Pontremoli: In Pictures, The Heart and Soul of Lunigiana, North West Tuscan Way, Tour 16

Curvilinear Marble Sculpture

p r e s e n t s

Pontremoli Map 1 Google Earth, North West Tuscan Way

Pontremoli Map 2 Google Earth, North West Tuscan WayNorth West Tuscany for the Independent Tourist

Pontremoli Map 3 Google Earth, North West Tuscan Way

Pontremoli Map 4 Google Earth, North West Tuscan Way

Tour 16: Pontremoli

Pontremoli, Heart and Soul of Lunigiana along the North West Tuscan WayPrior to my arrival I can honestly say that in all my long years I had never  consciously heard mention of Pontremoli.  Never once had I even heard reference to Lunigiana.    But upon the conclusion of my week’s stay I had fallen head over heals over both the region and it’s marvelous old world ‘county town‘, as we would say in England.     Immediately upon arrival I was struck by a stately well maintained elegance about the place.   Teeny tiny little winding lanes and courtyards would suddenly pan out into sweeping squares thronging with local people bustling about their day-to-day affairs.    Roadside Attractions, Lunigiana, Tuscany, ItalyThey even parked their zippy little compact cars right there in the central square.   Very cool.   A refreshing mountain breeze nipped at the warm late May air as it fanned its lazy meandering way down the long  wide valley – for that essentially describes Lunigiana; one long, lovely, intensely rural Italian valley.   Surrounded upon three sides by some of the most intense and misty green mountains it has ever been my pleasure to explore, I soon found myself entranced by the place.     At times I really thought the countryside could be mistaken for a mountainous part of Wales.    At others we could be staring down upon an uber-efficient Austrian alpine dairy farm.   The higher we climb the more alpine is the architecture, until steep pitched roofs become the order of the day.   The weather may be gorgeous one minute,   then pouring down the next.      Lunigiana and Surrounding Mountains, Tuscany, ItalyThe food however is always consistent – consistently good.    And if you love pesto,   well,   I’ve said enough… just go and get your fill of their famed regional dish!     You may not find much to do in Pontremoli but that is hardly why we are here.     To while away a few happy moments sipping coffee,  watching life go by,  it is at times enough.  Plenty in fact.     Besides, you’ll be ‘doing nothing‘ in quite some style as the two adjoining town squares boast some wonderful old atmospheric cafes and bars.    Over the next few posts we’ll take a number of excursions into the exquisitely Italian hinterland of this most northerly of Tuscan provinces,  but for today we simply turn our attention to the lovely little proud provincial town that I affectionately dubbed “Heart and Soul of Lunigiana” in my original Rogue Carver on the Loose dispatch. Enjoy your scroll.

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For those following the North West Tuscan Way by vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle or scooter…. you may be interested to know that Lunigiana represents the turning point in our tour.   Once we have explored the gorgeous sylvan extravaganza that awaits us along the rich, verdant and almost empty back country roads we will be heading back to Pisa with every additional tour.    Don’t worry though,   with episodes such as Bagni di Lucca,   San Rocchino,  Lucca and Pistoia still to come, to name but a few... there’s a whole lot of touring to be had before we take to that famous tower and make our exit via whence we came.     On a personal point however I would highly recommend   anyone actually following this tour quite literally – pay very close attention to the B&B ill Ciliegiolo attachment towards the very end of the story.  Especially when I add a couple of well deserved words in praise of my lovely hosts Francesco and Eugenia.

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Rogue Carver on the Loose in Italy:  Pontremoli imposes its formidable and resplendent presence at the epicenter of the Magra river valley at the northern tip of Tuscany like rather like a rather flamboyant and grand old dame.   Having long since lost its former power and glory as a military citadel and convenient tax collection point this wonderfully pragmatic and confident North West Tuscan community commands the respect of all who enter its threshold via one of the many ancient arched bridges.        Before we take a tour of the place however we just have one point to clear up: if when you read the word Pontremoli you foolishly, as I did on my arrival, pronounce the word ‘Pon-trem-Oli’ you must cease and desist immediately before it gets stuck in your mind. That is, if you ever wish to visit the place without causing the ire and consternation of the locals. It is pronounced ‘Pon-tremoli’, and you’d do well to begin practicing the word right now… so that it positively rolls of your tongue by the time you find yourself crossing one of those lovely bridges. And if you can rrroll that rrr with a rrring, then all the better.    So, let’s begin the tour with my favorite bridge… the one in the foreground, although the Autostrade in the distance is a modern day gem in itself…more.

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Heart and Soul of Lunigiana along the North West Tuscan Way

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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Pontremoli, Heart and Soul of Lunigiana along the North West Tuscan Way

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Pontremoli, Heart and Soul of Lunigiana along the North West Tuscan Way

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and now

the slideshow

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Pontremoli, Heart and Soul of Lunigiana along the North West Tuscan Way

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Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

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B&B ill Ciliegiolo, My Graceful Hosts, Pontremoli, Tuscany, ItalyBefore I go I would like to heartily recommend B&B ill Ciliegiolo.  Located just a few kilometers from Pontremoli, on the very fringe of the woods, this beautiful guesthouse is flawlessly operated by Francesco and Eugenia to make your stay comfortable, memorable, and delicious.   Avowed forest foragers this lovely couple are a gold mine of information regarding the extensive Lunigiana woodlands.  Wonderful conversationalists, kind and gentle… I very much enjoyed both my stay and the relaxed company of these two warm hearted individuals.    Better call ahead and book your room though…. word is getting around,  and I’m sure Francesco and Eugenia would not wish to disappoint.

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Airbnb Breakfast, Pontremoli, Tuscany, Italy

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B&B ill Ciliegiolo

“Most Highly Recommended”      by ME !

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thank you for visiting martincooney.com

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next

The North West Tuscan Way: In Pictures

Truffles, Tartufi, for sale, Roadside Attractions, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

Tour 17: Lunigiana Roadside Attractions

coming soon

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