Benvenuti…

Il Poggiolo Guest Guide… is a service to Our Guests staying at il Poggiolo… La Casetta, La Casa Grande and the Appartmento Azzurro. It offers suggestions for everything from local restaurants, shopping, to day excursions and, if need be, information for emergencies in Codiponte and in the Aulella River valley of the Lunigiana. Scroll-up to read specific blogs on, for instance, Local Services & Conveniences… Emergencies included… and Restaurants. Other blog postings will follow for Excursions, History & Culture, etc.
Now, a bit about the Lunigiana, Codiponte & il Poggiolo…
The Lunigiana… the name comes from the Roman city of Luni, one of the five principal Roman cities on the Italian peninsula. The city was a port situated at the cross-roads of the via Aurelia connecting Rome with Spain and the routes over the Cisa & Cerreto Passes to the Po River Valley and the Roman Empire of Northern Europe. The few visible remnants of Luni, such as the Roman amphitheater, can be seen in the lowlands between Sarzana & Massa-Carrara. A story goes that it took the Romans 250 years to finally conquer the Lunigiana. The decisive Roman victory was in an open field near the town of Pontremoli. The conquered peoples of the Lunigiana were given gold to relocate elsewhere in the empire, never to be a threat again to Rome, while peoples from other regions were encourage with a similar offer to relocate in the Romanized Lunigiana.
The region is geographically defined by the Apennines and the Apuane Mountains in the northwest corner of Tuscany. The later group consists of three peaks perpendicular to the north-south march of the Apennines and much revered by the Romans for their stunning singularity. These two ranges, both being so near to the Mediterranean Sea, protect the Lunigiana from the extreme cold & snow. The region’s mild climate is ideal for growing olives, The Gold of the Middle Ages up to the Italian Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s. To protect & regulate the tax income from olive oil and the commercial & religious traffic along the major routes of communication passing through the Lunigiana during the 1200 to 1400s, over 120 castles were constructed. One of the more impressive & scenic castles to visit is the Verrucola dei Bosi’ Castle… shown in the photo below… above Fivizzano on the way to the Cerretto Pass.
The beauty of the Lunigiana of the Aulella River valley is the area is still one of stone borghi… or, villages perched on the hills cascading down from the Apuane & Apennine peaks. One is Castiglioncello, seen in the photo below, along the road to the Carpenelli Pass for the Garfagnana & Lucca. It is only a ten minute drive from Codiponte.
Another is Luscignano, directly above Codiponte.
Codiponte… is situated in a picturesque valley of olive groves & chestnut forests along the Aulella River. A spine of low mountains a short distance to the west separates this area of the Lunigiana from the Mediterranean coast of the Versilia.
The town’s name is dialect for capo del ponte... or, the head of the bridge. And, in fact, Codiponte was the only convenient place to ford the Aulella River for miles in either direction and, especially, on the principal travel route from the Mediterranean coast. The town was an administrative, commercial & religious center for hundreds of years. A branch of the famous pilgrimage route to Rome… the Via Francigena… passed through Codiponte. The Pieve di Codiponte… or, parish church, was a key way-station… church, clinic, hotel, market, meeting point… along this route to Lucca and, eventually, to Rome. Today, Codiponte is an active village of about 350 year-round inhabitants.
Il Poggiolo… means balcony in Italian. It is the name given by the locals to the house and surrounding garden. The property does appear to stick-out like a balcony out over the rest of the borgo… or, stone village. The house has two distinct sections… the old farm house… now called La Casa Grande… built with a series of angled roofs. The highest part was the long-standing living quarters of three rooms… now referred to as l’Appartamento Azzurro. The large expanse of roof below it were the hay barns, while in the cantina… or, basement were the stalls for the animals and rooms for making & storing olive oil, wine & other products of the farm surrounding the house complex. The other… La Casetta… is a residence constructed in the early 1700s in the Medici style to be La Casa Padronale… or, Master’s House, but was never completely finished. La Casetta is the part of il Poggiolo with the tall archway in the photo below.
Thank you.
Links…
If you have happened upon this blog first and would like to know about the vacation rentals available at il Poggiolo, please go to…
Insider Guide…
General…
Castles…

