TEMATIC ITINERARIES IN VERSILIA
Versilia is a land full of history and tradition, its natural background is particularly interesting cause it offers a huge variety of natural beauties to be admired and discovered, from the ancient stately Carrara's marble to the numerous botanic species displaced all along this area. Moreover, Versilia's municipalities are constantly engaged in an effort of preservation and diffusion of the beauties and possibilities that Versilia gives to its 'customers'.
Tematic itineraries in Versilia
We have tried to group here, information about some of the most attractive tematic itineraries that it's possible to follow while spending free time here.
THE MARBLE WAYS
A glance to the marble of Versilia
As you know, the mountains of Versilia have been always exploited for the works of marble extraction. This secular tradition is important not only for a commercial reason, but also from an artistic point of view. In fact, even today in the zone of the Apuane there are many work shops of sculptors and artisans.
With regards to the methods of extraction, first of all it is important to clarify that these works have changed during the years the aspect of the surrounding mountains.
The marble here is extracted from the Roman period and the techniques used have been maintained quite equal, till today. The extraction tools were chisels and wedges made of wood, slaves swelled them with water, putting then them in the cracks of the rock to remove the blocks of marble. The real innovation was the use of explosives to extract the marble, and in the same period, the first industries for the marble processing came to life.
With the introduction of a the new technique, called 'filo elioidale', which was used to cut the blocks with a geometrical precision, the environment of the mountains was subjected to other deep changes. In fact the 'piazzali di cava' and the immense 'steps of marble' began to be visible on these exploited rocks.
However, nowadays the caves are equipped with structures allowing the demolition of enormous blocks, which are then reduced in smaller parts and finally transported with the tracks to the workshops or to the port.
We suggest you three interesting itineraries, commonly called The Marble Ways for marble–art lovers:
This one leaves from Pietrasanta, where it is possible to come across many craft shops and also have a look to the "Museum of the bozzetti" which conserves the majority of preparatory designs realized by the sculptors who worked in Versilia in the past; the collection of operas, belonging to the period that goes from 20th century to our days is always in expansion.
From here, you can easily reach the very frequented locality of Forte dei Marmi, which originally was a depot for the marble destined to be transported all over the world.
This run could begin from Querceta (another municipality of Viareggio), a zone which is full of artistic laboratories committed in the foreign trade. Moreover this is an ideal base for touring the marble caves situated on the mount Altissimo and in the Corchia zone.
Near to this area there is Seravezza, which is well worth a visit, above all the famous Museum of the work and of the popular traditions of the Historic Versilia, housed in the Medicean Palace, where you're going to admire the tools and the machineries used in the ancient art of the marble processing. Finally, in Pomezzana, a little village belonging to the commune of Stazzema, the ancient "ferreria Milani" is opened to the public; it is interesting because here the tools used to process marble were fabricated.
What about a stroll along the ways of the marble town, Carrara (the term Carrara, formed by the word "kar", which means "pietra"), in the magnificent historic centre, with the Dome dating back to the 11th-14th century, the bell tower in marble, the fountain of the "Gigante" and the house where Michelangelo lived. Then we suggest to reach the building, home to the Academy of the Belle Arti, which is formed by the ancient castle and by the Renaissance princely Palace.
In alternative you can visit the Repetti House dating back to the 13th century, or the Alberica Square, which is listed among the most beautiful squares dating from the 17th century. Moreover, a stop to the Museum of the marble is a duty, because it houses the richest national collection of different kinds of marble, granites and decorative stones, in addiction to tools of various kinds and to a collection of technical designs and of ancient photos with modern art operas.
THE WINE WAYS
A glance to the wine of Versilia
The Wine Ways are some kind of itineraries in various geographical areas of Tuscany region, characterized by a big wine production and important cultural, historical and naturalistic attractions. These 'wine ways' allow the tourist to visit cantine and wine agencies, among the most famous in the world, moving at the same time among impressive views and medieval villages.
Tuscany region has promoted the realization of the 'wine ways' in order to promote the activities connected to the production of the wine, above all from a touristic point of view. In other words, these wine ways are enogastronomic runs characterized by naturalistic, cultural and historic attractions and above all, from vineyards and cantine belonging to agricultural agencies opened to the public.
THE WINE WAYS OF LUNIGIANA AND CANDIA HILLS
The wine way here is hosted in the territory of the province of Massa Carrara and in the area of Lunigiana. An association has been founded to increase the value of these wine ways which arise with some specific characteristics: their primary purpose is to increase wine value and to protect wine production in the municipalities surrounding the province of Massa Carrara.
The association offers well organized touristic runs, in a way that allows the tourist to have a rest, eating in typical restaurants and in the wine producers' cellars founded along the way.
- Our wine way begins from the north, from the municipality of Pontremoli, then through the valley of Magra, passing in the proximity of the communes of Aulla, Bagnone and Villafanca, till reaching the villages located on the Apuan Alps (Carrara, Massa and Montignoso).
