Here’s Dinah’s description of the local delights:
CARRARA in northern Tuscany, is famous for the white marble quarried there since Roman times (all Michelangelo’s sculptures were made with white statuary marble from quarries in the Carrara mountains).
There’s a marble quarry inside a mountain to visit, a jeep ride up the mountain to view the quarries. It is an extraordinary and unique part of Tuscany. After the quarries, it is good to visit the old town of Carrara, still unspoilt and remaining how it has been for years. No shopping malls here! An excellent fish restaurant for lunch, frequented by locals.
LUCCA is a beautifully protected walled medieval town just 40 minutes from Peralta. The famous walls date back to 16th century and one of the fun things to do is rent bikes and cycle around the walls, dipping down into the town from time to time. Lucca is a jewel and has not been spoilt in any way - well worth a visit.
PORTO VENERE is a fishing village at the very end of the peninsular of the famous Cinque Terre villages. There’s a lovely little church perched on a rock at the end of Porto Venere, guarding the entrance to the Bay and where people would pray for the safe return of their fishermen. All very attractive . Just below are the rocks where Lord Byron would swim every day. It is easy to visit Porto Venere (one and half hours from Peralta) and then take a very swish Riva wooden motorboat across to the island of Palmaria and a good restaurant ‘Locanda Lorena’, which looks out onto Porto Venere. The location is stunning, and you can eat for a reasonable price depending what you choose on the menu. Delicious local white wine, slightly fizzy.
PIETRASANTA is a charming town with a beautiful main square right in the middle of the four pedestrian streets that run the length of the town. It was originally the home of many marble carving studios, but which have now all been moved out of the town due to noise and dust. There are many bronze casting foundries nearby and Pietrasanta is often called the ‘sculpture capital of the world’. The foundries are famous for their casting techniques and sculptors come from all over the globe to have their work cast here. The town itself has many public sculptures, a disused church and its cloisters showing exhibitions and also galleries. There are also lots of shops with clothes, shoes and etc. An aperitivo in the main square is a ‘must’ and there are lots of restaurants. My favourite to take people is ‘Lo Studio’, but its not the only option.
CAMAIORE is a very unspoilt market town with a pedestrian main street and a market every Friday. Very few tourists. It is possible to walk down from Peralta, about 45 minutes and then take a taxi back - or someone who doesn’t want to walk takes a car!!
TORCIGLIANO is a little village in the hills at the end of a road. Other than the houses, there is a church and then everyone’s favourite restaurant, Il Matterello. Excellent typical Tuscan food owned by a family (she does the cooking and he takes care of the tables). A lovely one hour walk from Peralta around the contours of the hills. The walk home makes one feel less guilty about the large amount of food consumed. Or it is possible to return in a taxi.