Pontremoli is the most northern town of Tuscany, and can be considered as the Capital of Lunigiana. 


It lays on the Magra River, which runs through the historical region, along the Via Francigena, the route that connected Rome to France, and close to the mountain passes that allowed trading from northern Italy to the sea. It had therefore a strategical position, disputed throughout history among the feudal families of the Middle Age and the Renaissance times. The castle of Pontremoli, known as the Piagnaro Castle (from the piagne – local name for shingles – used to make its roof), is a very imposing building, the reference point for wars and trade taking place in the area. 

An interesting name, talking about a bridge

Regarding the origin of its interesting name, it could possibly be from the Latin “pontem (or pons) (populus) tremula”, – due to the presence of an ancient bridge, today lost, on the Magra river, probably built in Populus tremula wood (Aspen wood), which already appears in the very first emblems of the town. Another hypothesis is that the adjective “tremula” (trembling) is due to the precariousness of the bridge, subject to the numerous floods that have always affected the area.

The legendary Apua?

It has been suggested that Pontremoli is in fact the legendary Apua, capital of the Ligurian Apuani, the Apuan civilisation that after centuries of resistance, were defeated by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. The Apuani were deported to Sannio in Latium because with their prolongued guerrilla war, they prevented the occupation of the surrounding territory by the Legions. 

Some Apuis, however, managed to retreat towards the mountains, remaining hidden in the thick woods and in the inaccessible valleys. The remains of ancient Apua would have been recognized near the Belvedere district of Saliceto, along the course of the Magra river, about 3 kilometers from today’s Pontremoli. 

In addition to giving its name to the Ligurian tribes, Apua gave its name to the nearby so-told Apuan Alps, which, of course only resemble the Alps. They are higher than the mountains of the upper Tuscan sub-Apennines, located further south.

A beautiful architecture

The village of Pontremoli features many important architectural features, that reflect the important dominations throughout history – lords were often able to invest their fortune in luxury mansions. 

Pontremoli was also an important religious centre, part of the Luni bishopric, a reference point for the Church in northern Italy.

The Campanone or Cacciaguerra tower, located between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Repubblica, is the bell tower symbol of the town. Built in the fourteenth century by the will of Castruccio Castracani as part of a fortified system that divided the city into two parts, it was adapted for use in the sixteenth century.

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Pontremoli Highlights

The Cathedral

Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Popolo, built in the 17th century with valuable sculptures and paintings. The dome of the cathedral dominates the profile of the town.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Popolo

The Amor

Try the Amor, the small delicious wafer-like pastry designed and offered by the historical Café degli Svizzeri, in the very centre of the town: a relaxing and tasty moment with literary reminescence.

The Amor, a delicious wafer-like pastry

The Museum of the Stele Statues

Visita il Museo delle Stele delle Statue, uno dei patrimoni più antichi e misteriosi di questa terra, remote testimonianze scolpite nella pietra risalenti al III secolo a.C., sculture stilizzate di personaggi maschili e femminili con alcuni elementi caratteristici del loro armamento o dei loro gioielli.

A Stele statue

The Stretti di Giaredo

Explore the Stretti di Giaredo, a few miles from the town, impressive canyons dug by the impetuous waters of the Gordana stream in thousands of years.
A canyon in the Stretti di Giaredo

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