History and Traditions

The first traces of humans in Lunigiana date back to the Paleolithic Age, while the Bronze Age marked the first Stele Statues, anthropomorphic sculptures whose iconography is found everywhere in this area, even on supermarket and road signs, but that we know almost nothing about.

The Apuan Ligurian people resisted against the Romans for eighty years, but finally fell. In 177 BC the Romans founded the colony of Luni, conquering the land, marble and sea of Lunigiana. The spread of Christianity dates back to the Apostolic Age, but this territoryís pagan roots must have been very deep if the Longobards of the 5th and 6th Century AD were still fighting its idols.

The defeat of the Longobards by Charlemagne brought the investiture of the Obertenghi as feudal lords. The Malaspina that descended from them were the (almost) undisputed lords of Lunigiana until Napoleon, despite various troubles over the centuries: internal divisions between the two branches of the Malaspina family, the Spino Fiorito and the Spino Secco; the division of the territory into hundreds of small feuds; the rivalry with the Bishops of Luni, with whom they signed a peace treaty initialized by Dante Alighieri in Castelnuovo Magra in 1306; and the constant threats by the surrounding powers who took turns conquered its territories, including Florence, Genoa, Parma, Lucca and Milan. The Via Francigena and the many other roads that crossed it made it an enticing conquest.

In 1844, after the Napoleonic era, there were three Lunigianas: one assigned to the Duchy of Parma, with Pontremoli and Bagnone; one under the Duchy of Modena, with Fivizzano, Aulla, Licciana, Massa and Carrara; and one consigned to the Kingdom of Sardinia, with Sarzana, La Spezia and Val di Vara. Its current borders with Tuscany, Liguria and Emilia do not reflect this territoryís complexity and cultural hybridization.

Traces remain of its strategic importance until the 1900s, when it was the scene of new fights of resistance [Link to Linea Gotica]. Its vestiges remain in the Cisa Pass, with its ancient road that sees many motorcycles today, but that was once an economic and trade hub for the entire peninsula.

On the great stage of history, Lunigiana has witnessed the stories of its lords and vassals, its millers and farmers, its peddlers and marble workers, its most enlightened people and its mysteries that still linger, between legend and popular tales.



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