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…

Restaurants…

Spino Fiorito... via per Vedriano, 7 Casola in Lunigiana – Telephone: 0585-949167 – Website: www.spinofiorito.it…
is on the SS445 heading up to the Carpenelli Passo, after Casola. Make a left for Reusa after the village of Vigneta. Very popular with the English. What brings them in is the pranzo price of Euro 10 for wine, primo, secondo, dessert, caffe’ & grappa, etc. There is a swimming pool, free with lunch. Also open for dinner.

Albergo Ristorante Sicomoro… Strada Statale 63 at Cormezzano – Telephone: 0585-99442 – Website: www.ilsicomoro.it… 
on the SS63 practically at the intersection with the short-cut for Codiponte through Gassano. Great for pranzo… Euro 15 gives you wine, primo, secondo & caffe’. The menu has many choices & variety. Lots of locals come to the restaurant, from construction workers to business men. Different clientele for dinner. Noted for an antipasto of various salami & savory pies. There is also a small hotel in the complex too.
Agriturismo La Pretola Santa Chiara Gragnola – Telephone: 333-5461443 or 346-4150548… is an agriturismo, a country-style hotel… with a wonderful restaurant outside Gragnola. It is the most sophisticated restaurant in the area. Excellent locally made wines are served. Open for dinner, Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations are helpful.
Albergo Ristorante da Remo… via Cesare Battisti, 57 – Monzone – Telephone: 0585-97933 – Website: www.hotelristdaremo.it…
there is a white stucco building with a porch on the right after an IP gas station. The food is quite good. Dreadful pink ambiance. And, too many lights on at dinner. My favourite dish is gnocchi di formaggio… or, cheese gnocchi… made like mini soufflés. Scrumptious. The restaurant is also known for its antipasto. Open for both lunch & dinner.
Albergo Ristorante della Posta… via Provinciale, 15 Equi Terme – Telephone: 0585-97937…
good Lunigiana food… il tagliata di manzo & rucola… or, sliced steak with arugula… tops on the list. A lovely woman runs the restaurant by the name of Carmen. Use my name!
Al Vecchio Tino… via Piave, 1 Monti dei Bianchi – Telephone: 0585-97733 – Website: www.alvacchiotino.com…
some people swear by this restaurant and others not. It is an agriturismo with a restaurant. Panoramic views of the Apuane Mountains and the Lunigiana.  Open for lunch & dinner.
Albergo Ristorante Pasquino… Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini, 22 Aulla – Telephone: 0187-420509…
an excellent restaurant with a simple yet stylishly modern ambiance. Noted for their panagacci… or, a flat bread cooked in terra-cotta dishes heated on an open fire. The bread is served with a creamy white cheese & various salamis. Yum-yum. The rest of the menu is top flight too.