Via Francigena

Day 61 – Castelnuovo Magra to Massa: everything is turning into marble 

The stage

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👣 21 km on foot – Saturday 21 August 

Ciao ciao, Liguria! We left Castelnuovo Magra and soon arrived in Luni, where we visited the ancient Roman amphitheater, accompanied both by the mayor of Castelnuovo Magra and the mayor of Luni. The pilgrim’s stick was handed over to the mayor of Luni and we officially left the region of Liguria, entering, once and for all, the region of Tuscany, which we will now be crossing until the end of August.

At the border between the regions, we found a beautiful mural wall telling the story of Luni (there is even the image of a pilgrim)! Here we met the mayor of Carrara, who received the pilgrim’s stick and walked with us towards Avenza. This section is quite flat and straightforward, but I was struck by two gorgeous Via Francigena fountains, made out of the famous local marble of Carrara. One of them really impressed me: you turn a little marble wheel and water comes out of a marble frog’s mouth! How did they even make such precise details, out of such a solid stone?

In Avenza, the church bells were ringing loudly for our arrival! The priest was standing outside the church waving at us, and locals took pictures…wow! We had a quick visit of the town and a tour of the medieval tower, then had our lunch accompanied by ‘Carrarina’, a local creamy rice cake.

We had to continue towards Massa, and we started going uphill under a strong summer heat, in the peak hours of the day, finding ourselves sweating big drops along the trail. Yet, the view of the sea on our right, and of the Apuan Alps on our left, with lots of vineyards surrounding us, made it totally worth it. We kept finding ripe blackberry bushes along the route (it’s exactly their season!), keeping our sugar levels high. There are so many that it is impossible to eat them all – if you’re walking behind us, don’t worry! There is plenty for all of us!

We finally sweated our way into Borgo del Ponte, a peripherical area of Massa, where we crossed a bridge leading us into the city. Here, we received a very warm welcome from the municipality, accompanied by a parade with traditional costumes, and received a certificate: a testimonium of our passage in Massa. I had never been here, and I must say I am surprised by its beauty: charming squares in the center and a majestic castle overwatching the city. The hostel we will soon sleep in, guested by the municipality and the city’s tourism office, is also very much worthy a stop.

Today was our last day on foot: tomorrow we’re back on our bikes for a few days! I love cycling in Toscana!!

HIGHLIGHTS 

– walking in a stripe between sea and mountains

– very warm welcomes from all municipalities along the stage

– picking yummy and energetic wild blackberries!

TODAY’S WALKERS 

Myra Stals, Social Media Manager (EAVF)

Luca Faravelli, Project Manager (EAVF)

Sara Massarotto, Movimento Lento

Alice & Francesco, RTR Ambassadors (@viaggiaconalice)

Marcella Biserni, Ragazze in Gamba

Massimo & Daniele (@walkingforcharity & @il_cammino_per_salus_pueri)

Rossella & Mario, a couple from Sardegna who joined us on today’s stage

Filippo Racanella, videomaker

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