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Pontremoli is not on the tourist map for the British, although it is on the Via Francigena, which was the ancient road from Canterbury to Rome. This medieval town is guarded by an ancient castle.

The town square has several cafes and a number of restaurants, which cater for the locals and are priced as such, as opposed to being hiked up for tourists.

The landscape of northern Tuscany is very different to that of southern Tuscany. You will not find cypress trees or olive groves here. Instead it is very rugged and mountainous. There are fig trees and numerous chestnut trees. Chestnuts are very important for the local economy and a speciality is pasta made from chestnut flour.

The town sits on the river Magra. It is an authentic medieval town with tall buildings, narrow streets and a beautiful cathedral and town square.  One of the cafes here is renowned for its custard tarts.

Pontremoli has a railway station with regular services to La Spezia from where you can take the boat to the World Heritage site of Cinque Terre. Alternatively, if you travel east, the train takes you to Parma, home to the world famous ham and, of course, Parmesan cheese.

This is ideally positioned for visiting unknown towns of northern Tuscany such as Bagnone, Filatteria and many others.

Lunigiana is called “the region of 1,000 castles”.

Pontremoli is approximately a one hour transfer from Pisa airport.