Campocatino - Garfagnana

A motorcycle tour of Garfagnana and Versilia

From the Cipollaio to the Passo del Vestito

This route links Garfagnana and Versilia, or to be precise: mountain and sea. Both roads include great climbs and descents worth mentioning: Cipollaio and Passo del Vestito. So that you don't have to choose between them we have created a pleasurable circuit that will allow you have both.

From/to: Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to Forte dei Marmi and back
Distance: 80km
Duration: 1 day
Kind of road: mixed, mountain
Province: Lucca, Massa e Carrara

Set your GPS: Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Isola Santa, Cipollaio, Seravezza, Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Massa, Massa, Arni, SP13.

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is a fort town that is easy to get to from both Lucca and the beaches of Versilia. Under the dominion of the Estensi it reached its maximum splendor, which is now celebrated during the "medieval festivities" in August. You can go through the old part of the city on motorcycle any day of the week except Thursday morning, when it is reserved for the market of "banquets". In medieval times people used to exchange foods and animals and soldiers were recruited here for adventures. It was so important to the town that in order not to disturb the tradition, a law forbade that anyone got arrested on that day.

Just beyond Castelnuovo, you will see the Fortezza del Duca Alfonso with its seven towers and the wonderful "Ariosto Walkway". We now head towards the sea; the SP13 unwinds on a narrow road with no midway, but with quite a bit of forest. Be careful of the asphalt as it is often dirty and slippery. A typical low valley road, this is a fun drive: there are twists and turns and every so often a tight curve.

You then get to Isola Santa, with a dyke and artificial lake that reflect this vain town: historically it was a place for travelers to recover after passing through the Foce di Mosceta, a communicating road between Versilia and Garfagnana. Visit the Church of San Jacopo, once a hospital for pilgrims and built in 1260.

The Parco Regionale delle Apuane is true wilderness. At the intersection for Arni, the Passo del Vestito imposes a strict choice. Either climb the opposite side and head for the SP10 which in less than 30 km will bring you to Forte dei Marmi. Or, crossing through the narrow tunnel of the Cipollaio the road becomes even more fun and dangerous to just the right degree. Farther ahead, on the left, watch out for the intersection for Levignani which leads to the fascinating Antro del Corchia: with 53km of tunnels and wells, it is considered on the most complex national carsico ipogeo.

You then reach Seravezza, a town that got its name from the two rivers that crossed it: the Serra and the Vezza. On the right is the beautiful Villa Medicea: once the summer home of the Medici family and today the headquarters of the Museo del Lavoro e delle Tradizioni Popolari della Versilia Storica.

Take a walk along the sea between Forte and Marina di Massa, and then, as promised, take the road to the hills following the signs for Massa. Here you can see the Castle of Malaspina, which then leads to the torturous climb of the Passo del Vestito. From the town of Antagnana your gaze will fall on Antona, and viceversa, and then get ready for a web of turns that bring you to the end of this itinerary. The panorama opens up and eventually you will be able to see Massa.

Info web: www.provincia.lucca.it, www.provincia.ms.it, www.apuanegeopark.it, www.rifugiodimassa.it

Look at the web map

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By Motorbike