Seravezza called Sala Vetitia in a document of the X century, Sala Vecchia in the Lucca Annals of Tolomeo and Seravetitia in certain papers of 1368 and 1375, was originally the dominion the Lords of Corvaia and Vallecchia.
The Seravezza territory in the Versilia, extends for 39,37 square kilometres at the foot of a spur of the coastal slopes of the Alpi Apuane. The centre is situated at the influx of the Serra and Vezza which form the River Versilia.
Seravezza called Sala Vetitia in a document of the X century, Sala Vecchia in the Lucca Annals of Tolomeo and Seravetitia in certain papers of 1368 and 1375, was originally the dominion the Lords of Corvaia and Vallecchia, by an investiture of Emperor Federico II. Destroyed in 1269 by the Lucca militia, it was joined, with its territory, to the Vicariate of Pietrasanta. Later devastated by the unruly Fiorentine solders captained by Rinaldo degli Albizzi and Astorre Gianni (1429), from 1430 Seravezza was governed by Genova, to whom Lucca had pledged the fortresses of Pietrasanta and Motrone with all their districts. It came under the power of Firenze in 1484 and then in 1496 Piero dei Medici consigned it with Pietransta to Carlo VIII, in 1498 the town was sold to Lucca, who retained it until 1513 when a ruling of Leone X assigned Seravezza to the Mediceo State. During the Nazi occupation, the population of the municipality suffered atrocious reprisals by several divisions of the SS who had established their general quarters in the Villa Henraux obligatory path for those going up or down the high Versilia.
From there in fact the Germans proceeded in the systematic destruction of the districts of Ripa, Corvaia the neighbourhoods of Fucina and Monte Altissimo in Seravezza, capturing and torturing numerous civilians, then barbarously killing them. The town is the birth place of the writer Enrico Pea (1881-1958).
Visit Seravezza :
Palazzo Mediceo, constructed in 1555 by Bartolomeo Annammati, desired by Cosimo I as summer residence. Today it is the museum.
SS. Annunziata, church erected in 1400 but remodelled after the second world war. Under the portico of the facade is a precious basso relievo of a Madonna col Bambino.
The Etruscans in north-western Tuscany
The Etruscan presence in the Piana di Lucca is documented since the Iron Age when small groups of Villanovans, farmers and fishermen, settled along the course of the Auser river. Merchants from southern Etruria who were trading by sea with the Ligurians began to appear on the Versilia coast from the end of VIIIth century B.C. and during all the VIIth. Near the landingplaces necessary for coasting commercial settlements began to develop and from here goods and, in general, Etruscan culture began to spread over the surrounding areas.
From the end of the VIIth century B.C. Pisa, by then an important Etruscan centre, extended its influence to a vast territory including Versilia and Piana di Lucca. In these two areas, between the Archaic Age and the Classical Age, a number of new settlements were established in the plain or on alluvial terraces to exploit intensively the agricultural and natural resources. During the Vth century B.C. the middle valley of the Serchio was also colonised by Etruscans, while in Piana di Lucca, alongside the traditional riverside settlements, new ones were founded in the high, strategic positions that made it was possible to control the territory and its roads. Large scale floods towards the end of the Vth century forced the population to abandon the plain.
Between the end of the IVth century B.C. and the beginning of the IIIrd the mountainous regions, i.e. the Apuans and the Apennine, were occupied by Ligurian peoples, while the Etruscan settlements of Versilia moved from the alluvial terraces towards the hills, where they were better protected. In the territory of Lucca the Etruscan villages gathered along the edges of the plain, which was at the time probably still uninhabitable.
In the course of the IIIrd century B.C. relations were established between the Etruscans and the Ligurians as they traded their products; however towards the end of the century Rome's expansionism upset this delicate balance. The raids of the Ligurians who descended onto the plain arriving as far as Pisa, an ally of Roma, prompted the intervention of the Roman army that ended with the defeat of the Ligurians and the foundation of the colonies of Lucca (180 B.C.) and Luni (177 B.C.).
