La Via dei pani delle Apuane

Bread is a big deal in the Lunigiana, as it is pretty much throughout Italy—meaning you can always get a good, innexpensive loaf of bread here. Not just what we think of as “Italian Bread,” but all sorts of variations, some of which are in danger of extinction.

Recently the province of Massa-Carrara and Slowfood got together to celebrate the unique breads baked along the Apuane alps with La Via dei pani delle Apuane, a route that takes you past the wood ovens of fine Breadmakers in the Lunigiana and Garfagnana.

The breads that you may not be familiar with are Marocca di Casola, a dense bread made with chestnut flour. Chestnuts made up a huge part of the Lunigiana diet in the recent past. Pane Marocco is made of corn and hard wheat flower with olives and their brine, garlic, rosemary, and also sage. It’s a meal in itself. There’s also potato bread and corn bread to be sampled along the route.

In 1887 there were 427 water driven grain mills in the Lunigiana. Now thy’re mostly in ruin. Only 18 are left.

Be a responsible tourist. Try the local chow, especially the stuff that’s going extinct. It’s worth the effort.

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La Via dei pani delle Apuane originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com , updated: Sep 14, 2005 © .

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