Day 01: Pisa Arrival | Welcome to Italy! Upon your arrival at the Airport, our local English speaking representative will be waiting to welcome you. You will be transferred by private car to your hotel in Lunigiana. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Lunigiana.
Day 02: Fivizano – Verrucola – Gragnola | Breakfast at the Hotel. Meet you driver and guide at your hotel lobby. In the morning you will visit the old town centre of Fivizzano. You have the choice of visiting a number of different places. There is the very interesting Printing Museum, as well as the church of San Jacopo and Antonio, the little Oratory of S. Carlo, where the eighteenth-century poet Giovanni Fantoni, also known as Labindo, is buried, as well as the Augustinian Monastery, which today houses the municipal library and the small Museum of San Giovanni. After a walk along the Medicean walls, you leave the old town centre to visit the small village of Verrucola, which is dominated by the stately Verrucola Castle, which can be visited by appointment only. In the afternoon, after lunch in a characteristic local restaurant continue your private tour by visiting one of the most charming Romanesque churches in Lunigiana – the church of the Saints Cornelio and Cipriano of Codiponte. In this building we discover a set of columns with carved figures dating back to medieval times. Your tour finishes with a visit to L’ Aquila Castle, which overlooks the medieval village of Gragnola. Originally the fiefdom of the Malaspina Marquis of Fosdinovo, today it has been completely restored. From the castle it is possible to enjoy breathtaking views of Pizzo d’Uccello (1781m), which soars into the sky behind the castle. In the late afternoon transfer back to your Hotel. Overnight in Lunigiana.
Day 03: Day at Leisure or *Optional Tour: Pontremoli – Malgrate – Filetto | Breakfast at the Hotel. Meet you driver and guide at your hotel lobby. In the morning, you visit the old town centre of Pontremoli, known as the ‘Door of Tuscany’. It is a typical medieval town on the Via Francigena, full of history and tradition. Following a short introduction and a visit to the church of San Francesco (founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1219), after crossing the Cresa bridge, we enter the walled town and head for the Piagnaro Castle, the magnificent fortress that dominates the town. In the castle, you visit a small but extraordinary museum, the Stele Statue Museum. The stele statues are prehistoric, anthropomorphic sculptures dating from between the first and fourth millennia BC, and represent warriors and women with a typical semi-lunar head, which is now the symbol of Lunigiana. These stele statues are made of sandstone, the local stone. From the castle, you can admire the beautiful view of Pontremoli and the valley below. You return to the old town centre and, after a short stop at a confectionery shop to taste Amor, the typical custard and wafer pastry of Pontremoli, you visit the stately tower of Cacciaguerra, now called the Campanone, which was built between the two squares of the old town centre. After a short visit to the baroque cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta you finish the tour of Pontremoli with a walk through the town to the point where the rivers Magra and Verde meet, and to the Castelnuovo tower. In the afternoon, after lunch in a characteristic local restaurant continue by visit the medieval villages around Pontremoli. The first stop is Ponticello, a village full of alleys and stone houses, famous for its Caminate, the medieval tower houses. You then visit the Castle of Malgrate (Villafranca in Lunigiana). This small castle was one of the most important feuds of the Malaspina family in the 15th century, and still retains its beautiful cylindrical tower and projecting battlements. From the castle’s walls it is possible to admire the whole of upper Lunigiana. Your tour finishes in Filetto, a medieval village square shape, now famous for its antique markets and medieval festivals. In the late afternoon transfer back to your Hotel. Overnight in Lunigiana.
Day 04: Fosdinovo Borgo and Castle | Breakfast at the Hotel. Meet your driver and guide at your hotel lobby. In the morning, you visit one of the most fascinating of all the castles in Lunigiana, Fosdinovo castle. It is strategically placed halfway between the peaks of the Apuan Alps and the coast. Today, the descendants of the ancient feudal Malaspina family still live in the castle. The Malaspinas built the castle in the Middle Ages and their fortunes are interwoven with its history. Inside, the frescoed walls and furnished halls reflect what life was like during those times. The tumultuous life of the Malaspina family is full by legends, and, as befitting every self-respecting castle, these legends are full of ghosts, trapdoors and torture chambers. In the afternoon, after lunch in a characteristic local restaurant continue on a panoramic tour of the hills of the Fosdinovo area before returning to your hotel. Overnight in Lunigiana.
Day 05: Day at Leisure or *Optional Tour: Licciana Nardi and Tavernelle| Breakfast at the Hotel. Meet your driver and guide at your hotel lobby. This morning travel to Licciana Nardi. The town dates back to the 13th century when its role was to guard the route to the Passo del Lagastrello. The castle, which now looks more like a mansion, towers over the main square. Look for the bridge that was used by its inhabitants to reach the church without having to encounter the locals. The castle is now a private residence, and not open to the public. Some of the ancient fortified walls of the town can still be seen. Today, the main street of Licciana Nardi is filled with small shops, all with colorfully painted signs. In the particular lookout for the Brunilde, which is part of the initiative, i Laboratori del Parco that supports the production by local artisans of handicrafts using local materials, such as wool and leather. In the afternoon, after lunch in a characteristic local restaurant continue by visiting Tavernelle, a small village in the hills of Licciana Nardi, at 450 meters above sea level. It has a medieval centre with a restaurant, bar, and campsite. In the late afternoon transfer back to your Hotel. Overnight in Lunigiana.
Day 06: Carrara and The Marble Query | Breakfast at the Hotel. Meet you driver and guide at your hotel lobby. In the morning, you will visit the museum of quarrying and marble transportation to learn about the history of the industry, which dates back to Ancient Rome. You discover the methods used for mining Carrara white marble starting with the techniques used by the Romans right up to modern day techniques using diamond cutters. You admire the reconstruction of the lizzature, the traditional and extremely dangerous method of transporting marble blocks on wooden sleighs down to the valley. In the afternoon, after lunch in a characteristic local restaurant continue to the old town centre of Carrara, where you will visit the Cathedral of Sant’ Andrea, an extraordinary example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Continue your walk around the old town centre to admire the Piazza of Alberica, the Academy of Fine Arts, and the ancient Malaspina fortress, which has been transformed into a place of study, teaching, and art exhibitions. In the late afternoon transfer back to your Hotel. Overnight in Lunigiana.
Day 07: Day at Leisure or *Optional Tour: La Spezia and Gulf of Poets | Breakfast at the Hotel. Meet you driver and guide at your hotel lobby. Today explore the Gulf of Poets on a Private Guided Tour. The Gulf of Poets is a dramatically beautiful area full of little villages, gorgeous colors and steep cliffs that disappear into the blue waters below. Also known as the Gulf of La Spezia this area of the Italian Riviera begins at the Magra River and finishes at the town of Portovenere. Lunch in a characteristic local restaurant. The Bay–so called because it was a favorite of writers like Shelley, Byron, Petrarca and Montale–also includes the picturesque villages of Lerici, Sarzana, Tellaro, San Terenzo, Montemarcello, the city of La Spezia, and the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. In the late afternoon transfer back to your Hotel. Overnight in Lunigiana.
Day 08: Pisa Departure | Breakfast at the Hotel. Unfortunately, it is time to say Arrivederci. At your convenience, we will transfer you to the airport of your choice. Ciao!