The Lunigiana- northwest Tuscany, in pictures

Angela

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Fosdinovo-entrance to the Magra valley and Malaspina castle:
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Malgrate in summer
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Bagnone-my mother's birthplace

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Lunigiana continued
Filetto-Built on a Byzantine castrum

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Mercato Medieovale

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Some parts of it are like the land that time forgot:

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Via Francigena
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We're part of the province of Massa-Carrara. The province was artificially created in the last century, in 1859, when the Lunigiana and the adjacent Garfagnana were separated from Modena (in Emilia), and in 1871 were given to Toscana. The Lunigiana was to be governed by Massa and the Garfagnana by Lucca. However, in the eastern section,
Fivizzano and a few other smaller towns were taken over by the Medici a few hundred years ago. Sarzana, on the other hand, became part of Liguria, like La Spezia.

The Italian linguistic demarcation line runs right through this area. Generally, north of it, in La Spezia and in the Lunigiana, we speak what used to be called Italo-Celtic dialects. I think the local dialects could be described as Emilian with Ligurian influences and occasional Tuscan glosses. South of it, in Massa and Carrara, you hit the Tuscan dialects.

This is why I never know whether I have the right to claim to be half Tuscan. :)

The "ethnography", if there is such a word, is a bit different. The food is largely the same.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Province_of_Massa_and_Carrara

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Spezia–Rimini_Line

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My father worked in a sculpture studio in Carrara for a time. I vacation often on the Versilia coast.
 
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I won't show any pictures of Aulla. It was the main train center and transportation hub for the Lunigiana and also the central repository for German munitions, and like La Spezia, which was the naval port for the Royal Italian Navy and then for the Germans, it was totally leveled during the war. I think what replaced the old town is beyond hideous. Better to go to Fivizzano, or Bagnone, or Pontremoli.

Pontremoli:
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Absolutely gorgeous! I want to go to Pontremoli :)
 
Absolutely gorgeous! I want to go to Pontremoli :)

Go to our coastal area, the Cinque Terre, first, which is even more beautiful, and then come on up. If I'm there I'll host you to a meal at one of my favorite restaurants. :) These will be some of your options:

http://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/30097-Memorable-Regional-European-meals

Cinque Terre:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YQSt6SLEwY

http://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/30388-The-Cinque-Terre-and-its-cuisine?highlight=Cinque+Terre

http://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/32281-New-Videos-Italian-Riviera?highlight=Cinque+Terre
 
The architecture of these places definitely looks more Tuscan than Emilian or Ligurian.

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This pic from Fosdinovo is stunning, on background there is Portovenere with Palmaria island.

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This pic from Fosdinovo is stunning, on background there is Portovenere with Palmaria island.

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It's in a perfect spot for a great view, isn't it? I like Fosdinovo and the castle there. I just wouldn't stay there because it's so far from the main roads; I want to get to Sarzana or the Cinque Terre or up and down the valley to see my family.
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This is a great drone video of the castello:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5uMMYTHZM0


Did you ever get to Caniparola to see how they restored the Villa Malaspina? This is what you can do with enough money.

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You can access the gallery of pictures at the link below. You could weep at the sheer beauty of it. Take a look at the apartments too.

http://www.arcodicaniparola.it/gallery/#
 
@Pax,

Sorry, it was totally off-topic.
 
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The architecture of these places definitely looks more Tuscan than Emilian or Ligurian.

Fivizzano is the most "Tuscan" of our towns since it was taken over by the Medici hundreds of years ago, while big parts of the rest were part of Emilia, and, of course, other parts of the "lands of Luni" have politically been part of Liguria for a long time. Even then, Spezzino is quite different from Zenese.

I personally don't find the architecture of Caprigliola (Massa Carrara-Lunigiana) much different from that of the hinterlands of adjacent Liguria, other than that Caprigliola is on a hill for defensive purposes.

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Brugnato:
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Nor do I think the architecture of Pontremoli all that different from that of Langhirano in Emilia.

