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The Lunigiana is the region to the extreme north of Tuscany, situated between Liguria and Emilia Romagna along the course of the river Magra and its affluents, but historically its borders are much wider. Characterised from beautiful hills, immense green meadows and high mountains, it is encircled by the Apennines and the Apuan Alps. It is a small region that offers a mild climate and a clear atmosphere, perfect for walking, relaxation and holidays. It is a magical unspoilt area free from tourist crowds.

Tuscany's best kept secret, a landscape lost in time where medieval castles and villages perch high above green wooded valleys of chestnut, pine, olive and beech trees and numerous grape vines.
Click to view a Lunigiana map
Click to view a Garfagnana map
Garfagnana is set in a wide valley, also surrounded by the mountains of the Apennines and the Apuan Alps. The area is totally unspoilt, and remains untouched by the tourism evident in other, perhaps better known, parts of Tuscany. The pace of life is very slow, and there are hundreds of hill top villages to explore, where it appears time has stood still since the days when most of the locals worked on the land. Try the old town of Barga, known for its restaurants and the beautiful ancient walled town of Lucca, the birthplace of Puccini.

Castelnuovo for its market and the coastal resorts of Forte dei Marmi, Viareggio, and Lerici all accessible both by rail and car approximately 1-1.5 hours.
Some of the local villages
Fivizzano is the widest commune of Lunigiana. It extends from the Apennines to the Apuan Alps. It has numerous valleys, and the  torrents of Rosaro, Mommio and Lucido meet at the course of the Aulella. The area has great landscapes, from hills to mountains with a mild climate and special light which makes it a perfect place for artists.

Considered the Florence of Lunigiana, Fivizzano has always been an important center, castles, churches and noble palaces show this. Fivizzano gave itself to the Medici family in the XV century. The walls of Fivizzano were erected by the order of Cosimo de' Medici in 1540, while the baroque font of the main square was constructed by Cosimo III in 1683.

Fivizzano has a wide variety of shops with many selling local specialties. There are restaurants and bars in abundance and fabulous views from the walls looking down over the valley with Posara in the distance.

There is a weekly market on Tuesday and a variety of food festivals through the year (known as Sagras).

Disfida, a very important festival is held annually at the end of July. This features processions through the streets with everyone dressed in fabulous original costumes with displays and competitions of medieval sports and activities.

The village of Gragnola is situated between the Lucido and Aulella streams. It probably derives its name from the main produce of the village, grain, during the Middle Age. Gragnola’s first mention dates back to the dominion of the family of the Bianchi of Erberia, in the XV century, with the rise of the Malaspina. Gragnola was originally surrounded by walls some of which are remaining today

Gragnola is a small and very well appointed village which has a very good supermarket with fresh local produce, delicatessen and meat counter, a variety of restaurants, small shops, bank, pharmacy and post office. The annual Medieval Market is held in August with local produce, crafts and demonstrations of medieval pursuits, country sports and dancing.

The Castel del'Aquila
The Castel del’Aquila, Eagle’s Castle, is an imposing fortified structure on a hill dominating the streams Lucido and Aulella. It was built by local noble families between the IX and X century, likely to have been the Bianchi of Erberia.

The castle and its fiefs passed to Spinetta the Great in the period that coincided with its expansion in Eastern Lunigiana. The name “Castel del’Aquila” first appeared in the testament of Marquis Antonio of Guglielmo Malaspina of Fosdinovo in 1374. The government of the Malaspina will be remembered above all for the cruelty and desire for expansion. The Marquises of Gragnola ordered in 1418 the slaughters of the entire family of Marquises of Verrucola and Fivizzano in order to get hold of theirs fiefs. Only the little Spinetta survived, to which the castle was given back with the Medici family intervention.

Today, the castle is an imposing stone building which has undergone restoration, following an earthquake in 1920 and is available for private functions. It is characterised by a quadrilateral keep, with four storeys, three angular towers, the main access gate is found through the centre of the village passing the entrance, a second gate, defended by a primitive barbican and two loopholes, leads to the inner ward. The castle has its own church.

Viano is a medieval village mainly comprising a very well kept walled area of housing known as a borgo, without vehicle access with the remains of a medieval tower. The village has a small bar and one shop which is open every day for provisions and fresh bread.

The castle of Viano was probably built on an ancient Roman site. In the Middle Ages it assumed importance with the court of the Bianchi of Erberia, and then passed under the possession of the Marquises Malaspina at the time of  Spinetta the Great.

Today only the cylindrical tower remains dominating the walled village at the top of the hill overlooking the Lucido valley. The Romanesque parish of Saint Martino, in Pieve di Viano, is recorded in the 1149 concession to the bishops of Luni
Equi Terme
Equi Terme lies at the confluence of the Fagli stream into the Lucido, in the valley dominated by the profiles of the northern Apuans Alps. The village owes its name to the ancient thermal baths. The landscape is very original with deep valleys, and high cliffs. The erosion which shaped the bottom of the valley and the caves like the Buca and the Tecchia, were inhabited in the prehistoric period by Neanderthal man.

Today the village has some good restaurants and small shops.

Monzone has a range of shops, bars and restaurants. The railway station gives direct access to Pisa, Lucca and Aulla. There is also a weekly market.
Monte dei Bianchi
The walled village of Monte dei Bianchi is situated a beautiful panoramic position looking over the Apuan Alps and the valley below with the village of Monzone Alto. During the Middle Ages it was the religious center of a feudal family. The old monastery of Saint Michele shows but a little sign of the Romanesque period, just as the old castle now disappeared.

The church is very beautiful and there is a very good restaurant with wonderful 360 degree views of the surrounding area.

