Once again with thanks to visittuscany.com, we bring you their “Touring Pontremoli”
Our tour begins in Pontremoli, the northernmost town in Tuscany and the historic capital of the Upper Lunigiana. With the Verde stream and the Magra river both running through it, Pontremoli is also known as the “city of bridges”.
History books call the period from the mid-600s to the mid-nineteenth century the city’s Golden Age. Behind the facades of its palaces and churches, Pontremoli hides important Baroque masterpieces. To get an idea of these, just visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta with a Neoclassical marble-lined façade and the unusual Nostra Donna Church, a fine example of Rococo architecture.
Walk through the stone streets of the Piagnaro district and climb up to the Castle. Standing on a hilltop, it was built in the 11th century for defensive purposes. Today, it hosts the Statue Stele Museum, home to a collection of about 25 megalithic mysterious statues engraved in sandstone by peoples who lived in the area between the IV and the I millennium b.C.
In the afternoon, stop in at the Caffè degli Svizzeri to get your sweets fix. Founded in 1842, it has evolved into a Pontremoli icon and is the ideal place to taste some local specialties, such as Amor, a traditional pastry of custard and wafers. End the day with a testaroli-based dinner (local pasta cooked in special cast-iron pots) and chestnut fritters topped with fresh ricotta.
A local legend: the dark and narrow streets of the Piagnaro district have inspired lore about that the werewolf or Lupo mannaro. Werewolf sightings are said to have taken place right here. Legend has it that to stay safe you must climb three steps and never, ever look into his eyes. There’s just one problem: finding a house or building in the area with three steps to climb is a bit of a challenge. Most just have two. Moral of the story? Try not to let local superstition sway you into spotting him, or you’ll be up a creek without a paddle. And certainly not up any stairs.