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Lucca to Garfagnana and Versilia

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The thousand faces of Tuscany can be explored starting from the harsh inland areas marked by rocky spurs with villages to society evenings on the Versilia coast. This itinerary features many interesting and unusual stops.

Start you tour from Lucca and a unique walk around 16th century walls, hiding the old city centre, away from the rest of the urban city. Get lost in the myriad of small streets that make up the old town while you come across some architectural masterpieces such as the church of San Michele, San Frediano, the Guinigi Tower Piazza Anfiteatro. In Lucca you can find some of the most renowned examples of fine Italian products such as extra virgin olive oil that gives a special taste to dishes like traditional spelt soup.

You can then take the SS12 road heading to the medieval villages of Barga and Castelnuovo in Garfagnana, two pearls nestled among the green tops of the Garfagnana area and the Serchio River Valley where you will find on your road the ancient Ponte della Maddalena (also called the Devil’s bridge), a remarkable example of medieval engineering used by pilgrims to cross the river.

In these places time seems to be stopped and the locals still live simply, enjoying the beauty of the landscape that matches perfectly with the goodness of the culinary specialities like the crostini antipasto or the pappardelle with boar. That’s probably why the famous Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli spent many years of his life here between 1885 to 1912.

The SP13 road brings you to the seaside with a 100 km drive which crosses the beautiful Alpi Apuane Regional Park, a route especially loved among bikers for its curves, but equally enjoyable by car in every season of the year.

Nature lovers should definitely stop for a visit at the Botanic Garden in Pian della Fioba. The last stretch of the trip starts when you reach Marina di Massa. From here you can head south along the beautiful Lungomare which on your way to Pisa, crosses some of the most renowned seaside resorts like the charming Forte dei Marmi, the elegant Pietrasanta (and its Marina) or the vibrant Viareggio. Your trip ends in Pisa where in addition to admiring the famous Leaning Tower you can enjoy a walk on the Arno river or visit one of the great exhibitions at Palazzo Blu Art Galley.

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