There are many ways to discover Lunigiana in a slow and sustainable way: walking along the Via Francigena or one of the paths that meander towards the peaks of the Apennines, riding a bike or e-bike choosing from the various itineraries on offer. However, today we want to talk to you about how to do it in the company of your four-legged best friend: horses.
In Lunigiana, you will find many farmhouses with riding stables where you and your horse will find hospitality, ideal support points for excursions in the saddle lasting one or more days. You will ride through chestnut and beech woods, and timeless medieval villages, always under the watchful eye of the peaks of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park or under the sharp profiles of the Apuan Alps.
Here are a few perfect routes for exploring the villages and castles of Lunigiana on horseback:
Duration on horseback: about an hour and a half
From Molesana (Licciana Nardi), passing the "La Miona" stream, we take a historic road that still has some sections of the original paving. We enter the woods and the outline of the centuries-old manor begins to be seen above the vegetation. We meet the asphalted road that leads us up to the hill where the Malaspina Castle stands and can occasionally be visited thanks to a program of openings. From above, the castle dominates the entire lower Taverone Valley with a view of the Apuan Alps. We go down until we cross the road that goes up from Monti and cross it, travelling through woods and meadows unwil we go up and return to the starting point.
Duration on horseback: about 1 hour 30 minutes
We start from Molesana (Licciana Nardi), and climbing quickly, we arrive on the ridge of the hills above. From here we travel through woods and olive groves until we arrive in Torre di Vignale. Taking a small detour of 200 meters, we come to the church of Panicale and the small village a little further on. Retracing our steps, with a beautiful view towards the castle of Pontebosio and the Apuan Alps, we begin the descent towards the village of Monti, formerly known as Venelia, where it's possible to return to Molesana.
Duration on horseback: one day
Departing from Molesana (Licciana Nardi), the route immediately heads into the woods and introduces us to the Deglio valley. Following along the stream surrounded by wild and lush nature, you arrive in the timeless hamlet of Cassolana, and then climb towards Gabbiana on a path that first passes through chestnut woods and then beech woods until you reach the village of Pastina where we will stop for lunch in a typical restaurant. We will arrive in Bagnone, a town dominated by the wonderful Castle that we will reach by crossing historic and picturesque bridges. Leaving the Malaspinian walls behind us, we will return through the woods and on the way back we will visit the beautiful village of Virgoletta with a stop to quench our thirst tasting the fresh water that flows from the famous fountains. Crossing a stretch of the Via Francigena, we return to Molesana.