Camping in Tuscany allows you to explore all the hidden areas of this region. The natural scenery blends together with the artistic and architectural wonders that have defined this region as well as the rest of civilization.
If you camp near Pisa you can not only visit the city but explore the area of Carrara, which is close to Liguria. Visit the Apuane Alps and the coastline of Versilia. Carrara is famous, of course, for its white caves of marble, which you can see as you drive up the Aurelia towards Liguria. The city grew out of a village built for marble excavators in the Roman times. The town was donated by Ottone I to the Bishop of Luni in 963, and it became important for Pisa in 1442 when it was united with Massa and was taken over by the Marquise of Malaspina. The history of Carrara has always been connected to marble extraction and the harbor of Marina di Carrara has always been a center for the distribution of it. It was also the center of the first international and national movement devoted to anarchy. The most important buildings are the Duomo, the Palazzo di Malaspina and the Politema Theater.
Be sure to visit the Apuane Alps nearby, and especially Colonnata, which started as a small town for marble workers that is located right near the dig sites. The town dates back to Roman times when slaves had to work in the caves. The streets are narrow and climb steeply. Not far away, in La Piana, there is an important cave from the first century AC where you can see blue veined marble. Many ancient tools for digging were found here as well as a statue of Artemis which is now housed in the Museo Archeologico in Florence. The old railway line used to run through here, too.
Colonnata is also famous for its special "lardo" which is a kind of charcuterie with world fame. Once upon a time, diggers used to eat slices of it on bread with tomatoes as a high calorie snack for energy. Basically it is made with the fatback of pork and has now become a delicacy. On the second Sunday after Ferragosto (August 15) there is a Sagra del Lardo, a festival that celebrates this famous cured meat and the mountains around it.
The Apuane Alps were once inhabited by Ligurians. They are harsh and visually exciting. They have steep climbs, sheer mountain faces, and the distant roar of the sea echoes off of them. Make sure you see the Regional Park of the Apuane Alps, which was formed in 1985. Drive there from Forno, 7 km from Massa, and visit Pian della Fiorba, under Monte Altissimo, from which there is a perfect view.
Heading towards Lucca, visit the antro di Corchia, a cave that is a favorite of many speleologists. With its 70 km of trails it is the largest example of karst in Italy. From Levigiani, head down towards Stazzema, 7km away on the local road, and perhaps the most important part of Versilia. Sadly, Stazzema is well known for the Nazi massacre that took place there, in Sant'Anna, on August 12, 1944.
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