top village. Continue for 2.5km along the SS62 then turn left onto the SP30 (direction Bagnone) and
drive 2.3km. In Mocrone enjoy great views of fortified Malgrate teetering on the hillside on
your left; break for lunch at old-world village inn Locanda Gavarini ( Click here ).
About 4km after Mocrone, Bagnone is distinctive for its castle, church and eateries. Stretch
your legs with a walk above the fiercely gushing river and its dramatic gorges; pick up the 30-minute
trail from Piazza Roma and end on main street Via della Republicca. The final leg across the mediev-
al, stone-paved Ponte Vecchio is the stuff of poetry.
From Bagnone, backtrack to Mocrone and onwards towards Villafranca, veering slightly left onto
the SP29 to reach the walled medieval hamlet of
Filetto . Park outside the monumental gate and
wander through its tiny piazzas and narrow lanes.
Arriving in Villafranca di Lunigiana 1.5km south, you're on another key stop on the pilgrim
route. Set on the Magra river, it is an unassuming place with a small ethnographical museum in an old
15th-century flour mill.
End the tour 12km south in Aulla , known for its abbey founded in AD 884 and housing the re-
mains of St Caprasio, the hermit monk who inspired the spread of monastic life in Provence from the
TOP OF CHAPTER
It may be small, but this out-of-the-way town presided over by the impressive bulk of
Castello del Piagnaro has a decidedly grand air - a legacy of its strategic location on the
pilgrimage and trading route of Via Francigena . Its merchants made fortunes in medieval
times, and adorned the centro storico with palaces, piazzas and graceful stone bridges.
The centro storico is a long sliver stretching north-south between the Magra and Verde
rivers, which have historically served as defensive barriers. Meandering its streets takes
you beneath colonnaded arches, through former strongholds of opposing Guelph and Ghi-
belline factions, and past a 17th-century cathedral and an 18th-century theatre.
Castello del Piagnaro
winter) From central Piazza della Repubblica and adjacent Piazza del Duomo, walk along
Via Garibaldi then bear left along Vietata l'Affissione or Sdrucciolo del Castello, two