Pontremoli is a jewel in the heart of the Lunigiana. You will be able to get lost among its sandstone tower-houses, admire stone warriors and goddesses in the museum of the stele statues; if you like reading, the town of travelling booksellers will offer you places where there is a free exchange of books and benches decorated with literary quotations. And to enjoy the journey from day one, try a very thick slice of herb pie.
During the first day of your journey you will be surrounded by a splendid area which alternates very green countryside with little medieval villages. Here you can admire the tower-houses of Ponticello, the ancient hospice of San Jacopo at Filattiera, and above all the ancient Pieve di Sorano, which has been home for centuries to the stele statues of Celtic warriors. Villafranca is a very beautiful medieval village: you can climb the hill up to the walled village of Malgrate, with its castle, or through the trees look at the ruins of the old castle of Malnido, residence of the Malaspina family. And just before you arrive, here is another surprise: the via Francigena meets the castle of Filetto.
From Villafranca you will continue towards Aulla, crossing a thick forest and walking along sections of an ancient Roman road, towards Terrarossa castle. The last section of the route is over the tracks of the old railway, intelligently transformed into a cycle path. If you are keen on ancient history, you will appreciate the muse of the Abbey of San Caprasio, which contains archaeological finds from the medieval period. Do not miss a walk along the ancient walls of the Fortezza della Brunella, pretending to be medieval sentries, before taking a walk through the old town centre. And if you are hungry, there is nothing better than the tasty little local focaccias, to be enjoyed still hot accompanied by charcuterie and cheeses.
From Aulla you will travel along the first section of the journey over demanding but gratifying paths: from here you will glimpse the sea for the first time. Along the road you will pass through very green countryside and medieval villages. You can visit the ruins of the castle of la Brina, reconstructing with your imagination its impressive walls, while at Sarzana you will be amazed by the Baroque interior of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and you will admire the Gothic facade of the Pieve di Sant’Andrea, the oldest building in the town. You will get lost in the old town centre among the alleyways that open into large squares, where you can stop for a typical dinner: discover the taste of the “torta scema”, and get one of the locals to explain the meaning of its name!
Today your journey will be along flat paths, following in the footsteps of the ancient pilgrims who from the Roman port of Luni used to embark towards Santiago de Compostela. Do not miss a visit of the archaeological area, with the ancient amphitheatre and the museum which is home to a splendid mosaic dedicated to the God Neptune. Along paths that give you views of the sea and the Apuan Alps you will finally arrive at Massa.
Today Pietrasanta awaits you, with its splendid old town centre. Before browsing among its art galleries and shops we recommend a visit of the town’s Duomo, to walk among its marble columns and to admire its frescoed vaults. Finally you will arrive in Camaiore, with its old town centre and ancient Badia di San Pietro, and a rice-based chocolate cake that will reward you for the efforts of the day.
From Camaiore you will continue up and down among the hills of Lucca, before descending to the valley of the Contesola torrent and crossing the river Serchio. So, you will arrive in Lucca, the end of your journey; enter through the walls and surround yourselves in its old town centre, where many attractions await you. You will be able to admire the decorated façade of San Frediano, browse in the little shops of the circular piazza to buy spelt and local biscuits to take home with you, conquer the Guinigi tower and admire the town from up high in its hanging garden.
Last day is included. Service ends after breakfast.
All accomodations are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite.
We choose comfortable in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi where all rooms have private en-suite bathroom.
You can find below the standard hotels of this trip. If a hotel is fully booked, then we will book a similar one for you and inform you about the alternative booked.
Extra overnight:You can book additional night(s) at any of the accommodations along the way.
Hotetel Napoleon*** is centrally located in Pontremoli. Rooms are cozy, clean and furnished in a vintage style. These offer free Wifi, TV, direct dial telephone, air conditioning and some rooms have a balcony.
Cozy accommodation to relax in the historic center of Filetto where every year a famous Medieval Market is held and monthly an antique market. Recently restored apartments with rustic design.
Hotel Demy*** is located in a strategic position to visit Cinque Terre. Rooms are basic and clean, but old-fashioned and a little bit neglected. In the structure there is Wifi, but it doesn't work very well. Breakfast is basic. Staff is courteous.
B&B In Piazzetta is located in the centre of Sarzana on the second floor of an historic apartment block situated in one of the most important square of the city. Rooms are comfortable and have a modern look. These have free Wifi, TV and cooling fan. Breakfast is good and rich with sweet dishes.
Hotel Annunziata is located in Massa, just 4 km from the coast and its popular beaches. The structure is dated and it has rooms old-fashioned, but clean. Breakfast is normal and the staff is helpful.
Locanda Le Monache, which takes its name from a monastery of Carmelite cloistered nuns which stood adjoining building, is located in the heart of the historical center of Camaiore. Each room has different characteristics and furnishings, with the early '900 and Liberty pieces rustic furniture. These are clean and well-finished with TV, shower and free Wifi. The restaurant offers good and quality dishes.
Hotel Rex*** is 80 m from the main train station and 100 m from the ancient walls of Lucca. Rooms are quiet and well-finished with free Wifi, air conditioned, telephone and fridge. Staff is helpful and courteous. Buffet breakfast is rich and varied.
You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April and October.
From any airport, reach the closest railway station, from where you can get to Pontremoli by train. Trains are direct from Pisa, whereas you need to change if travelling from Florence, Bologna, Genova and Milano.
On departure from Lucca, you can easily get to Pisa and Florence by direct train. Trains to Genova, Bologna and Milano are not direct.
Check train timetables on www.trenitalia.com.
GPS tracks are available on request.
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