Bars, Convenience Stores, Local Services…

Bars…
Bar Lorianna… or, at least, that’s what we call it. It’s the only bar/tabaccaio in Codiponte. It is on the main road heading towards Casola in a bank of houses. Cigarettes to beer, ice-cream to playing video porker… Oh! Boy… to watching a soccer game on Sky-TV while sipping una birra dalla spina… or, a beer on tap. The bar is the Commercial & Cultural Center for the village and is open from 5:30AM until 2AM every day. And yes, 24/7.
Bar della Torre is in Casola in Lunigiana… the next town above Codiponte. It is open from early morning to late at night. There is a small alimentari… or, convenience store next it and catty-corner to both is a green grocer & magazine stand. What a combo!
Convenience Stores… in Codiponte
Alimentari Anna… right off the Piazza Civico in Codiponte. The shop is well stocked with the essentials from ricotta, milk to cleaning products, etc.. Take a left at the bottom of the ramps leading down from il Poggiolo and the shop is on the right in a terra-cotta stucco-ed house. Closed Wednesday afternoons and on Sundays. The owner is a very nice lady!
Alimentari Lorianna again, next door to the ONLY bar of Codiponte. Not nearly as well stocked as Alimentari Anna but, it does have good bread and an inordinate array of pasta.
Ortafrutta e Fiori… on the right coming across the Medieval Bridge. Closed Wednesday & Saturday afternoons and on Sunday.
Macelleria/Salumeria da Massimo on the corner of the main road, SS445, and the  street leading to/from the Medieval bridge. Massimo is of the best butchers in the Lunigiana, the beef eating-est country ever. People come from miles around to load up on his various cuts of beef, pork, veal &  chicken. He also has cheeses & eggs, cookies, pasta & wine.
Grocery Stores… in the vicinity
Carrefour Express… is in Gragnola, the next town below Codiponte. It is a small store with all the grocery-store basics… a butcher, cheeses & salamis, frozen foods to fresh fruits & vegetables, beer & wine, cleaning products, etc. Take the SS 445 towards Aulla. After the little village of Casette, there will be a street on the left between two houses with indications for Equi Terme. Make the left, cross the railroad tracks and the store is on the right, once the street has widen after entering the village. There is parking in front.
Conad… at Terrarossa is outside & north of Aulla on the SS62 for Villa Franca-in-Lunigiana & Pontremoli. The store is on the right & below the road and is situated in a complex of other shops & stores. Off & behind is a large building with a Brico Center, a self-service hardware store. The Conad is the most well furnished & price conscious of the grocery stores in the area.
D’Oro… is in Pallerone, a small village with an adjacent commercial district on a short-cut heading north out of Aulla on the SS63 to Fivizzano & Codiponte. It is a well furnished grocery store, a bit expensive but with an excellent butcher.
La Vecchia… is in Fivizzano. With Aulla behind you, make a left at the light on the SS63 as you enter the town. The entrance is on the left in between some 2-story buildings along a tree lined allee. Again, a well stocked grocery store in an historic town of the Lunigiana.
Post Offices…
The Codiponte Post Office… is open on Wednesday & Fridays from 8:30 to 1:30.
The Casola Post Office the next town above Codiponte… is open Mondays to Saturdays from 8:30 to 1:30. We go to this one right after a cappuccino at the Bar della Torre.
Pharmacies…
There are pharmacies in Casola, Gragnola, Monzone… after Gragnola heading to Equi… & Fivizzano. Among these towns, there is at least one open on Sundays & Holidays. Also, there are pharmacies in Pallerone & Aulla.  The pharmacy in Gragnola is the most convenient, well-stocked and we know the owner quite well.
Auto Repair…
Autoufficina da Sauro… is on a little lane after the Pieve di Codiponte… or, church. Sauro is the first stop for any car repair in the area.