Lunigiana is a region that borders Tuscany and Liguria, stretching from the colourful coastal town of Lerici to the small Renaissance village of Fivizzano in the Apennine Mountains. It has a fascinating history, a rich culture and an exceptional gastronomic heritage, and yet, the area remains somewhat undiscovered.

Below are a few things that you may not know about the region:

Lunigiana lies on the Via Francigena, the pilgrim route from Canterbury to Rome

In English, ‘Via Francigena’ means the road that comes from France. The road in question is an ancient pilgrim route running from Canterbury to Rome through France. Guests can visit the famous monasteries and abbeys along the route and stay overnight in rural accommodation. Since 2009, the Italian government has been working to restore the entire Italian section of the route, reviving its cultural and religious significance.

 Lunigiana is home to more than 100 medieval castles

 Lunigiana is often referred to as the ‘Land of 100 Castles’. There are in fact more than 100 castles in the region, each with its own story to tell. Dating back to the middle ages, these castles now dot the region from north to south, each with its own legends of warring families, ghosts and even visits from Dante. Some are in ruins but around 30 remain in a good state of preservation.

 Lunigiana is home to the ‘Gulf of Poets’

 The Gulf of Poets, is a strikingly beautiful bay with coves, steep cliffs and medieval castles, situated just in front of the Ligurian Sea. For anyone who’s seen it, it will come as no surprise to learn that this area has been the inspiration for several well-known poets and writers and therefore gained the nickname ‘The Gulf of Poets’. Writers including Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf and Gabrele D’Annunzio have all found inspiration in the Gulf’s dramatic scenery.

 Lunigiana is the land of ancient flavours

Lunigiana has a rich gastronomic heritage, with traditional slow cooking in the testo, the typical cast iron pot of the Pontremoli area. Some of the most mouth-watering recipes originating in the region include the slow roasted Zeri Lamb, the torta d’erbi, a simple vegetable pie made with wild herbs, and the Colonnata lard.

Lunigiana is home to the mysterious Stele Statues

The mysterious Stele statues date back to the Bronze Age and are another part of Lunigiana’s fascinating history. The stone statues represent both armed men and women and vary in size and shape. No one really knows about their true meaning and function. Located in the beautiful Piagnaro Castle, the Museo delle Statue Stele Lunigianesi Pontemoli offers a chance to see these statues first hand and discover the various theories about these mystifying artefacts.

For more information on tours and cultural experiences in Lunigiana visit www.tramedilunigiana.it/en

Images available on request

 Notes to Editors

Trame di Lunigiana is a new non-profit social enterprise, created by independent providers, to promote the Lunigiana region of western Tuscany. Focusing on the artistic, historic and cultural offerings available to visitors, an innovative online platform allows travellers’ access to accommodation facilities, tours and cultural experiences in the region.

Trame di Lunigiana is the winning project of the ARS contest (Art to Promote Social Employment), launched by Fondazione Italiana Accenture and recognising the best idea in the field of social innovation.