Oh, sweet Tuscany! Land of romance, land of art, land of history and, unfortunately, land of dreambreaking prices. How often we hear the lamentation, “we love Tuscany, but it’s just too expensive to move there. We’ll have to settle for something else”. Well, before folding-up the Tuscany real estate dream and filing it under “I” for “Impossible”, folks just might want to open their eyes to some of the region’s lesser-known areas. There is still property in Tuscany that doesn’t automatically have dealbreaking price tags attached. In particular, we’d like our foreign investors to focus attention on the Lunigiana, land of castles.
The Lunigiana territory is divided between the regions of Tuscany and Liguria, though the original boundaries of Lunigiana correspond to those established during ancient Roman rule. At one time there were more than 100 castles in the area, but only a few dozen have survived, relatively intact, to the present day. A few castle highlights are listed here:
Pontremoli – One of the largest castles of the Lunigiana, the Castello del Piagnaro, is located in Pontremoli. The small city also houses numerous churches, and the city is noted for its summer book celebration, the annual Premio Bancarella.
Fivizzano – Fivizzano is a delight for those seeking a taste of medieval times, and the Castello della Verrucola is a good example of how castles and their villages were laid out.
Massa – Overlooking the city of Massa and the Tyrrhenian coastline is the famed Rocca Malaspina. This wonder of the Middle Ages is said to have given Dante Alighieri some of the inspiration for his “Divine Comedy”.
Fosdinovo – The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo was built in the middle of the 12th Century. Today, the castle serves as a bed & breakfast inn, and as a retreat for writers and artists.
Of course, castles and ruins aren’t the only attractions in the area. Modern shops, museums and restaurants are all nearby. Crafters and artisans are scattered throughout the region, and area wines are legendary. Local fisherman reap bountiful harvests from the Tyrrhenian Sea, and the climate and geography favor the production olive oil and honey. A meal in the Lunigiana isn’t complete without a dessert and, in the Lunigiana, the ubiquitous chestnut rules. Castagnaccio, chestnut cake, accompanied by a glass of Vin Santo, is the perfect topper to a holiday meal.
Foreigners make up about 7% of the area population, though that number is likely to grow as more and more non-Italians find out that they can have a Tuscan address without paying the usually dizzying Tuscany real estate prices. It is easy to see property in Tuscany where the prices are more accommodating for foreign home buyers on our portal. Visitors from Germany, UK, USA and France are among those seeking a little piece of Tuscany without forfeiting an arm-and-a-leg to do so. The quality of life in the area is very high, but not necessarily the prices.