Vendaso is located on the right side of the Mommio stream. Today the village is purely residential with well restored ancient houses. In the lower part of the village, Pieve dei Vendaso, there is the Romanesque parish of Saint Paolo. Remembered in a document of 1148, the building has suffered multiple restorations because of earthquake damage. The building of the two lateral apses and the restoration of the facade has not changed its origination.

Pieve di Vendaso

The castle of Verrucola, with its spectacular size, is a wonderful example of medieval architecture. Documented for the first time in 1044, it was the home of the Bosi family in the XI century, one of the descendent families of the Bianchi of Erberia. In 1300 Spinetta Malaspina the Great became owner of the castle. The earthquake of 1481 caused destruction in the area and of the castle. In the XV century, inside the castle, the church with a beautiful loggia and arches in stone was constructed
The castle from outside is imposing for its square keep, the great tower, the walled curtain and the medieval suburb at its feet.
Today the castle has been restored by the artist Pietro Cascella. It is a private residence, open to the public on Fridays.

Visits: by appointment only on Fridays from 13.00 to 17.00
Information: 0039 0585 92466, 0039 0585 92444

More attractions

The Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre is a National Park and has been UNESCO protected territory since 1997. Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso are the five villages that form the Cinque Terre, suspended between sea and land on sheer cliffs overlooking the sea.

It is one of the most uncontaminated areas in the Mediterranean Sea. Five miles of rocky coast among two promontories, thousands of kilometres of dry-laid stone walls, five small towns on stone spurs in small creeks. The unique location of the Cinque Terre has meant that there has been very limited expansion and the villages remain true to their original form. The vineyards, typical of this area, have contributed to create a unique landscape with dry-laid stone walls, winding paths, enchanting beaches between cliffs and clear waters.

Not only sea, but the Cinque Terre offer beautiful footpaths with breathtaking views, churches, oratories and old castles, diving, food and wines of first quality.

They are best accessed by rail or sea. By train from La Spezia, or by boat from La Spezia or Portovenere. There is no vehicular access to the villages themselves and parking is some distance from the main centres of each village.

Modena, a beautiful ancient city, is most famous as the home of Ferrari and the Ferrari Museum, the birthplace of Luciano Pavarotti and the production of Balsamic vinegar.

The city is around 1.5 hours from the properties.

A modern city with a beautiful medieval historic centre. It is the heart of marble mining in Italy and the source of materials for all the great sculptors.

Campo dei Miracolo and Pisa's leaning tower are the main reason people visit this Tuscan city that traces its history back to around 1000 B.C. The grand buildings are relics of the former republic of Pisa's maritime strength. Visitors can again climb the Tower's 300 steps after extensive restoration work closed the tower for many years. Other top attractions in the city where Galileo was born include the National Museum of San Matteo and Camposanto cemetery. Local bus tickets can be bought at tabacchi. An excellent rail network links Pisa with other Tuscan cities.

One of the most visited tourist destinations of the world. Take a close look at the David of Michelangelo, the Venere of Botticelli, the Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens, the Brunelleschi's Dome.

Lucca is a city in Tuscany situated on the river Serchio. It is the capital city of the Province of Lucca. Among other reasons, it is famous for its intact Renaissance-era city walls (although the city has expanded beyond the wall's boundaries). The walls around the old town remained intact as the city expanded and modernized, unusual for cities in the region. As the walls lost their military importance, they became a pedestrian promenade which encircled the old town, although they were used for a number of years in the 20th century for racing cars. They are still fully intact today; each of the four principal sides is lined with a different tree species.

Lucca was founded by the Etruscans (there are traces of a pre-existing Ligurian settlement) and became a Roman colony in 180 BC. The rectangular grid of its historical center preserves the Roman street plan and the Piazza San Michele occupies the site of the ancient forum. Traces of the amphitheatre can still be seen in the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.

Parma, a city of traditional aristocratic cultures, rich with precious works of art and famous for its most illustrious children and for artists from Benedetto Antelami to Salimbene, from Correggio to Parmigianino, from Bodini to Verdi, from Stendhal to Proust, it is totally unlike any of the many beautiful cities that attract visitors to Italy.

Parma is famous as the food capital of Italy, for its inimitable products and in particular for its Prosciutto (parma ham) and Parmesan cheese

La Spezia
The area of La Spezia was settled in pre-historic times. In Roman times the most important centre was Luni located in the vicinity of Sarzana.

La Spezia is a city in the Liguria region of northern Italy, at the head of Gulf of Spezia, and capital city of the province of La Spezia.

It is one of the major Italian military and commercial harbours, located between Genoa and Pisa on the Ligurian Sea. La Spezia also hosts one of the biggest military industries.

The city of Sarzana is situated on the east side of the river Magra, where the main road Cisa meets the Aurelia road. It is in the centre of the territory called Lunigiana and therefore its natural capital city. It is a modern craft, agricultural and touristic centre, keeping almost intact its features of a sixteenth-century walled city.

Luni is in the commune of Ortonovo, province of La Spezia, in the Liguria region of northern Italy. It gives its name to Lunigiana a region spanning eastern Liguria and northern Tuscany province of Massa and Carrara.

Founded by the Romans in 177 BC with the name Luna, at the mouth of the Magra, it was a military stronghold for the campaigns against the Ligures.,_Italy

A beautiful costal town of narrow winding streets with original architecture, craft shops and restaurants. It is possible to take a boat from Portovenere to the towns of the Cinque Terre. The Gulf of Poets famously visited by the poets Byron and Shelley.

Ski Resorts
There are a number of ski resorts accessible from the properties which are also great to visit in the summer.




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