If, however, the idea of surrendering completely to the nature of Montignoso appeals, the following itinerary is all you need. Arriving at Massa and passing through the hamlets of Capanne, Piazza and Sant’Eustachio, you come to the village of Cerreto, along a spectacular road from which you can see the entire Apuan coast of Versilia, as you climb through the woods until reaching the Pasquilio area.
Behind Pasquilio looms Monte Carchio, once home to the now-defunct marble quarries. The Apuan chain covers immense ground, sweeping from the peak of Monte Altissimo to that of Monte Sagro, passing the slopes of Monte Folgorito and Monte Belvedere. Encircling chestnut and fir woods make it an ideal place for outdoor trips, not least the route along the Gothic Line, where traces of German outposts can be seen today.
Going down into the valley in the direction of Viareggio, you encounter the remains of a Medici fortress from the sixteenth century. Before it stretches out Lago di Porta Beltrame, or simply Lago di Porta: once known as Lago del Perotto, it was a highly strategic position; now it is a protected area, managed by Legambiente and the World Wildlife Fund. This incredibly beautiful area supports numerous species of birds, including the grey heron, the coot, the common moorhen, and the water rail; the western marsh harrier nests here, as do the little bittern and certain ducks.