Intrigued also by the excellence produced in this village, we decide to leave to find out what to visit in Fivizzano by camper among history, myths and flavors, the Fivizzano one that Giosuè Carducci defined as “a lost pearl in the mountains”.
The Lunigiana enclosed between Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Liguria is of unique scenic beauty. Let’s start the journey.
What to visit in Fivizzano by camper
We begin our exploration path in Fivizzano, parking the camper in the Piazza Libertà car park.
On foot we arrive at the Clementi Pharmacy where Federica is waiting for us, who runs the old pharmacy with her husband and more. It was founded in 1884 by Dr. Giuseppe Clementi, a Venetian botanist who in Fivizzano, among shelves of medicines and herbal products, decided to produce, the real object of our trip from Parma.
The very kind Federica will be our official escort for this visit.
A bit of history
Fivizzano, with its particularly extensive territory consisting of 94 hamlets, is located between two important parks:
- Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park
- Regional Natural Park of the Apuan Alps
Its history is important and the information collected tells that it was among the first towns of Lunigiana to be inhabited without however knowing its origins. It is certainly known that around the year 1000 there was the Verrucola castle, a fortified residence around which all popular activities and farmers’ markets developed.
Over the years it became a key point of passage for pilgrims and merchants, until it became in 1477 in the presence of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Fivizzano, and submitted to the Republic of Florence. Having become the seat of the Captaincy of Lunigiana, it experienced centuries of prosperity and serenity; after the Napoleonic period, Fivizzano was ceded by the Grand Duchy of Tuscany to the Duchy of Modena and remained there until the unification of Italy. Even modern history, however, sees Fizzano at the center of important moments.
During the Second World War, being a strategic place on the Gothic line, it was occupied by the Germans who from ’43 to ’45 caused the population to undergo numerous roundups, ferocious reprisals and massacres.
What to see in Fivizzano
We begin our walk through the town, encountering different architectural styles: some of ancient and medieval inspiration, passing from the Renaissance to the modern transformation. Part of its beauty was also lost due to the earthquake of 1920 which destroyed many buildings, fortunately leaving several buildings intact to visit.
The center is between two doors:
- the Modenese door
- Sarzanese gate
and surrounded by walls of Medici origin of which only a few tracts remain.
The fulcrum is in the Piazza Medicea so called for the fountain commissioned towards the end of 1600 by Cosimo II and from which the wonderful alleys wind …
Our gaze meets:
- Palazzo Fantoni-Bononi, now home to the Printing Museum, because this is where Jacopo da Fivizzano was born, who perhaps you too have studied at school, considered one of the first printers in the world, and who in his printing house replicated the works of Virgil from 1471 and Cicero.
- The Church of Saints Jacopo and Antonio and of the B.V. of Adoration, which strikes us for the baptismal font carved out of a single block of stone that is found entering the nave on the left.
We enter the former Convent of the Hermitages of Sant’Agostino where, greeted by the Mayor Gianluigi Giannetti, and accompanied by Francesco Leonardi, referent and exquisite guide for us, we begin the visit of the Municipal Library full of frescoes from 1500. We immediately perceive the importance of the place which dates back to 1392 and was the second monastery built by the Augustinian order. The dimensions and the inner courtyard, with the kiosk clearly highlight the role of this monastery.
Three curiosities to know
- The important Museum of Sacred Art is also located in this immense monastery, in the rooms of the former Church of San Giovanni, now the Council Chamber of the Municipality. Imagine the peculiarity of holding City Council meetings in this environment!
- Also inside the former convent there is also another museum, dedicated to the person of Colonel Edmondo Bernacca and his importance in meteorology. The MMEB Meteo Museum Edmondo Bernacca can be visited for free by contacting the municipality office.
- Also, did you know that the ancient Academy of the Imperfects was established in this village in 1500? A cultural institution of sixteenth-century origins that in 1810 was the promoter of the creation of the Teatro degli Imperfetti. It was an Italian hall with 600 seats, with an oval plan and three tiers of boxes for quality productions, the “vigils”, recited for illustrious guests and which unfortunately was destroyed in the earthquake of 1920.
