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Lunigiana: land of medieval castles and churches

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Lunigiana is an area of north-western Tuscany, embedded between Liguria and Emilia Romagna, and formed by the High and Middle Valley of the river Magra. Its name comes from the ancient city of Luni, a Roman colony that was of major importance for the area until the early Middle Ages. In prehistoric times in the Lunigiana has flourished the megalithic culture of Statues stele.


Lunigiana has always been a border area between Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Liguria. The valley of the Magra was in the past the most important route linking the Po Valley and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Because of its strategic location, the territory of Lunigiana is dotted with castles and fortified centers, which have seen alternating domination of Lucca, Florence, Genoa and Milan. In the Middle Ages passed by here the Via Francigena that connected northern Europe to Rome. The strategic location of the region made it that developed around villages, castles and fortresses guarding the territory and roads.



The main center of the area is the town of Pontremoli, whose historic center has a medieval look. Pontremoli preserves some interesting religious buildings such as the Cathedral of the seventeenth century, the church of the Annunciation of the late fifteenth century and the church of San Francesco original twelfth century but today in the Baroque style. In Piagnaro Castle is the important Museum of stone statues of Lunigiana (Museo delle statue stele della Lunigiana).

There are more than 120 castles and fortified villages in the area, the most interesting from a tourist point of view there are those of Pontremoli, Fivizzano, Fosdinovo, Bagnone and Caprigliola. Among the artistic eminences of the area are also numerous Romanesque churches scattered in every area of the region, but especially along the main road between the Po Valley and Rome, these buildings testify to the passage of pilgrims through the Lunigiana towards Rome.


  • AA. VV. “Toscana” Guide Rosse Touring Club Italiano, 2007
  • AA. VV. “Massa Carrara” 2005, Mondadori Electa
  • AA. VV. “Versilia, Lunigiana e Golfo dei Poeti” 2007, Touring
  • Biagioni Mauro; Bonamini Enrica; Marcesini Davide “La Lunigiana dei castelli” 1999, Giacché Edizioni



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