THE WINE WAYS OF THE ETRUSCAN COAST
This wine way is located in the provinces of Livorno and Elba island's coastal zone. It includes some DOC such as:
– DOC Montescudaio
– DOC Bolgheri
– DOC Val di Cornia
– DOC Elba
– The Lunigiana valley, in collaboration with the association Wine Ways of the Colli of Candia and Lunigiana, organises guided visits to make people aware of the places and of the enogastronomic traditions of the province of Massa Carrara.
– The wine way Monteregio of Massa Marittima is housed in the rolling zone of the High Maremma Grossetana.
MORE INFO: www.stradavino.it
A glance to the nature of Versilia
There is an association in Versilia which doesn't offer only Flower Ways, but it has also the purpose to control all the emergencies coming from the botanic world. If wine ways make you taste the typical products, these suggested ways will carry you in the world of the botanic beauties of this territory.
The first way develops itself in the zone of the Regional Park of Migliarino–San Rossore–Massaciuccoli. Here you're going to visit the coastal woods and the marshy zone. Its ecosystem is quite integral, in spite of the drainages of the last few centuries; in fact some rare or very rare plants, such as the 'royal fern' and the 'white rincospera' can live here.
In the interior of the park it is possible to do a series of organized micro-ways, such as a boat trip on the Massaciuccoli lake (departure from Torre del Lago) or an itnerary organized by the WWF in the area of Macchia Lucchese, or if you prefere, you can visit the estates of the zone, such as S. Rossore or Migliarino, Tombolo or Coltano.
– It is possible to visit the lake by boat from Torre del Lago and Massaciuccoli (guided visits with the authorized companies: Coop. ARDEA, via Sproni 9A, Livorno, tel. 0586/881382 and Coop. Le Muse, via Dorati 48, Lucca, phone336/916163).
– Information available at the Seat of the Ente Parco Migliarino - San Rossore – Massaciuccoli, via Aurelia nord 4, Pisa, phone 050/525211.
– Massaciuccoli, Oasi LIPU, guided visits; Information,phone0584/975567, e–mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free access from Viareggio and Torre del Lago, in particular from Viale dei Tigli and from Viale Europa.
The second way involves the park-villa called "the Versiliana", located between Marina di Pietrasanta and Forte dei Marmi. The fame of this villa depends on the fact that the well-known writer Gabriele D’Annunzio chose it as its summer residence in 1906. The park offers a wood vegetation typical of the Tuscan coastal zone. In particular here you can admire many plants belonging to the 'macchia marina', such as oaks, holm-oaks, alders and much more. Nowadays the Versiliana is a park opened to the public, where cultural manifestations and walks into nature are regularly organized.
MORE INFO: www.laversilianafestival.com
Point of interest for botanic lovers is the Olivo of Pian del Quercione, in the nearby of Massarosa, situated along the state road 439, in the direction of Montramito. In the locality of Pian del Quercione you have to turn on the right and, in about 200 metres you reaches the little villa situated behind the famous olive tree's location.
The last suggestion we'd like to introduce is about the itinerary of the camelie of S. Andreus, in the little village of Compito in the nearby of Lucca, where the cultivation of the camelia flower (a particular flower of oriental origin) is an ancient tradition. This interesting itinerary will guide you to discover many different kinds of camelia through spectacular gardens which house them.
Moreover, also a visit to an experimental camelia plantation could be interesting, a collection of ancient and modern kinds of camelia near to the place where the "Botanic Park" will be built.
Finally you can visit the interior of the village, which is well worth a visit cause it is very characteristic. First of all the S.Peter Tower and in Forcore, the Parish of Compito and the Church of S. Andreus.
Orto Botanico Comunale di Lucca
Curatore Dott. Lippi
address: Via del Giardino Botanico,12
telephone number: 0583/491311
Parco di Collodi in Tuscany
PARK OF COLLODI
The park of Collodi represents an alternative and funny attraction in Versilia, above all for the families with children. Located in the nearby of Collodi’s garden, it’s very easy to reach, in fact you have to cross the river Pescia (situated in the district of Pistoia) and on the left you’ll find the entrance of the famous Toyland.
It has been built between 1956 and 1987. In 1956 the bronze work was inaugurated, five meters tall, symbol of the Pinocchio's growth from a puppet to a boy.
In the small square, mosaics representing the main episodes of the imaginary adventures of the famous wood puppet have been built. In other words it’s an unreal world: your children will entry in a real fairy story! However, the most enjoying part of the park is the Toyland, built in 1972; your children will pass an unforgettable day here. A small gallery introduces to the Village of Pinocchio where a stone path starts, crowded by the statues representing the characters of the novel.
Once visited the park following the fable, you reach the Laboratory of words and figures, a place where time by time exhibitions are organised of the pictures done by young students for Pinocchio’s birthday.
The Park is a place for children and for adults!
MORE INFO: www.collodi.com