Discouver the Carrara marble area just north of Lucca.
Apuane Alps | Tuscany Travel Guide
Just north of Lucca you will find a very interesting mountain area which is not very known. We have made a guide of the area that takes you to see the Carrara marble, the nature, small villages ecc.
Guide to the Carrara marble area
Reserve an entire day for this beautiful drive.
Start at the motorway A12 from Lucca towards Viareggio.
Before arriving at Viareggio you drive towards Genova and continues until the motorway exit at Carrara.
Carrara marble - sight seeing tour in the Apuane Alps in Tuscany
Carrara is known for its white marble that Michaelangelo used for his famous sculptures. If you are interested in the history of the marble quarries then visit the museum at Via XX Setembre, near the stadium.
We also recommend you to drive up to one of the actual quarries, especially the one called “Fantiscritti” is worth a visit (ca. 6 km from Carrara). They have an interesting open-air museum where you can see the techniques that are used to beak the marble.
From here you drive to Colonnata with a panoramic position in 532 meters above the sea level. It was original a Roman slave colony – now it houses the people working in the marble quarries.
The gastronomy interested should visit one of the characteristic bars in this town and order the specialty “Lardo di Colonnata”, a very fatty sliced cold meat which is served on Casalingo bread. A true delicacy in this region!
Next stop after Colonnata is the antique village Fosdinovo 500 meters above sea level. From here the family Malaspina controlled the medieval trade routes. The castle from the 1200s and the San Remigio Church are definitely worth a visit. The view from here is exceptional – on a clear day you will be able to see the ocean.
Two different roads lead to Fosdinovo. Either you choose the extremely beautiful but also very winding road or from Colonnata you go back to the valley and take the motorway towards Parma, exit at Aulla and continue to Fosdinovo.
Now you continue to Equi Terme, a picturesque little village in Parco delle Apuana. Since the Roman times this place is known for its thermal baths and it is still possible to swim in them from May to September – remember to bring your swimsuit! There is an entrance fee.
Apart from the thermal baths, it is also very interesting to visit the limestone caves (for more info see www.parcapuane.toscana.it).
Every hour groups are guided to the cave “La buca e il Solco” – created from water erosion. The area around Equi Terme is also amazing for hiking.
After the thermal baths, you drive to Aulla, where pilgrims used to make a stop on their way to Rome before they reached Lucca, and on to Podenzana.
Podenzana is known for the specialty “Panigaccio” – a big pancake made of wheat flour. It is antique basis food that can replace the pasta and be eaten with almost everything: pesto or “funghi” (mushrooms) for a starter, with sliced cold meat or cream cheese for a first course or with Nutella for dessert. Everything tastes absolutely amazing.
Choose one of the characteristic restaurants, Da Gambin or La Gavarina. In the latter, the panigaccios are baked on a hot stone in the middle of the room for you to follow the entire preparation. Arrive before 19 pm and order nothing but panigacci!
After a long drive, you can choose to take the fast road back to Lucca – down the hill and the motorway towards Livorno/Pisa.