Visiting this village halfway between Aulla and Emilia is proving to be a wonderful surprise! But that’s not all …
The Verrucola fortress
The most beautiful and representative symbol of Fivizzano is undoubtedly the Verrucola Fortress, not even two kilometers away from Piazza Medicea.
This village consists of a nucleus composed of several buildings, surrounding walls and a real multitude of towers. The castle was purchased by the sculptor Antonio Cascella in 1977 who completed the restoration.
The visit is possible only by appointment, but even the simple walk through the small village, around the fortress, as we did, is very much worth it!
And if getting here has whetted your appetite, we recommend a stop at the Locanda al Castello, with the outdoor area on the stream to taste the excellent cured meats produced by the owners, to be enjoyed with panigacci and typical local cuisine, made of testaroli, sgabei, chestnut tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and exquisite desserts.
The time has come to take you on another journey, this time obviously linked to taste.
But we told you that the reason for our trip on what to visit in Fivizzano was linked to the Antica Farmacia Clementi. Do you remember?
Federica accompanies us to the headquarters where for 40 years in an ancient restored stone building and former power plant, the Clementi family has produced the China Clementi, which as they write on their website:
“It is a unique Elixir, composed of the harmonious combination of 2 precious varieties of tropical China (Cinchona Calisaya and the rare Succirubra) and various aromatic and medicinal herbs” (we add a secret mix) “
Visiting this company that produces 15,000 bottles a year and which, while remaining an extremely artisanal production, is known by the best bartenders worldwide and exported to Japan, is like entering an ancient and enchanted world.
A world of a family that has been working for years in compliance with a recipe that has remained unchanged since 1884, for their search for the raw material that comes directly from Latin America and for their consistency over extremely long preparation times.
Just think that in 1911 Dr. Giuseppe Clementi received the gold medal at the international agricultural-industrial exhibition in Rome.
Federica explains to us …
The steps of the production and she tells us that the ingredients are shredded and then sprayed with water, their water and alcohol 2 times a day for 60 days manually!
From this mixture a bread is formed which, pressed with a cold press, releases a tincture which remains waiting for another 4 months.
And in the end the tincture, to which water mixed with quality sugar and alcohol is added, creates an elixir that remains to age for 2 years in steel barrels.
Said so it may seem like a simple procedure. Instead, we guarantee that face to face with Federica instead takes on a very different value and we perceive all the passion that distinguishes the craftsmanship of the product.
Looking at, indeed admiring some machinery, we recognize similarities with the wine and agricultural worlds and we almost get lost among perfumes, dough powders and a lot of passion and love for the product and work.
The glass of China Clementi that Federica offers us for tasting has a processing and waiting time of 30 months. A true and unique elixir.
How to express the taste? A unique flavor, elegant, engaging and very complicated to describe because each person has a different perception of it. But we can say, taste it and then let’s talk about the taste. We loved it!
Being an artisanal product, it is not found in large-scale distribution and this is a pride of the family who have made a precise choice of it.
Where to stop beyond Fivizzano
The mayor gave us other possibilities to stop in the area:
- Area of Rometta – Piazza dei Parchi, Tourist Information Center and exhibition and sale of typical local products by the Lunigiana Wine Route
info: Tel. 0585 93577 e-mail: email@example.com
- Equi Terme: Via della Stazione and here you will find more information from the website of the Municipality of Fivizzano
- We also recommend a stop for taste at the La Valle farm in Rometta. Read here.
Our personal conclusions for this trip in Fivizzano by camper
We left this visit enriched by new discoveries and by this encounter with humanity, passion, professionalism and great respect for a product, which does not want to be upset by modernity and technology. An elixir of yesteryear, you would say, for a prestigious brand.
And once again we have had confirmation of the beauty of Lunigiana which, with its captivating mountain views, historic villages and its infinite peculiarities, has nothing to envy to other much more touristic locations.
For a trip that we like so much and that we advise you to do.
We thank you for the wonderful welcome, courtesy and availability
- Federica from China Clementi who accompanied us all day
- The Mayor of Fivizzano Gianluigi Giannetti
- Francesco Leonardi contact person of the Municipality who kindly guided us