The territory around Villafranca in Lunigiana, in the Massa Carrara province, is dotted with several hamlets, all with their own distinct character. The most well-known is probably Filetto, a walled village with a unique quadrilateral urban plan at the base of the valley, a characteristic of planned communities. Probably of Byzantine origin, the original centre is made up of an enclosure with four corner towers. The hamlet underwent important transformations in the 15th and 16th centuries, like the expansion of the village to the east and the introduction of a road axis inside the new city walls, which included two new monumental gates.
The territory surrounding Villafranca is particularly suitable for nature and hiking enthusiasts. The hamlet of Malgrate, for example, is one of the oldest villages in this area of Tuscany, dominating the entrance to the valley of the Bagnone stream, which is dotted with a number of watermills, some of which are open to visitors and still in operation. The trails and mule tracks – which criss-cross the entire landscape – were historically used for seasonal livestock rearing and by lumberjacks, coalmen and traders of all kinds of goods. The trails were also used by pilgrims and all the wayfarers travelling along the via Francigena.