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View 
                  
 of the valley below Papavero with the 
                  Apuan 
 Alps behind

The ideal place for a perfect tuscany villa holiday - a beautifully restored historic farmhouse, set in the unspoilt countryside of Lunigiana

The Appennines

Tuscany Villa Holiday>In Lunigiana>Walking & Climbing>The Appennines

This mountain range forms the backbone of Italy and extends for 1400 km (870 miles) from the French border to the southern tip of Italy and across to Sicily. It is largely comprised of sedimentary sandstone layers, deposited in a long-lost sea some 250 million years ago.

The mountain range was created between 66 and 2 million years ago, somewhat later than the Alps, but resulting from the same collision of the African and European tectonic plates.

The local regions of Lunigiana and Garfagnana boast a number of appennine mountains around 2000 m. The range is characterised by gorges and lakes and is similar in feel and appearance to the eastern Alps, but with considerable variations in character between individual peaks.

Monte Prado, the highest of the local peaks rises to its summit (2054m) via gentle slopes clothed in blueberry bushes, whereas Crinale dei Laghi, at only 1800m, has a sharp knife edge summit and a variety of vertiginous rocky cliffs. Click on Photos-Albums-Slideshows to see a slideshow of photos taken whilst walking in the Appennines.


Tuscany Villa holiday - In Lunigiana - Walking 
                  
 & Climbing - The Appennines1

Tuscany Villa holiday - In Lunigiana - Walking 
                  
 & Climbing - The Appennines2

The mountain range is comprehensively served by refuges, footpaths, tracks and climbs which are well maintained by the Italian Alpine Club (CAI). There is also a variety of via ferratas, many of which can be incorporated as optional extras into challenging day walks. 

These features are all well documented on a variety of maps at both 1:50,000 and 1:25,000. There are also a number of long distance paths, most famously the Grande Escursione Appennica which travels the whole length of the Appennine range.

Tuscany Villa holiday - In Lunigiana - Walking 
                  
 & Climbing - The Appennines3 Tuscany Villa holiday - In Lunigiana - Walking 
                  
 & Climbing - The Appennines4

A history involving centuries of deforestation has been reversed in recent times by a huge investment in tree replanting and in 1995 a new national park was formed to manage the northern region of the Appennines, the Parco Nazionale Dell Appennino Tosco Emiliano.

During the latter years of World War 2 the region was at the centre of German fortifications to prevent the Allies moving northwards, known as the Gothic Line. Some of these fortifications are still visible today, and numerous war cemeteries and memorials serve as reminders of the human cost.

Much of this history, along with an explanation of modern initiatives to develop and protect the environment is available from the National Park visitor centres whose details are provided on its web site. There is also a new web site still under development.

Further useful information, including details of appennine flora and fauna can be obtained from a web site devoted to Garfagnana & The Sercchio Valley .

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