Views 696 at January – 21 – 2013
Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities, Superintendence for the Architectural, the Landscape, the Historical Heritage. Artistic and Ethno-Anthropological of Italy
Vezzano Ligure – Italy
Vezzano is in a strategic position: just above Sarzana, it attracted the attention of many local and foreign powers, which conquered the town and left traces of their dominion in Vezzano’s churches and buildings.Those who love history and culture will find Vezzano a perfect starting point for excursions in the area. Starting from Vezzano Superiore (the higher part of Vezzano) it is possible to see the remains of a big medieval castle and the old belfry of Saints Siro and Prospero’s church. In the lower part of the town, the ancient structure of the village is revealed by a number of concentric narrow roads.Noteworthy is also a pentagonal sighting tower built in medieval times, and some interesting churches. For those more interested in the countryside, some nice hikes cross the surrounding woods; also, the confluence of the rivers is a nice spot for a walk, while the coast with its tourist venues and beaches is within short distance.
The Magra Valley
Itineries of a different type can be discovered from La Spezia into the Magra Valley. Climbing towards Buonviaggio from La Spezia, the visitors will be surprised by the hillside towns seen from the road, Valeriano and Vezzano Ligure, the ancient town renowned for its residents, which slopes down to the river Magra, and after Bolano which is rooted on a singular hill and has a view of the Lunigiana. After the descent from Buonviaggio one arrives at Calice al Cornoviglio with its famous Castle of the Malaspina family. Crossing the bridge over the Magra along the Buonviaggio road visitors arrive at S.Stefano Magra with its 17th century church along the ancient Cisa road to Sarzana.
The other side of the Magra Valley follows the river to where it joins the sea at Bocca di Magra. Shortly after leaving La Spezia one encounters Arcola with its turreted castle (now the town hall) and pentagonal tower. Then Trebiano the diocesan seat and after the Magra widens one can see numerous villas and campsites along the way in picturesque surroundings on the border with Carrara. One comes across the remains of the Malaspina castle, Castelnuovo Magra, where the procuratore for the Malaspinas in 1306, signed a peace treaty with the Bishop of Luni, Antonio Da Camilla. The parish church is renowned for its painting by Brueghel of “La Salita al Calvario”.
Ortonovo with its narrow medieval streets and ancient Nicola where the nearby “Santuario del Mirteto” was an destination for pilgrimages. The most renowned artistic and historical memories are to be found at Luni with its Roman Amphitheatre where classical productions are still shown to enthralled audiences.
The size of Roman Luni can be seen from its Basilica and the remains of the ancient city and the Archeological Museum renewed in 1988, particularly in the religous architecture section. Outside one can see a number of sites of the excavated Roman town and excavations are still underway where numerous archeological finds can be seen and studied. The charming town of Sarzana also harbours a wealth of artistic and historical memories, in particular its splendid Cathedral which itself constitutes a collection of the history of art (a Romanic portal, a Gothic pediment and inside the Baroque altar and ceiling). Inside the Cathedral there are also a number of paintings by Flasella known as “Il Sarzana” (1600), paintings by Solimena, 2 ambos by Riccomanno, San Gerolamo by Andrea Della Robbia, and a Crucifix from the Lucca School by Mastro Guitelmo (1138) which is the oldest existing crucifix painted on wood, in the world. It is also worthwhile to stay longer in Sarzana to visit the other churches namely: S. Andrea, San Francesco and la Chiesa dei Cappuccini. In the S.Andrea church recent digs have brought to light remains of a pre-existent church, and in the S. Franceso church one can admire some remarkable sculptures. Further in Palazzo Picadi, the imposing wrought iron gate should be noticed. The Castle of Sarzana leaves memories that last (the Firmafede Fort and the Sarzanello Castle built by Castruccio Castracani) and also the high towers (Torrioni). The town is well known for its artisan workshops and antique shops. In fact, in August two antique fairs take place in the open air along the streets of the town. Tourists are well cared for in the Magra Valley, above all in Sarzana and Marinella. All the coastal area from the mouth of the Magra to the borders with Carrara are well equipped with hotels of all categories, campsites, guest houses and restaurants. The numerous beaches in the area are well equipped for water sports, and the local nightspots offer good entertainment.
The wines: Vermentino D’co from the hills around Luni, white and rosè from hillsides of Castelnuovo Magra and Ortonovo; red and white from Bolano (Tirolo), Aleatico from Sarticola, whites from Vezzano and Arcola (Tocai). The Magra Valley borders with Tuscany and because of its position road and rail services are good. There is also a well equipped airport catering for tourists at Luni
Nikon D100 Sigma 15/30