Liguria is a region of mountains and hills coloured green by the typical Mediterranean “maquis” vegetation, with high cliffs overlooking the sea and many inlets.
The region offers nature, mountains, sea, culture, picturesque hamlets, entertainment, an exclusive social calendar and one of Italy’s finest assortments of wines and cuisine that combines fish and seafood with the produce of the steep coasts that slope down from the hinterland to the sea. Liguria’s greatest resource is the sea, with its rocky shores interspersed with small inlets sheltering delightful beaches.
On the left bank of the River Magra, 5 km from the sea, Sarzana is a city full of history, culture and attractive corners. The city, founded around the year 1000, has two perfectly conserved 14th century fortresses, the Fortezza Firmafede in the town itself and the Fortezza Castruccio Castracani on a hill just outside. Anyone wandering around the pretty narrow streets inside the 15th century walls, overlooked by secluded flower-decked terraces on the rugged old towers, cannot fail to be struck by the beauty of this little town. Festivals, exhibitions, fairs and markets make it a lively centre for tourism and cultural visits, drawing large number of visitors from Italy and abroad.
Val di Vara
The “valley of the round hamlets” is the largest of all Liguria’s valleys, and takes its moniker from its distinctive round medieval villages, with their streets and houses grouped around the centre of the settlement.
With its ancient castles and villages on the banks of the River Vara, the valley is in the hinterland not far from the sea.
It offers pristine natural landscapes, old country villages steeped in history and tradition, and an environment where nature still dominates. Its wine and cuisine, featuring recipes handed down over the generations, are an added attraction. The most fascinating villages include Varese Ligure, Pignone and Brugnato.
Lower Val di Magra
The seaward end of the Magra Valley, which accounts for a large proportion of the historic Lunigiana area, blends a splendid hill and mountain scenery with the sandy beaches of the coast. This valley, traversed by the lower reaches of the River Magra, contains the ancient towns and villages of Vezzano, Arcola, Trebbiano, Ameglia, Castelnuovo Magra and Nicola, which is the main town apart from Sarzana. The old pilgrim trail of the Via Francigena and its variant paths run through the valley. Apart from its cultural and natural offerings, it also includes fine tourist attractions including the wonderful beaches of the Ligurian Riviera, Punta Corvo, Punta Bianca, Fiumaretta and Marinella di Sarzana. The archaeological site at Luni, once a Roman city and river port dating from the 2nd century, is of major importance.