My descriptions of the historical territory of La Lunigiana in northern Tuscany tend to drift toward the tranquil beauty of mountains and valleys, the idyllic countryside that brings us a variety of good things to eat.
But there is adventure here, too, in the place I make my Italian home. Places where the earth cracks and exposes a colorful center. A river runs through it. Call it a fluvial gorge. Take a guided trip. Learn things you never knew before from a hidden corner of Tuscany.
Stretti di Giaredo
Stretti di Giaredo is located between Pontremoli and Zeri.
Pontremoli is a beautiful medieval village wedged between Magra and Verde rivers. It’s a major stop along the Via Francigena in the northern part of the Lunigiana in Northern Tuscany and is one of the larger towns of the Lunigiana. It’s famous for its Stele Statue Museum housed in the Castello del Piagnaro, a great attraction with fine views of the valley formed by the two rivers.
Zeri is a loose conglomeration of tiny hamlets to the west of Pontremoli, known for its Zeri Lamb, a product whose artisan production methods haven’t changed in a great long while.
You can find out about how to reach and enjoy Stretti di Giaredo from the great website that’s been recently uploaded. The English side of the site is fine, and you can find out what natural things you can do while hiking and swimming the straits.
But what’s really interesting to me is the Good Behaviour page.
…thanks to a growing attention caused by social networks and by the spread of beautiful pictures, over recent years they have been visited by an increasingly large number of tourists, especially during the warmer months of the year.
Yes, there seem to be way more tourists these days and they’re bent on taking bits of things they’ll probably never look at again, like pieces of rock wall, ancient pot sherds, and other things that can land you in jail if you get caught.
I like the idea of telling folks how they should behave. The experience is the thing. Take all the photos you like. Leave everything for the next person to gawk at. On the other hand, what can it hurt to take a little something home as a memento?
Here’s something that’s astounding. Folks take sand in Sardinia home in plastic bottles. How much sand could be missing?
In three summer months in 2015 alone, as much as five tonnes of sand was seized at Elmas airport, local reports say. Sand was also seized at the island’s other airports in Alghero and Olbia. Steal Sardinia’s Sand and Face a Fine
And that’s just what they found!
The nice thing about the behavior page is that it isn’t just a boring list of rules you look at and forget. It’s all explained to you.
It can happen, if you are a careful observer, to see particular white formations which slide along the wall imitating the stalactites: they are calcareous concretions which grow very slowly and their structures are extremely fragile. Observe the secular work of the water dripping, but without influence it: do not lean, do not touch and do not remove these formations.
If you wish to do this tour right, then I highly recommend the guided tour, because there’s so much you’ll want to know about the unique aspects of this site. The guides, according to a variety of online sources, are fabulous.
Have fun in the Lunigiana.