The area of the municipality of Molazzana stretches up and down the slopes of the Apuan Alps, characterized by the Panie mountains, a natural border with the Versilia area. It is attested since 1105 and was ruled by a variety of entities down the centuries. Molazzana was one of the most battered villages along the Linea Gotica during WWII. Among the things to see here are two gates, a stretch of walls and two towers as the remains of a fortification, a 15th-century castle and many churches such as the Santuario della Madonna della Neve. All around the village there are woods and crops.
Piazza al Serchio
This village lies in hills at the bottom of the high Garfagnana’s wide amphitheatre. The built-up area spreads in the direction of San Michele and around a small old town (Piazza vecchia) dominated by the parish church of San Pietro e Paolo, the Sala district and Castelvecchio, its most ancient relics. The area features basalt cliffs called Doglioni di Sala. It is a strategic junction between the Garfagnana and the Serchio Valley, so it is very important for commerce and tourism,thanks to the picturesque landscape and well-equipped resorts.
The first attestations of Pieve Fosciana date back to the Neolithic age. The name is probably a compound of pieve (parish church) and the Latin name Fuscianus. The parish church is believed to have been established by the bishop San Frediano in the 6th century. The earliest settlements are Roman, as attested by archaeological finds. When the Roman Empire fell, the region was abandoned due to frequent barbaric invasions and people started to inhabit the village again during Early Middle Ages, when it gained religious importance as it was the only licensed religious building to administer baptisms. It was a very important place during the Italian Risorgimento and acted as an outpost for the Linea Gotica during WWII. Today, you can visit the ancient parish church named after San Giovanni Battista, elegant palaces on streets paved in stone and have a look at the beautiful landscapes towards the Panie mountains.
San Romano in Garfagnana
Archaeological finds dating to the Ligurian and Roman age have emerged in the area of San Romano and it has always been contended by many lords. Here, you can visit the parish church with the bell tower, the village that recalls an agricultural past and, in the Verrucole area, there is a recently restored fortress. San Romano in Garfagnana is also characterized by the National Park of the Tosco-Emilian Apennines, with the natural reserves of Pania di Corfino and Orecchietta, two vast protected areas with a visitor centre, accommodation and huts.
Prehistoric settlements in the area are attested by some stone artefacts dating back to the Mesolithic era. It has always been an important border area and pass to the north toward the Po plain. The ancient roots of this area are confirmed by the Roman and Medieval road systems. The area of Sillano is surrounded by hills, pastures and crops and, thanks to its mild climate, it has always been chosen by tourists for the forests rich in bramble fruits and mushrooms.
The area of Vagli Sotto stretches over the slopes of the marmoreal Apuan Alps and is characterized by two distinctive features: the largest hydroelectric basin of the region (lake of Vagli) and the marble caves. The findings of some Ligurian necropolises suggest that the region was inhabited in the 1st Millennium BC and its history was a continuous alternation of dominations. The 20th century was a period of fervid activity due to the marble caves, but after WWII the village was depopulated. The artistic highlights of the area are the church of San Regolo (13th century), the church of San Lorenzo in Vagli Sopra (16th century), the church of Sant’Agostino (10th century), the church of San Bartolomeo in Roggio and the alpine hermit of San Viviano, both of the 14th century. Vagli offers remarkable natural beauties, first and foremost, the pasture area of Campocatino and the surrounding terraced valleys.
The area of the tiny municipality of Vergemoli extends over the steep southern slopes of the Panie and Mount Forato, which separate it from the Versilia area. The village was first mentioned in a 10th-century document. The village of Vergemoli from a height of 1,711 meters above sea level dominates solemn forests of chestnut and beech trees. In the centre of the village stands the bell tower of the parish church of San Quirico and Giuditta. Not far from the village there is one of the most important karstic caves of the Apuan Alps, the Grotta del Vento (Wind Cave).
The first reliable notice of the settlement goes back to the 8th century and passed under several dominations. In the 1920s, Collemandina was the epicentre of a catastrophic earthquake, which struck the Garfagnana area and razed the village to the ground. The artistic heritage includes the medieval village of Corfino, the Romanesque parish church of San Sisto and its cloister and altars by Matteo Civitali.