Property in Tuscany: Pontremoli, Lunigiana

November 15th, 2008 | by Ainsley |

Tuscany is Italy’s most visited region and draws tens of thousands of visitors each year to meccas such as Florence, Pisa, Siena, Chianti and Cortona.

But there are numerous parts of the region neglected by visitors and investors looking to buy property in Tuscany. One such area is Lunigiana, stretching from the Magra River to the Apennine mountains.

Some of the most affordable property in Tuscany is to be found here. Just €25,000 can get you a rustic home in Tuscany to restore while €55,000 will secure a town house.

And one of Lunigiana’s most charming towns is Pontremoli (which takes its name for the Italian for “trembling bridge”), close to the Emilia-Romagna border.

Pontremoli, in the province of Massa-Carrara, boasts millennia of culture, one of the many reasons why many people planning to buy property in Tuscany have been drawn here.

The picturesque town has around 8,000 inhabitants and is split by two rivers, the Magra and the Verde. It dates from around 1,000AD and in Roman times was known as Apua.

In the Middle Ages it was an important stop on the Via Francigena, the route pilgrims took from the Canterbury in England to Rome.

Evidence of Pontremoli’s rich history is to be found in its numerous churches, castles and medieval monuments. Its castle, Castello del Piagnaro, dates from the 11th century, when Pontremoli first rose to prominence as a market town, in large part because it was at the confluence of a number of roads.

The building – which takes its name from the piagne slate common in the area – is on the hillside above the town and boasts a marvellous view over it and the surrounding countryside. It is also home to the Museum of Stele Statues – humanoid figurines the most ancient of which is thought to be 5,000 years old.

Pontremoli’s impressive 17th century Duomo (cathedral) is in Piazza del Duomo, on the east bank of the Magra River and in the heart of its old town. This part of Pontremoli boasts characteristic examples of real estate in Tuscany as it is home to historic palazzos and apartments.

The scenic belltower alongside the Duomo began life in the 14th century, when it was erected as the middle of three watchtowers in a wall that kept apart the feuding Ghibellini and Guelfi religious factions. In the 16th century it was converted into the present-day tower.

This area, also encompassing Piazza della Repubblica behind the Duomo and tower, has numerous restaurants, cafes and shops. The two scenic squares are perfect for relaxing in with an ice cream or a cappuccino.

Other churches worth seeing include the churches of San Francesco, Santissima Annunziata Nostra Donna, San Nicolo and San Geminiano.

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