The mountain in Versilia
The territory of Versilia includes both sea and mountain. In fact it has the longest extent of sandy beaches in Italy, but also the varied and impressive landscape of the Apuan Alps.
The Apuan Alps chain (an impressive range of mountains spreading out as far as the north-west extremity of Tuscany for an extent of about 400 km) is classified as ‘Alps’ due to its morphology (the highest peak is the Pisanino with its 1947 mt). Here it is possible to find extensive examples of karstification, not only outside, but also in the underground and many traces of the past glaciations, everywhere. It is an area particularly rich in caves, there can be counted about 200 caves all in, and some of them can be visited only with the aid of speleological guides.
However, the caves aren’ t the only interesting elements here, but there are also canyons, dolinas, valleys, erratic masses and so on.
With regards to the nature of the stones, it is siliceous by the outside and carbonaceous in their interior, results in a dense vegetation together with empty spots. From the Mediterranean scrub covering the piedmont strip opposite to the sea, the landscape changes with oak woods and woods of hornbeam and beech (often turned in chestnut-tree) woods located at 1000 m. of altitude, whereas the highest peaks do not host many trees but only the rare heath-lands and little scrubs of grasses. Finally the high prairies and the limestone cliffs host a rich flora of great interest, like endemic flowers.
The fauna here is varied due to the fact that, even if the number of big mammals has been reduced by man’s intervention, recently there was the introduction of al little quantity of herbivores, such as mouflons and goats. Moreover, some species of chiroptera (living in the deeps of the caves) exist in this zone. The birds are the emblem of the natural park hosted by Versilia, in fact there is a wide range of different specimens existing, such as the royal eagle, the partridge, the crag martin, the accentor and so on. Finally, these mountains are able to offer something interesting also among the reptiles, such as the ‘spectacled salamander’, the Italian cave salamander and the original alpine newt.
It’s important to add that this impressive chain of mountains is not only considered a jewel by the spelaeologists, but it also represents a sort of promised land for the climbers (climbing has become a very common and practiced extreme sport, in the last few years).
Moreover, there are many and well equipped alpine huts: Carrara (1320 mt) at Campocecina; Capanna Garnerone in the valley of Vinca; Donegani (1250 mt) at Orto di Donna; Citta' di Massa at Pian della Fioba; Mattei near Prati di Logarghena; Pisa (950 mt) in the upper Canal Regolio (Capanne di Navola); Aronte, the oldest and the highest of the Apuane alps (1642 mt), on mount Cavallo southward the Focolaccia pass; Capanne di Careggin (840 mt) in the valley of Turrite Secca; Pasquili (800 mt) at the feet of mount Carchio; La Quiete (950 mt) in the Canal of the Fredde (northward mount Corchia); Pietrapiana (1180 mt) eastward mount Corchia; Pania (1600 mt) in the Gruppo delle Panie;
Ponte del Diavolo in Borgo a Mozzano, Garfagnana
Alpe della Grotta (865 mt) through mount Procinto; the Hotel Alto Matanna (1030 mt), eastern side of mount Matanna; Fornovelasco (480 mt) at the bottom of the valley of the Turrite di Gallicano.
Finally, we can consider the territory of Garfagnana part and parcel of the Versilia zone, even though it is a little bit displaced in the Lucca’ s province area. Located in the Apuan Alps between Versilia and the city of Lucca, the territory of Garfagnana is rich in history and traditions; one of Italy’ s best kept secrets Garfagnana can be found in Northwest Tuscany.
Within easy reach of Tuscany more famous sites like Florence, Pisa and Lucca, the Garfagnana offers some spectacular sceneries and a great local cuisine.
Nestling between the magnificent jagged ‘marble mountains’ of the Apuan Alps and the beautiful rolling ‘spine of Italy’, the Apennines, it is truly an area of outstanding natural beauty with matchless hospitality.