strada del vino colli candia lunigiana

Carrara has been known all over the world since ancient Roman times as the city of marble, from which it takes its name ( “car” means stone).
That’s why our tour starts here and snakes through the tracks that lead to the wonderful quarries celebrated by Michelangelo, from which he choose the block that he sculpted into his famous David (Museo Civico del Marmo  in Viale XX Settembre).
From Carrara, some easy asphalt roads lead to the many open-pit quarries, offering an unrivalled paragon of industriousness and impressiveness.
Understandably, for safety reasons, people cannot have access to the quarries but they can stop in some scenic spot along the connecting roads and see and get an idea of the different processing stages.
From Carrara, the road goes on to Bedizzano.
Past the village of Codena, a beautiful scenic view of the Valley of Fantiscritti opens up on your left.
Bedizzano, resting on a plateau full of chestnut trees, where the Cybo Malaspina used to take their holidays, is worth a short visit to see the XV-century bas-relief portraying the “Virgin with Saints” and the fine marble fountain in the square.
On the south side of the square, the XVII-century church of S. Genesio houses a host of interesting works. As you walk along the typical alleys of the village, you will find a few fine bas-reliefs.
Past Bedizzano, the road goes on through chestnut woods, with the wonderful view of the quarries on both sides.
To see a quarry from a distance, stop at "La Piana" or farther on at "Calagio".
Colonnata was a busy centre in Roman times. It seems to have taken its name from a “colony” of slaves that was settled there. The village square, dominated by an austere bell tower, all made of exposed stones, and two very old marble panels under the belfry, is a small scenic balcony wrenched off the mountain.
The parish church dedicated to Saint Bartholomew houses some fine works of white marble.
In the small church square, dominated by the mountain with the "ravaneti", the marble dumping grounds, and the dizzy roads, you cannot miss the “Monument to the Quarryman”, two blocks of marble engraved with all the marble quarrying steps, from Roman times to date.
Lard is worth a special mention, as this delicious local food dating back to the year 1000 has made Colonnata famous all over the world. It used to be something to go with bread for the quarrymen who used to cut it into thin slices, add some pieces of tomatoes and stuff their home-made bread rolls: all this was made early in the morning and, along with a flask of wine, would provide the calories they needed to face the steep slopes and the exertion. Made from the fat layer of the pig back, cleared of the fattest (or ‘spongy’) part, it is placed in a vessel dug from a block of marble ("conca") were it is left to age for at least six months with mixed herbs and spices.
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Follow the special trail marks for Via Francigena and those of CAI (Italian Alpine Club)
Length: Km 28.
Time: 7 hours.
Uphill gradient: m 460.
Downhill gradient: m 990.
Signs: red-white CAI trail marks with special signs, and trail marks for Via Francigena near tourist attractions or along the way.
Tourist information (summer only): Via Caprara, 4 - 43042 Berceto tel and fax 0525 64764.
Tourist information: Pontremoli (seasonal opening) Pro Loco, c/o Palazzo Comunale, Piazza della Repubblica, tel. 0187 831180 - 831437.

From the village of Berceto, take the highway 62 up to the Cisa Pass. After about 3 km, you will clearly see the CAI trail marks for trail no. 733 for Mount Valoria (1229 m).
Go on up through some beech woods mixed with large grassy expanses as far as Felegara. Nearing Roncaglia, you will be at 1100 metres above sea level, near Mount Formigare.
Here, a detour on the right will take you to the Roadman’s House (under refurbishment: it will be converted into a hostel). After reaching the meadow on top, near a recent shrine, the road will turn right and after a short ridge you will reach the northern side of the divide up to the Cisa Pass (1,055 m).
With a nice view of the Apennine peaks and the Lunigiana underneath, go down the asphalt highway to Montelungo, mentioned by Sigericus as "Sce Benedicte", submansio (Latin for stopping place) XXXIII.
In these places, there used to be a poorhouse and a monastery. At the first few houses, follow the trail marks of Lunigiana Trekking/G.E.A./Sentiero Italia for Polina, a hamlet in the municipality of Succisa (bar-tavern). After about a one-kilometre asphalt road, you will arrive in Succisa where you can leave the TL trail marks (Lunigiana Trekking) that, if you follow them, would take you to Grondola-Guinadi and then on to Cervara.
Going down along the road from the Brattello Pass, flanking the torrent Magriola, a tributary of the river Magra, you will be back on the Cisa highway underneath, in Migneno, a village that had already been documented in the Middle Ages as a stopping place where people used to stop before negotiating the uphill slope to the pass on Mount Bardone, now known as Cisa. It is here that Emperor Charles VIII set camp for his army in the summer 1495, while the rearguard set fire to the city of Pontremoli ("Puntremel", submansio XX, Sigericus).
The village of Lunigiana, its medieval bridges (which used to be called "ponti tremuli", quivering bridges, as they were made of wood), its historical centre will end our tour along the Via Francigena.
For more information and stopping places along the Via Francigena, visit:
www.viafrancigena.com or write to: francigena@linkey.it
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