With 68 Km of lenght, it is the broadest of the Ligurian valleys, featuring large green areas, pristine waters of the Vara river and the tributaries crossing it: Val di Vara is not just the green lung of La Spezia but also the first biological disctrict in Europe.
Over two-thirds of the province of La Spezia are part of Val di Vara , which with a basin of 545 square kilometers is one of the richest natural and cultural environments of Liguria. Historical region critical for the important connecting roads that cross the valley is traditionally linked to agricultural activities and crafts. The shift of economic activity from the hinterland to the coast and the development of the city of La Spezia has led to its gradual depopulation, but also to the preservation of its nature: now the Val di Vara rediscovers its natural vocation to biological crops and rediscovery of local tradition.
Some of the most important inland Ligurian medieval centers are included in the Val di Vara, real jewels of extraordinary beauty, silent witnesses to the complex history and borderland which had among its first inhabitants the indomitable Ligurians. Riccò del Golfo, Beverino, Bolano, Borghetto Vara, Brugnato, Calice al Cornoviglio, Carro, Carrodano, Maissana, Pignone, Rocchetta Vara, Sesta Godano, Varese Ligure, Zignago are only the most important of the small villages to be discovered, whose populations are jealous guardians of historical, religious, farming traditions in the province.
Among the ups and downs of the minor valleys crossed by a thousand and pristine streams, extend chestnut and olive groves, interspersed with fields and terraces planted with wheat, corn, wheat, barley, vegetables, orchards. Higher up, the pine forests and the forests of larch, beech trees of the Cento Croci, Casoni and Rastrello passes open up to the extraordinary horizons of the Cinque Terre, in the Val di Taro and Val di Magra. Downstream, the confluence of the Vara River with the Magra river, at the foot of Vezzano Ligure, demarcates the border with the Val di Magra, in the most populated area today hinterland of La Spezia.
The call to the protection of nature and the bio cultures was the motivation that prompted the municipalities of Val di Vara to create the first organic district in Europe: an area in which farmers, citizens, tour operators, associations and governments agree to a sustainable management of resources, according to the biological model of production and consumption (short chain, buying groups, public bio canteens) and for the promotion of organic products and eco-tourism. Today, the town of Varese Ligure (among the most beautiful villages in Italy) produces energy from renewable sources equivalent to 5 times the needs of its inhabitants, and it has ben awarded the prize for excellence in the environmental policy of the Orange flag of the Italian Touring Club .