The narrow streets of the fortified village are enlivened by osterie, and stores selling typical products and local artistic crafts. The castle overlooks the main square of the town, where the ossuary monument of Anacarsi Nardi is, transformed in the 15th and 16th centuries into a fortified palace and residential site.
The most interesting attractions around Licciana Nardi are centuries-old fortifications, such as Monti Castle, built between the 12th and 17th centuries. Founded as a defensive fortress, this outpost was reworked gradually into an elegant residence in the 16th and 17th centuries. The castle is a blend of the medieval and the Renaissance, with a few Baroque touches.
Equally interesting is Bastia Castle, which was erected towards the end of the thirteenth century to put an end to the attacks from across the Apennine passes. The mighty military structure belonged to the Malaspina family of Villafranca and consisted of a quadrangular plan with a striking central keep topped with four cylindrical corner towers. Charming Guelph-cross windows look out on the facade.
In Terrarossa, you'll find one of the largest residences of the Malaspina that exist. The castle stands along the Via Francigena and has a square plan, with four bulwarks at the corners, some on which were left unfinished. Inside the fort there are more than 40 rooms, with large cross vaulted halls and apartments. Today, it hosts various kinds of events.
The Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta, in the village of Venelia-Monti, is worth a visit. Erected in the eleventh century, the church has maintained its original name, which is probably Ligurian, and there is documented evidence of its existence dating to at least 1077, although it was dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta due to the indecorousness of the pagan origin of the name Venelia. Today, little can be seen of the old church as it was rebuilt in the eighteenth century. Of the old building, the beautiful Romanesque pietra serena apse on the side remains.
While you’re in the area, head for the Parish Church of San Nicolò Varano, whose the original Romanesque structure was destroyed during restoration work, although it contains a priceless work of art: an altarpiece by Angelo Puccinelli, a fourteenth-century painter from Lucca.
In this area of Tuscany, the Apennines offer not only climbs on the ridge, but also simple and fascinating routes that connect the hamlets, such as the one that connects the village of Treschietto to Apella. Starting from Apella by mountain bike or e-bike, it's possible to continue along the Lunigiana Trail, a 230-kilometre ring route between villages and castles in the area, ideal for those who love bikepacking trips.