There are more museums in Lunigiana than one would expect, including several in interesting buildings. All of the museums are relatively small, but some are tiny, some only allow group visits and others focus mainly on research. So which ones are the best to visit?
Museums in castles
Top of the list of museums in Lunigiana, in my view, is the Museum of Stele Statues in Pontremoli. It is not huge, but it has a great display of original and reproduction stele statues. You also get the chance to wander around Piagnaro Castle with its fabulous view across Pontremoli. (Opening hours: check the website or phone 0187.831439)
If you enjoyed exploring Piagnaro Castle, you should also like the Museum of Natural History based in the Fortezza della Brunella in Aulla. You can visit the roof of the fortress, where there once existed the most amazing garden built by the Waterfields at the beginning of the 20th Century. Again, wonderful views across Lunigiana. (Opening hours: check the or telephone: 0187 400252; 0187 409077)
A museum in an abbey
If you’re planning on visiting the Abbey of San Caprasio in Aulla, take the time to pop into the museum. The museum explains the excavations that took place in the church and the relics that were discovered. If your Italian is up to it, you can arrange for a volunteer to take you round. (Opening hours: check the website or phone 0187-420148)
Museums in old water mills
The Ethnographic Museum in Villafranca has a number of displays documenting the socio-economic changes that took place in the region in the late 1800s, early 1900s. The museum is located in a building that was part of a watermill dating back the the 14th century. (Opening hours: phone 0187-493417 – 0187 494400)
The Museum of the Cultural Park of the Caves of Equi Terme is located in a 15th century watermill. The museum documents the natural history of the area, the history of human settlement dating from the Neaderthal age, as well the archaeological research that has taken place. (Opening hours: phone 0585 942152)
A museum in a palazzo
The Museum of Printing in Fivizzano is located in the Palazzo Fantoni, historic home of the Fantoni family and home of the famous poet from Lunigiana, Gionvanni Fantoni. The museum commemorates the link between Lunigiana and the earliest days of the printing industry and has some interesting exhibits. The museum opens to coincide with festivals in Fivizzano, otherwise you need to make an appointment to visit. (Opening hours and appointments: telephone 0585942152, 0585942128)
Other museums in Lunigiana
- Museo Archivio della Memoria, Bagnone
- Centro Documentazione e Produzione Didattica, Sorano, Filattiera
- Museo del Lavoro, Monzone, Fivizzano
- Museo Audiovisivo della Resistenza, Fosdinovo
- Museo dell’Emigrazione della Gente di Toscana, Lusuolo
- Archivio Museo dei Malaspina, Mulazzo
- Museo Diocesano di Pontremoli
View the official website on museums in Massa Carrara for more information on all the museums (in Italian).
If you’re looking for a guide to show you round the different museums, including the smaller ones, I recommend Francesco at Turismo in Lunigiana, telephone 328.3120525. Francesco’s knowledge is encyclopaedic and you are guaranteed a completely different experience. He also has the magic keys that let you into the museums that are rarely open.
The best museums to visit in Lunigiana appeared on Ciao Lunigiana on 25 February 2013. All rights reserved.