The Wine Trails of the Candia and Lunigiana hills, located in the northern part of Tuscany, in the province of Massa-Carrara, is an area that is famous for its variegated and unique landscape, created by the nearness of the mountains of marble, the Apuan Alps, which boasts peaks as high as 2000m, and the sea that bathes a sandy coastline. Beyond the Apuan Alps lies Lunigiana, a green territory rich in traditions and history, whose name derives from the word 'Luna', which means 'Moon.' It is crossed by the medieval pilgrim route of the Via Francigena and still bears the signs of an ancient and important civilization, the Etruscans. The favourable geographical position of this area and its exceptional variety make it ideal for any kind of tourism.
The diversity of the area is reflected in the variety of ancient culinary traditions that are still alive today. Particular and unique in their diversity are the many types of bread, like the 'Marocca di Casola', which is made from chestnut meal; 'Vinca' bread that is still baked in wood ovens; and 'Marocco di Montignoso' bread, made from corn meal and olives. Even the cured meats like Colonnata Lard IGP and the ham sausage of Montignoso are traditional local products.
Lunigiana honey DOP is excellent in the 'acacia' or chestnut variety. The restaurants near the sea offer a vast array of fresh seafood, while further inland, toasts can enjoy the specialty dishes of local tradition like the 'testaroli' of Lunigiana, which is baked in the same cast iron pot lids as they were a thousand years ago and topped with pesto; 'taglierini' pasta with beans; marinated dried cod and a cake of sweet rice. All dishes are accompanied by local wines that reflect the richness of the territory: Candia of the Apuan hills DOC (dry and semi-sweet), Colli di Luni DOC (red and white), Val di Magra I.G.T. and Toscana I.G.T. The wines are produced from the local grape species: Vermentino, Albarola and Durella for the whites; Massaretta, black Vermentino, Pollera and others for the reds.
Some tourist itineraries:
The many itineraries possible, from wine-growing estates to guest farms and other accommodations, enable visitors to explore a unique part of this part of Tuscany that is characterized by the sea, marble quarries, mountains, cities, towns, castles and villages. In the spectacular marble quarries of the Apuan Alps, the precious white stone has been cut into blocks and hauled down the mountainside since Roman times. The mountains are also a natural wonder, protected by a Regional Nature Park, and they are the ideal choice for nature lovers.
In the summer the beaches along the coast are beautifully coloured by the interminable rows of umbrellas and beach chairs of well-equipped bathing establishments that offer every kind of service for sports and amusement on the seaside. Between the mountains and the sea, are the cities of Massa and Carrara. Both centres boast an array of architectural and monumental riches that have accumulated over centuries of history. Beyond the Apuan Alps is the Lunigiana, a land of castles and medieval villages, watchtowers and fortresses and country churches.
Wine bars and wine museums itinerary:
The Ethnological Museum of Lunigiana was founded in 1980 by the priest, Luigi Bonacoscia, to preserve and hand-down to future generations the history and traces of the popular culture along the Lunigiana coastline. It consists of 36 exhibition areas that are dedicated to different sectors illustrating industrial and agricultural equipment, tools for grape and olive growing and working the soil.