE: Entrance fees to museums, castles, querries, ferry or train tickets and restaurant costs are not included.