La Lunigiana is an historical territory in northern Tuscany, its name deriving from the Roman port city of Luni in Liguria, the ruins of which can be visited.
Towns like Fosdinovo, pictured above, are typical castle towns of this land. There are around 160 small castles and castle ruins here.
Why would a tourist come to the Lunigiana? If you missed the steamer-trunk heyday of the Grand Tour, you might find what you are searching for in this slice of rural Italy. People make their own food, Kilometer zero is just that, your dinner fixings will inevitably originate from a within a stone's throw from where you're eating it.
The Lunigiana lies along the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrimage trail from Canterbury to Rome. The famous seaside villages of the Cinque Terre are close by, you can take a boat from the enchanting city of Lerici.
And best of all for the tourist, the whole region is a great value. You can rent a villa here for the price of single hotel room in a major Italian city.
We have had our house in the Lunigiana for over ten years, and haven't had a yearning to move on yet. So we are building this site to let you know of the best places to stay in a region frightfully short of hotels, but loaded with good value in vacation rentals.
Once a self sufficient Roman country estate, today a villa is considered to be a relatively luxurious country house with sufficient bedrooms for a group or very large family.
Many Italian villas are used to house folks going to cooking schools and the like. You can live like a large family and learn to do what the Italians do extremely well.
Zeri, Pontremoli, Filattiera, Milazzo, Tresana, Villafranca in Lunigiana, Bagnone, Licciana Nardi, Podenzana, Aulla, Comano, Fivizzano, Casola in Lunigiana and Fosdinovo.
Although there is a train line through the Lunigiana, you'll want to have a car.