I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Monday, 14 December 2015

Via Francigena: Day 25: Sarzana To Marina Di Massa

From Sarzana the official Italian Alpine Club route took a difficult and tiring course through the Apennine foothills. I decided to take the flatter and easier coastal option — via roads, pavements and cycle paths — to Marina di Massa. This route was not waymarked, but simple to follow — though the initial section, from Sarzana to the sea, was horrendously busy with fast-moving traffic. I did not make the short detour to see the Roman temple and amphitheatre at Luni (see photo), but now wish I had done.

As you can see, the coastline was heavily built up with harbours and seaside resorts. At Carrara the marble quarries had stained the mountains white . . .  

Marble has been extracted here since the Bronze Age, and many monuments and sculptures from Roman and Renaissance times were constructed with Carrara marble — Michelangelo being the famous example.  

Quarrying is still going on today, but it's quite controversial for environmental reasons. Much of the quarried stone is cut and polished and ends up in expensive luxury mansions all over the world: the pristine whiteness, the fine grain and the purity of the rock make it particularly coveted. 

Marina di Massa . . .

. . . is a popular holiday resort. However, I shunned the crowded beaches and walked inland a short way to Via Pandolfino and the B&B Cambini, which was a beautiful old family home. My room was most comfortable with a balconied view over the garden; at €30 (including breakfast next morning) it was excellent value. That evening, after a hot shower and a pizza, I was content for the moment, although news from home was causing me some concern, and I was worried about having to curtail my journey . . .

Not snow but marble: mountain backdrop from the pier at Marina di Massa.

(Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the photos.)

4 comments:

Amanda Summer said...

Very hard to believe that those mountains are not covered in snow! Italian pizza must be the best fuel for your journey...

Sabine said...

Years ago, we actually walked into these marble quarries by chance and were shown around. It was not unlike being on a weird new planet. We were covered in a fine white dust for a few days afterwards - and not because we failed to have a good wash.

I do hope the news from home were not bad after all.

am said...

Wow! Marble mountains. Amazing.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for all your comments, Amanda, Sabine and Am. Those marble mountains were surreal.