Pieve di San Martino (Loc. La Cappella)
The valley of the Serra, from Monte Altissimo up to its confluence with the Vezza, where we find the village of Seravezza, has yielded, in its innermost section, the remains of settlements (Monte Altissimo) that can be ascribed to the Ligurian occupation of Upper Versilia, of which both the settlement of Monte Lieto and the necropolis of Levigliani bear witness.
Further down, at La Cappella, a tomb that still shows signs of the Ligurian tradition, although it belongs to the Roman period, has been found.
The palace of Seravezza is a residence of the Medici family and does not belong to the cultural framework of the Lucchese villas from the renaissance period .
Infact, Seravezza, which is a very important centre for marble extraction, today belongs to the province of Lucca but was not part of it in the 1500's.
The building presents itself as a fortified palace and was to serve as a resting place for the Duke when he came to visit the caves.The building consists of three main bodies which mark the limits of a courtyard which is closed off by a wall on the south wing. The main entrance door is on the wall, which when opened, gives access to a courtyard with a portico and a well. The structure of the palace has a disguised defensive form i.e. the east and west wings jutt out from the north façade and the south wall of the courtyard almost forming towers, but they don't exceed the height of the remainder of the building. The palace is very sober in its composition. The use of marble in the cornices of the windows should not be considered a sign of splendour as there was an abundance of marble in Seravezza.
Marble has been used since ancient times and it is connected in particular with Monte Altissimo near Seravezza where Michelangelo Buonarroti chose the stone for the façade of San Lorenzo in Florence.
Since then the Medici family has played a leading role in promoting the Versilian mountains as a marble source starting a long tradition of transport towards the coast along the so called "via di marina": ready hewn blocks were loaded upon ox driven carts and later lifted on board the ships with the help of what was known as "mancina", something like today's crane.
The exploitation of the marble quarries and the consequent development of a solid artistic tradition made the territory of Versilia a land of sculptors and artists.
Surrounded by the Apuan Alps, Stazzema is in a panoramic position allowing us to admire the many scattered villages on the mountain slopes, that were inhabited since remote antiquity as the discovery of Apuan Ligurian tombs proves.
The commune's territory was renowned for its rich silver mines, that undoubtedly in the course of time acted as stimulus for the preparation of a well organised defensive system. Torre dell'Argentiera, Monte Rocca, Castellaccio di Gallena and Torre di Monte Anchiana are the most interesting places, from a strategic point of view, on the part of Stazzema's territory connected to the ancient silver mines of S. Anna. Here we find chiselled galleries: medieval, Medicean or more ancient still.
Other castles or fortified places on the commune's territory are Farnocchia and Pomezzana, along with the towers built during the Second World War to control the Gothic Line.
Cardoso – 265m high
It is located at about 3Km from Pontestazzemese. One gets there following backward the course of the river. The town was born in 1407 from the union of 3 villages: Cardoso, Malinventre and Farneta. The extraction and the working of a stone known since the X century and called Cardoso Stone takes on a great importance in today’s local economy. It is used to make doorframe, doorway, steps, etc.
The town church, built in the first half of the XVII Century in honour of Santa Maria Assunta, is located in front of the beautiful 1745 bell tower. Leaving town, where one can enjoy an enviable cool during summer, it is possible to follow tracks of various levels of difficulty that allow to get to Colle Mezzana, Palagnana, il Monte Forato, below which are located various locations as well as the church of San Leonardo, of Roman foundation.
Levigliani - Valle di Cansoli - 650m
The numerous Etruscan archaeological pieces as well as the recently discovered necropolis of the liguri apuani are witnesses of its ancient origins. Previously united to the adjacent hamlet of Terrinca, it became autonomous in the first decade of the 1500. It is of a considerable tourist importance. In fact, on top of being a place of summer villégiature of reference to the tourists staying on the Versilian coast, it also is a starting point to reach the Mosceta Valley (Valle di Mosceta), Mount Corchia (Monte Corchia), famous for its Antro and Mount Pania (Monte Pania).