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It's a border area between three provinces, and shows influences from all three, I think.
 
Fivizzano is the most "Tuscan" of our towns since it was taken over by the Medici hundreds of years ago, while big parts of the rest were part of Emilia, and, of course, other parts of the "lands of Luni" have politically been part of Liguria for a long time. Even then, Spezzino is quite different from Zenese.

Yes, definitely. Fivizzano is the most Tuscan. That piazza could be anywhere in the province of Florence.

It's a border area between three provinces, and shows influences from all three, I think.

I totally agree with you. I was a bit kidding your Lunense identity. Non essere arrabbiata con me. :D

Seriously, Lunigiana is a special place, also because it is a border area and at the same time an isolated area. Another special place is the so called Romagna Toscana, Romagna Tuschena. Tuscanized Romagna.
 
Castle of Pontremoli (Castello del Piagnaro)

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Castle of Malgrate

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Bagnone

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Yes, definitely. Fivizzano is the most Tuscan. That piazza could be anywhere in the province of Florence.



I totally agree with you. I was a bit kidding your Lunense identity. Non essere arrabbiata con me. :D

Seriously, Lunigiana is a special place, also because it is a border area and at the same time an isolated area. Another special place is the so called Romagna Toscana, Romagna Tuschena. Tuscanized Romagna.

Ma figurati!

I do identify like that, half Pramzan that I am genetically notwithstanding. :)

There is a way to put all my ancestry in a nice neat bundle, however. Ever heard of Lunezia? It will never happen, of course.

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunezia

I'll send you one of my favorite clips of Spezzino.

Speaking of Luni:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhrUtAQySo4
 
Quintessential Lunigiana panorama. Do you agree with me, Angela?

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Yes, I do. The mountains are always there in the background, even down by Bocca di Magra. :)
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Here is one of our local characters singing about the Lunigiana; he captures the local attitude toward the Malaspina and aristocrats in general perfectly. You can see why we've always been "red". :) The next is his "Maria". It's nice because you can hear the local "dialect", and some of the locals help him re-create it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqfSW48RsV8

Maria:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KWtFlaaiL8
 
Yes, I do. The mountains are always there in the background, even down by Bocca di Magra. :)

Yes, indeed. Apuan Alps in the background seem to be the leading player.

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From Marina di Massa (stunning pic!)

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From Versilia-Viareggio

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From Florence, there is even a blog only about Apuane from Florence

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If anyone is ever going to be in the Lunigiana, or La Spezia/Cinque Terre, or even Carrara, go up into the Lunigiana to eat at these two restaurants. The food is exceptional and it's also a chance to try an Italian cuisine which is different from any you have eaten.

Click on the photos sections and you'll see what you'd be getting. It's quite similar to the food of the Appennino Parmense, my father's area, which I've highlighted in a separate thread, but with the addition of more tomato, and definite Ligurian influence, as in the savory vegetable pies, cooking testaroli in testi and then dressing with pesto, the stuffing and sauce for the ravioli, and on and on. We definitely don't use the amount of cream, butter, and cheese that they use on the Emilian side of the border.

The first one is in Villafranca, easy to get to. The food is a little bit "fancier".
https://www.tripadvisor.it/Restaura...photos;aggregationId=101&albumid=101&filter=7

Americans and Brits take too many pictures of desserts.

For lunch: go get panigacci, cured meats, cheese and wine. :)
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaur...photos;aggregationId=101&albumid=101&filter=7

The last one is a bit harder to get to, more traditional, but it's an agriturismo out in the country, so you get a bit of exposure to Italian country life. It's actually rated very highly as an agriturismo. My favorite great-aunt lived in Liciana Nardi for decades.
https://www.tripadvisor.it/Restaura...photos;aggregationId=101&albumid=101&filter=7

This is a wedding banquet meal I was privileged to eat:
https://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/30097-Memorable-Meal-in-the-Lunigiana?p=433021#post433021
 

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