Antony Zanello from the Italian property agent AZ Italian Properties provides some useful information on the historical territory of Lunigiana in Italy.
The Lunigiana is an area divided by two regions, Tuscany & Liguria, located at the extreme northern border of Tuscany with the Apuan Alps in the background. It’s surrounded in the north by the Emilia Romagna region with Reggio Emilia and Parma, in the south by Carrara, in the south-west by Liguria with the Golfo dei Poeti and the Cinque Terre.
The land and its proximities offer beautiful different landscapes, from the seaside full of beaches on the Versilia and Liguria coast to the mountains for skiing, snowboarding and walks at Zum Zeri or at Cerreto Laghi at the border with Emilia Romagna.
Rich of history with medieval castles and medieval villages; among the most important there is Castello del Piagnaro di Pontremoli, i Castelli Malaspiniani di Fosdinovo, Castello di Malgrate a Villafranca, Castello dell'Aquila di Gragnola, Fortezza di Sarzanello and Fortezza Firmafede di Sarzana.
Where the River Magra meets the sea, on the border of Lerici and its amazing Golfo dei Poeti, we find the first Municipality off the Lunigiana area, the ancient town of Ameglia.
This hilltop village has mountains right in the background, in the middle of Natural Regional Park of Montemarcello Magra, beautiful beaches like Punta Corvo and Punta Bianca and smaller seaside resorts like Fiumaretta and Bocca di Magra, situated each on one side of the River Magra.
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Next to Amgelia, still in the province of La Spezia, there is Sarzana, one of the biggest towns of the Lunigiana. Sarzana was historically enclosed by surrounding walls with four different entrance, two of which still stand at the opposite part of the old town centre of Sarzana, Porta Parma on one side and Porta Romana on the other. Next to Porta Romana there is the smallest of the two Fortezze of Sarzana, La Cittadella Fortezza Firmafede, a historic fortress dating back to the late 15th century.
Sarzana is becoming more and more attractive to tourist stopping in the nearby La Spezia during their cruises around the Ligurian Sea. The town flourishes in the summer months with the now-famous “Soffitta nella Strada”, a yearly event (this year celebrating their 55th anniversary from the 03 to 18 of August) where you can wander around the old town centre narrow street covered in expositions of antics and art for sale, among the many bars & restaurants set up on the outside spaces; towards the end of the summer another event becoming more popular is the Festival della Mente – Festival of the Mind, that is the first European festival devoted to creativity and thought processes.
There is a vast choice of a variety of option when it comes to buying properties, from a holiday home by the sea or by the hills or in small historic villages or town, luxurious Villas some with views of the Tuscan and Ligurian sea or other islands, to old stone houses to be completely refurbished to modern apartments or even possibilities to develop business such as B&B and Agruiturismo for a change in lifestyle to make the most of the local products and weather.
Only 2 km from Sarzana town centre heading towards the Tuscan side of the Lunigiana you can enjoy fantastic views of Magra Valley from the high of the Fortezza Di Sarzanello, the more imposing of the two fortresses, or explore the town of Luni and the Roman Amphitheatre of Luni.
Whatever you are on the Tuscan side of the Ligurian side of the Lunigiana for sure apart from the beauty and variety of landscape and villages you will be swept away even more so by the extraordinary local food and its various very typical recipes. Numerous are the festivals of food “Sagre” during the summer months when many of the villages organise local Festival to celebrate their local food with few days of music and a party atmosphere.
There are few different genius ways this area use and make the most of some basic ingredients like flour, salt and water that can be found in local restaurants in the form of Testaroli, Panigacci, and Sgabei traditionally eaten with a variety of local cold meats and cheeses or local green pesto and “ragu’” sauce.