Route of 200 km both on the coast and inland of the region Tuscany. We start in Carrara to drive through Pisan hills, slowly on Etruscan coastline getting finally to Maremma.
Four stop-overs between history, wine and kitchen, sport and leisure.
TIME: 7 days from Carrara to Grosseto.
Distance : 350 km
Good for families and good food lovers!
What to bring: bike, good shoes, swimming wear. Best time : spring, summer and autumn. Get ready! Load bikes or scooters.. No need for food on board!
It is indicated, relevant to each stop over where to stop caravans or campers, where to eat, where you can get a tool for your veranda, a motor mechanic in case of breakdown, and finally what to buy or to do in free time.
I’m pleased to share my personal experience in full and details.
Stop-over 1 CARRARA AND IT’S MARBLE.
Carrara is strategically located to visit 5 Terre, but its territory stretches from Alpi apuane to Mar tirreno. This means that you can pass from marble mountain tops (Alpi Apuane) thru Candia DOC vineyard hills town to sandy beaches of Mar Tirreno. This in a few km only. Located in Northern Tuscany Carrara is well placed to visit a celebrated touristic area:5 Terre . What turns Carrara unique? Everything in town is made of marble, the famous Carrara marble: from buildings, palaces, churches, gateways, sidewalks to windows and balconies.
Where to stop your camper or caravan?
Camping Area Time Break ETS. Perfect for the whole family, open all year long, is located on Marina di Massa. Beach and supermarket are at 500 mt walk. A free shuttle grants connection to the port where boats sail for cinque Terre. The area has 25 flat lay by spaces, excellent for campers and caravans ; electricity connection and water suplly are provided Bathrooms, showers, cold and warm. Inside and outside (summer use) are at disposal of the guests, together with laundry, barbecue area, bar and two large sitting rooms for winter time.
In summer, swimming pool (handicap fit), beach volley area and fitness trail are available close to the reception. A hardware shop is located at the entrance where you can buy gas bottles for caravans and campers. If you decide to stay but do not have any vehicle, two caravans which can host up to 4 people each, are at your disposal inside time break ETS. Pets are welcome.
What to see and what to do :two days in Carrara.
Marble quarries are unique, a must. They are in the middle of very high, brighting, white marble mountains. They are regarded as the largest marble district of the world, stretching among three valleys, Colonnata, Misiglia and Torano. Out of these quarries, ancient romans got the marble to rebuild Rome and same brighting white stone was used throughout the empire to create statues and monuments. Same marble can be found throughout Italy in museums and palaces ; it was sculpted by the greatest artists ever :Donatello, Michelangelo, Bernini among others, and has been largely used to present days. Just ask for a visit at reception of area camper time break, to settle timetable and stopovers at your choice. During the visits you can watch sculptors at work, creating their works thanks to chisels… You may learn how they can shape a figure which already “lays” inside de marble block.
CINQUE TERRE FROM SEA
Thanks to the private shuttle of Camping Area Time Break ETS you can reach Marina di Carrara, then on boat. Profit of the day to visit cinque Terre. You will be delighted to land the tiny Riomaggiore gulf, get missed in the tiny streets and alleys of Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, upto the farther Monterosso. In Riomaggiore starts the famous via dell’amore, a trail carved and dug on the rocks that leads to Manarola. The trail is wonderful :you are walking in the nature, hearing waves crashing on the cliffs. Your mobile will profit of the colours of the sea and the houses casted on the coastline. To get to Corniglia you need good legs! A mighty brick-made stair with 33 ramps and 377 steps called Lardarina… Stands in the middle.. Or walk on the road across the railway. In any case, that’s worthwhile!! If you decide not to get back by boat, you can return by train and arrange a lift with Camping Area Time Break Ets. To lunch, my suggestion….
RIDING CARRARA :3 CYCLE PATHS for the whole family
Carrara district has a hidden secret : a network of exciting cycle paths for the whole family. The paths I’m talking about are suitable for everyone and for all bikes. Just take a couple of sacks with a bottle of water, a first aid kit and a wind-stopper trench or jacket.
The first route, Candia hills, stretches for about 15 km with a light difference in altitude only. The track is both paved and unpaved. It starts in piazza Aranci, goes on thru largo Matteotti and via Pacinotti and finally turn on viale Trieste. Ride over via Foce; at Mirteto follow indications to Pieve San Vitale. Then at piazza libertà turn on the left, first, then on the right up to Ponte del Vescovo. Beware!! A climb is waiting but don’t mind… 3 km of easy riding will then bring you to a restaurant. Take a breath, one more km on unpaved track and you will get to via Foce
Second route stand for the beauty of the landscape. It stretches over 16 km, both paved and unpaved, and it is regarded as easy to ride. From Cinquale port ride along the river with same name. After the motorway overpass in via Bregoscia, turn on the left at the viale Marina crossroad.
Follow indications to Arianella and then to Lago di Porta. Once at Cascine Mattioli, you come across a bright pink rural cottage. From here on, a circuit of 4 km around Lago di Porta, partly on the lake bank and partly on unpaved path through reeds, fields and streams. Get back to Renella traffic light towards Montignoso. After Aurelia crossroad, turn on the right close to the graveyard towards Castello Aghinolfi At Prato’s Bridge turn on the right, climb up the hill path to the castle and finally turn on the left. Take via Guadagni and, at via resistenza crossroad, turn to get yo Cinquale again. Third is more ambitious and difficult. It stretches over 37 km through appennino tosco emiliano national park. It presents significant differences in altitude. This means that good gear ratios are necessary together with trained legs. An electric bike is a good option. From Pontremoli take SS62 of Cisa,, direction Parma. You get to Mignegno. From here o the road climbs up to SS 42 of Passo del Cirone. Now up and downhill up to Molinello as far as the crossroad for Lagarghena. The road is now unpaved and climbs for 4 km as far as the crossroad for Rifugio Enrico Mattei. Turn on left to get to the refuge : a wonderful mountain landscape is expecting. Now ride back as far as the beginning of the paved road to reach departure point.
WHAT TO PLACE in the cupboard of your wehicles.
Colonnata is a must : a small village encircled by imposing marble mountains. Marble has been used since 1500 to put to mature the famous lardo di colonnata (slow food location). Basins made of marble are used to set slices of lardo and relevant salty juice, made of pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, sage and rosemary. The basin is covered and periodically checked and finally opened after 6-10 months,
When the lard is mature
The lard is for antipasto, pizza or bruschettas but excellent for sandwiches as well. The village is place for many larderie where you can buy the lard or have a snack with some local wine or bread, like Marrocca bread made with chestnut flour.