The surroundings of Framura
Framura offers to the visitor a large number of hints for a walk, a visit to parishes and small churches or one day to discover real Liguria. In the surroundings there is so much to discover…
The town of Bonassola is worth a visit especially for the typical church of Madonnina della Punta. This church has a very particular structure, a very suggestive position and the panorama you can enjoy from here is really enchanting. In Bonassola not to miss is also the church of S. Caterina, built in the half part of the 16th Century and restored in baroque age.
You can also visit the quarries of the famous “Levanto marble red”, a valuable marble used in ancient times to floor religious buildings. The Bonassola quarry is still open, while the one in Deiva Marina, located in the locality “Presenea” nearby the campsite area is worn-out (even if some tourists go there to have a particular “souvenir”).
In Bonassola you will have the possibility to visit a botanical garden, by the church of Madonnina della Punta, famous for its exotic but also for its native plants, like roses, azaleas and orchids. You can also admire the rests of a castle of the 16th Century, used as defence against pirate raids. A curiosity: during the works for the building of the railway line, a part of the castle was destroyed to leave space to railway tracks…
Deiva Marina is located few kilometres from Framura, and it is a nice seaside resort famous for its long sandy and pebble beach equipped with a lot of bathing establishments: the ideal place if you love sea and sun. Deiva Marina has also a very good position, half way between Portofino and Cinque Terre, easy to reach by train or by boat during summer.
In Deiva Marina you can visit the 18th Century church Sant’Antonio Abate, and worth seeing are also the ruins of the old castle of Da Passano: the Family da Passano come from the Earls of Lavagna and made of Deiva Marina its feud. This family governed the area among Moneglia, Vernazza and the Bracco until 10th Century. The feud afterwards passed to the Republic of Genoa, who let built in Deiva Marina two sighting towers, whose rests are still visible today (the first, in the old town, is well-preserved, the second, nearby the sea, is almost completely collapsed). In the homonymous hamlet of Deiva Marina you can find the ruins of the above mentioned castle, which was destroyed by the Genoese in 1173.
In Deiva Marina the old train tunnels are still visible from the sea. They were no longer used during the 30ies, when the railway line was moved northwards to avoid sea erosion.
Deiva Marina is not only beautiful beach and sea, but also walks along paths crossing the woods and going along the coast, offering breathtaking views.
Behind Deiva Marina there is the Monte San Nicolao (847m above sea level), raising on the watershed between Velva basin (Sestri Levante) and the Vara Valley. This mountain dominates the Via Aurelia, nearby the Bracco pass. Now it is surmounted by aerial and RAI repeaters, and it is easy to recognize. Long time ago the mountain was a strategic crossroad for communications among Liguria, Tuscany and Emilia.
Recently, on the mountain sides some remains of an old roman church (approx. 12th-13th Century) were found with an hospitalis, a refreshment place for wayfarers passing by Via Aurelia. Mattarana is a small town from where a path leading to San Nicolao’s peak starts.
The path begins nearby a small artificial lake and leads to Foce del San Nicolas (about 800 metres above sea level), from where, taking a small junction, you can reach the archaeological sites of the roman church and of the hospitalis. From Foce del San Nicolao the path continues until the peak: from here you can enjoy a wonderful panorama all over the valley.
Walking along the road from Framura to Piazza and then to the motorway exit of Deiva Marina, you can find in locality Pian delle Rose a small millenary church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption (GPS N 44°13.747’ E 009°33.841’).
This church boasts several epigraphs dating back to different periods, from 11th till 19th Century. The church cannot be visited, but we suggest you to go there during holidays, when people exit after the holy mess, surrounded by the vegetation.
Always in the territory of Framura there is the Monte Castellaro, in locality Vigo, where some important archaeological findings were found. The found objects, mainly amphorae and pieces of pottery used probably to cook food, give the experts the possibility to date back the settlement to the late iron age.
We know also about the presence of documents (dating back to half of 19th Century) witnessing the discovery by some peasants of typical Ligurian tombs a cassetta.
In Piazza, again in the territory of Deiva marina, there is a copper mine, not anymore in use since a long time. The works in the mine began between 1855 and 1860 and they finished about twenty years later. In 1885 copper and small quantities silver mining began again, but the quantity of material was so few that they exhausted in a short time. At the end of the 20ies of the 20th Century they decided for closing of the mine. The mine had a great economic importance for the area, and a lot of inhabitants worked there for a lot of years.
In locality Foce (of torrent Castagnola), inside the territory of Framura, there is a manganese mine which was utilized only for few years, starting from 1862. Always about minerals, worth a visit is the geological monuments of Deiva Marina: gabbro rocks of Monte Pietra di Vasca attracting every year trekking and photography-lovers.
San Martino Costa parish church
Church of pre-Roman origin, basilical in plan with three apses and three naves divided by octagonal pillars. The severe and essential structure has been renovated during 16th and 17th Centuries.
The bell tower, once joined to the building, dates back to a previous age and following some experts can date back to the late Byzantine Empire Age. Inside the church you can find some paintings and a precious masterpiece by Bernardo Strozzi: La Madonna del Rosario con San Domenico e San Carlo Borromeo.
San Lorenzo Castagnola chapel
News about this chapel we have since 13th Century. The current building was begun on 29th September 1856 after that the previous churches were destroyed by the instable nature of the soil. In the church you can admire a painting by Luca Cambiaso, the Pietà, restored in 1968.
THE VIA FRANCIGENA
This road has a huge historical importance and crosses the present Lunigiana, touching the provinces of La Spezia and Massa Carrara. In the antiquities the road connected Canterbury in England with Rome.
Its story began with the Longobard rule, it was used as commercial and communication way between the plain and their main harbour, nearby the actual Bocca di Magra. Successively the way was enlarged by the Franks that made it famous: in that period it began to be used by the pilgrims who wanted to reach Rome. Some parts of it are still nowadays passable on foot or by bicycle: in the area of Berceto you can do excursions of unforgettable beauty and also full of mysticism. About the history of the area the original track of Via Francigena bordered Monte San Nicolao at its feet.
THE VIA AURELIA
La Via Aurelia is an old roman street (“via consolare”), begun half of 3rd Century b.C. by Roman Aurelio Cotta consul to connect Rome with Cerveteri, then extended until it reached the new colonies of Cosa and Pyrgi, founded during the 3rd Century b.C. along Tyrrhenian coast, after the definitive subjugation of Etruria. Aurelia (which in the progressive numbering used by ANAS have the name of National Road number 1 or SS1) today connects Rome to France bordering Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas, except some parts.
Originally the Via Aurelia arrived until Carrara, but it was necessary to extend it until France. The Via Aurelia goes along the coast in the area of Riviera di Levante and it is very panoramic, offering a breathtaking view over the cliffs. Nearby Sestri Levante, the Via Aurelia changes trail and goes up to Bracco Pass, where it continues through the hinterland.
High Way of Ligurian Mountains
The Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (high way of Ligurian Mountains) is a walking trail connecting the two sides of Liguria, cutting the region horizontally. Along this track in certain areas passed the old Salt Way, connecting Genoa with the Po Plain.
In the old Ligurian tradition every path leading to the mountains was called “salt way”, as it was useful to trade this precious good. L’Alta Via dei Monti Liguri is nowadays the ideal aim for trekking lovers. It offers breathtaking panoramas over the whole Ligurian coast, as well as the possibility to visit the churches you meet during the walk.
In the province of La Spezia, l’Alta Via dei Monti Liguri pass on the borders with Tuscany, so it doesn’t include Framura.