48 hours in Lunigiana | Last stop: Gulf of Poets
LUNI ► SARZANA ► BOCCA DI MAGRA ► MONTEMARCELLO ► TELLARO ► LERICI ► SAN TERENZO
If you’re in Lunigiana for a limited 48 hours stay, choosing what to see is going to be quite an ordeal: there are mountains and there is sea, castles and medieval churches, Renaissance palaces and International Style buildings, sandy beaches and the high and rocky coast overlooking the sea, Romans ruins in the peaceful countryside and steep paths among the peaks. Last but not least, there’s food – lots of great food – poor in ingredients but rich in taste.
If you want to start getting to know Lunigiana, we suggest starting with the city that gave this territory its name: Luni. Mentioned by Dante as a symbol of human frailty, this rich colony was dazzling at the time of emperor Augustus but it slowly disappeared from history – after the silting of its harbor and the numerous Saracens’ and Normans’ assaults. Today archaeologists have unveiled just a small part of it, the rest still lies undisturbed in the countryside: visiting the amphitheater, museum, and ruins alongside the Forum will bring you back to the times when young men of means undertook the Grand Tour of Europe to discover and learn from its immense cultural legacy.
A short distance away there is the noble fortified city of Sarzana, keystone in the defense of the often-besieged region of Liguria. The city gates are still perfectly preserved, as are the watchtowers at the four corners of the city’s fortified walls. The two fortresses that guarded the old town are also well-maintained: Sarzanello, which dominates the whole district, and Firmafede, downtown and now the venue of the Festival della Ment. The historical nucleus of Sarzana has maintained its ancient charm and getting lost in the narrow alleys, similar to the medieval “carrugi” of the nearby Genoa, is a perfect way to discover antique curiosities and craft shops. Don’t miss the chance to stop at Silvio, for a taste of the delicious torta scema [literally dummy cake]
At the end of the day, the best thing to do is enjoy the sunset in Bocca di Magra. Once a fishermens’ village, today this small town is the perfect holiday and relax destination for both great intellectuals and families. Its strategic position, in the middle of the Regional Natural Park of Montemarcello-Magra, is ideal to discover the high and rocky coasts of Eastern Liguria. Stop by at Leonardo Marino’s crepe kiosk or drive back to Fiumaretta for a nice luch at Neda’s, on the beach!
Moving from Bocca di Magra you can enjoy scenic views from enchanting seaside villages, beloved destination of tourists from around the world. Going up the hill, you will encounter Montemarcello: walking among its houses, suddenly the perspective will unravel in front of your eyes, spanning the coastal stretch of Liguria and Tuscany, traveling up to the port of Pisa. The undulating road that cuts through the coast, shaded by pine forests and Mediterranean vegetation, descends to the sea. Here, it meets Tellaro, perched on the rocks: narrow streets, red plaster houses, the church built on the brink of the Ligurian Sea. It is no wonder that the Gulf of Poets begins here and extends to the neighboring Lerici. Immortalized by many painters and writers such as Dante and Shelley, this unique village perfumes of freshly caught fish and sea breeze. Why miss out on the chance to stop here and grab a bite of fresh fish in the shade of its colorful houses?
Relish the last sunset of your 48 hours in Lunigiana from the tower of the San Terenzo castle, the precious hamlet of Lerici: the sun seems to descend into the picturesque landscape offered by the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.
Two days have pleasantly gone by, but what about the Renaissance palaces, medieval churches, International Style buildings? 48 hours in Lunigiana certainly are not enough: you must return!