Arni - 916m
Located beyond Mount Altissimo (Monte Altissimo), the passes of Cipollaio (colle del Cipollaio) and Vestito (Passo del Vestito) separate it from Massa and Versilia. The Arni Valley (Valle di Arni) extends itself over about 3km; it holds extended pastures, chestnut and beech woods and great waters. The mounts that surround it are rich in silver lead, pyritic copper, in extended strata of navacolite, calcareous schist, Dolemite and white marbles. The first marble quarry was opened in 1849 by Mr Saucholle Henruaux. The mounts that surrounds it are: il Sella, il Vestito, l'Altissimo, il Cipollaio, il Corchia and il Frèddone. The Arni valley is the geographical crossroad between Versilia, Garfagnanaand Massa.
Terrinca - m 500m
It is a small village anchored at the feet of Mount Corchia (monte Corchia), amid chestnut woods. Its population, scarce in winter, doubles during summer. The village is the most ancient in Versilia. Dominated by the Lombards since 766 a.c, it then became an autonomous town and finally a hamlet of the town of Stazzema. The church, richly decorated with marbles, its admirable oil on wood painting (Madonna del Carmelo) from 1600, the numerous Medicis shields and portals, and also the marble tombstones and decorative items from various Roman times are all to be admired. There are many and very interesting possible tours to take: Il Passo Croce, la torbiera di Paduli, il monte Pania della Croce, Campanice and also, il Puntato, il Corchia, Col di Favilla as well as other amazing place of the Parco delle Apuane. During the long walks in the chestnut and beech woods, it is possible to admire extremely beautiful flowers, blueberries and raspberries.
Pontestazzemese - 160m
It is located at the point of confluence of the Canale delle Mulina and the Canale Versilia. In the background, you can see the characteristic Monte Forato, and on its left, la Pania della Croce. In the locality of Fornetto, there is a stone which testifies of the presence of Giosuè Carducci in this village during the period of his youth. Going beyond the river, following a steep dirt road, one reaches the summit of a hill where a Monument has been built and dedicated to all the Alpine Soldiers (Alpini) fallen in war. During summer, the fresh climate turns the village into an oasis where tourists gladly come to. Instead, in the winter time, the village has a rather cold and humid temperature, given that it is located in a valley and along a river.
Farnocchia - 650m
Located in the middle of vast valleys of chestnut woods, tourists and vacationers appreciate it for its fresh and clean air. It also allows to watch and admire amazing sceneries and the most beautiful mounts of the Apuane: Matanna, Procinto, Forato, Pania Secca, Pania della Croce, Corchia, located to the North and East, while South, through a short walk, Monte Gabberi can be reached. From Monte Gabberi, it is possible to watch the coast that stretches between the gulf of La Spezia and Livorno and nice weather permitting, also the isle of Gorgona.
At Farnocchia, there is a church dedicated to S. Michele Arcangelo, which original structure dates back to before 1000. Inside this church, you will find a pretty baptismal fountain, a monumental organ, the Altar of the Rosary, with its amazing tiles in bas-relief representing the 15 points of the Rosary, The Last Supper and much else still.
During summer, several events, gastronomical and other, are organised.
Sant'Anna - 660m
It is a small village located in a natural depression, dominated by Monte Lieto and Monte Gabberi; It became sadly known for the massacre of 560 people committed by the Nazi troops on August 12th 1944. The Canale dei Mulini starts from the village and stretches till Valdicastello, birth town of Giosuè Carducci. Around the village of Sant'Anna, you can find many hamlets and scattered houses which take the following names: Monte Ornato, l'Argentiera, Vallecava, Vaccareccia, i Bambini, il Moco, il Colle, Fabbiani, Sennari, le Case di Berna, Vinci, Franchi, le Case, il Pero, i Merli, i Coletti and further down, towards Valdicastello, i Mulini. Previously being part of the small town of Farnocchia, forming its mountain pasture, it then became a place where to live. The Charnel House Monument (Monumento Ossario) which gathers the remains of 560 Martyrs raises itself on top of the Pass di Cava (Colle di Cava).
The piece of local stone work was built in 1948, a project of the Architect Tito Salvatori, and accommodates, above the common grave, a sculpture by Vincenzo Gasperetti which represents a young mother who is tenderly hugging to her chest, in a death embrace, her little girl that was killed. A Historical Museum has been built at Sant'Anna, town recognised as Regional Centre of the Resistance. The village and its surroundings are located in the “Park of Peace” (Parco della Pace).