Apuan Alps’ Regional Park, constituted in 1985 by Tuscany Region, includes the mountainous complex which extends for about thirty km towards North-East, South-West simultaneously to the Tyrrhenian coast between two provinces, Lucca and Massa Carrara, involving 15 Municipalities of Garfagnana, Mid Serchio Valley, Alta Versilia and Lunigiana.
The Municipalities of Garfagnana valley are: Minucciano, Vagli Sotto, Careggine, Gallicano, Molazzana, Fabbriche di Vergemoli.
Through the thick woods which surround it and which pass from Mediterranean zone’s vegetation to chestnut groves and beech trees of the more elevated heights, stick out majestic marble faces, high pinnacles and Dolomitic peaks, incredible stone arches, among them the most famous is the Forato Mountain one, which defy time and renew every year the magic of summer solstice.
The geographical structure of those mountains is at the origin of this environment so rugged and charming, Apuan are limestone mountains, largely marble and exactly the latter represents the main characteristic, but also the first reason of decay.
From centuries in Apuan Alps the marble is extracted, but nowadays the extractive technologies are so advanced to let unbelievable excavation rhythms only fifty years ago when big white blocks still descended slowly downstream through “via di lizza” detained only by the force of “lizzatori”.
A careful and regulated management of this priceless resource is at the bottom of all territory’s safeguard, the challenge and the credibility of the Park are exactly in its skill to succeed in creating new economies relative to protection and touristic and environmental value thanks to the creation of job roles different from the ones offered by excavation and its coil‘s economy
The potentials to work for this new developmental model are enough, geological places of international relevance were census and given credit to by UNESCO, historical places for rocks’ excavation came to be part of the “GeoPark”, all the apuan karst system finds wide resonance and scientific divulgation in three touristic caves: the famous “Grotta del Vento” in Fornovolasco, the cave in Equi Terme in Lunigiana and the Cavern of Corchia’s Levigliani.
A complete exposition of apuan plant life, characterized by the presence of rare endemisms, can be found in the Botanical Garden “Pellegrini – Ansaldi” in Pian della Fioba, meanwhile areas as Campocatino, Puntato, Vergheto, Alpe di S.Antonio, San Luigi or Capanne del Giovo which remind us the age when in Apuans people lived of sheep farming and agriculture and the woods were used for the carbon production.
The pilot experience of the Bosa Geopark farm in Careggine shows how farming in the mountains can also create job opportunities.
Mount Pisanino, with its 1947 m, is the highest top of the Apuan Alps, but every peak has its own shape which distinguishes it and also its legend, here the traditions are still important, to spend some days in one of the many little villages or simply going for a walk along the paths recommended by CAI to join a welcoming refuge close to the river, can leave you unique sensations, you can fall in love with those mountains.
The possibilities of hiking by foot, riding a horse or a bicycle are numerous and have to take them into account carefully depending on the season and on the own training, the Visitor Centres of the Park and the Points of Orientation open during the summer can suggest excursions and itineraries to visit giving also detailed material as guides and maps, are at disposal for single or group accompanying during one or more days.