On the "border of a border land" par excellence, the Lunigiana, lies Podenzana, a scattered municipality surrounded by the green countryside, made up of many small towns and a larger dwelling, Montedivalli, an exclave located largely in Ligurian territory.
Podenzana was built around the year 1000 on the right bank of the river Magra, was ruled by the Malaspina family since 1306 and became an autonomous marquisate in 1536.
The Castle of Podenzana, overlooking the valley, was owned by the Malaspina family, which was ordered to demolish it after being defeated in a long dispute with the bishop of Luni. The structure was destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout history; the current version is the result of a renovation in 1950 that transformed it into a solemn manor with an austere facade, an interior equipped with large rooms, an ornate chapel and a beautiful hall of arms.
On Mount Gaggio, still on a dominant and panoramic position, it is possible to visit the 17th-century Sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve, built, according to tradition, on the spot where the Madonna is said to have appeared to a woodcutter, near a centuries-old chestnut tree, partly preserved in the back of the altar.
Like much of Lunigiana, Podenzana is a perfect destination for nature lovers, with many opportunities to plunge into chestnut woods along trails suitable for trekking and cycling.
Montedivalli is home to the ancient Pieve di Sant'Andrea (Parish church of Sant’Andrea), a small gem of Romanesque art perched on an isolated hill between three small beautiful valleys.
In August the apparition of the Madonna della Neve is re-enacted and the Festival of the Panigaccio, a typical product of traditional local cuisine, is organized.
The panigaccio di Podenzana is an ancient round-shaped bread made with flour, water and salt, unleavened, and baked in special earthenware dishes (testi), red-hot on the fire. Panigacci are dressed with oil and cheese, with pesto, with mushroom sauce, or stuffed with sliced cured meats and cheeses.