Monteggiori, where quiet reigns supreme
Monteggiori is a tiny hamlet that rises on the slope of the Apuan Alps over the flat land and the beaches of Versilia, in proximity of the town of Camaiore. The name “Monteggiori” means little mountain and it is one of the most fascinating places of the area, keeping unchanged its typical origins of fortified medieval village.
Monteggiori is definitely an “off the beaten path” of northern Tuscany and this is the reason why I like it very much and whenever I can, I take my car to go there. You can easily reach it from Lucca and Pisa that are approximately thirty minutes away by car, and from the coast of Versilia.
A brief history of Monteggiori
Monteggiori develops over a pre-existing roman settlement or over a Pagus of Apuan-Ligurian origin. But it probably has Etruscan origins, validated from the typical structure of the settlement.
During the Middle Age the castle had a great importance, being built on a strategic position on top of a hill that overlook the plain and the coast, and where the main roads passed through. The local inhabitants could easily reach the nearby forests and water springs and farm olive oil trees and vineyards, which are still widespread in this territory.
The first mention of the village is on a document of 1224. At that time it was possessed by the Lord of Bozzano but was occupied by the arms of Lucca. Later, the arms of Pisa that were fighting against Lucca for the control of the Versilia coast conquered the hamlet. During its history, it came back into the hands of Lucca and then, even under the control of Pietrasanta. Only in 1513 it became part of the Vicariate of Camaiore.
What to do in Monteggiori
Being on top of the hill, it is not possible to reach the centre of Monteggiori with the car, neither for residents. Everyone has to leave the car next to the cemetery at the foot of the village, and walk up the path that run along the ancient defensive walls of the castle.
Exploring this hamlet seems to go back in the past. You feel like a third millennium guy with modern clothes and technological stuff back to the Middle Age.
All the time I visit Monteggiori I am pleasantly surprised by the silence and the quietness of this place…and by the big number of cats that lay down on the paved alleys. Probably there are more cats than inhabitants.
The highest point of Monteggiori corresponds to the main square, Piazza degli artisti, where the church of Saint Stephen rises surrounded by old houses with colored pots of flowers in front of their door.
In the entire village the only business activity is the restaurant/bar Le Tre Terrazze in the main square. They have a panoramic terrace with an amazing view that leaves you breathless, especially at sunset. You can taste delicious traditional food, admiring the flat land, the sea, and the sun going down behind the horizon.
My fav spot is the little space at the foot of the bell tower. The old campanile has a small wooden door surrounded by red roses, that seems the entrance of a hidden garden or of a fairy tale world. I could spend hours staring at this door daydreaming about the things I could find behind it.
The best thing to do is getting lost along the narrow streets, restoring your mind listening only to the sound of silence and of the tweeting of little birds.
Once you have enough and you wish to go back to the real world, I suggest you to drive to the close town of Pietrasanta, the little Athens of Italy rich in art and culture, galleries, workshops and tiny small restaurants.
Have I intrigued you with this post? What do you think about Monteggiori? Does it worth to be included in your Tuscan itinerary?