After leaving Cinque Terre, we headed to Fornoli – a tiny village near Lucca in northern Tuscany. Even though Fornoli was incredibly peaceful and tucked away from the rest of the world, it provided easy access to a wealth of attractions.
We sampled some of the world’s best Balsamic vinegar at Leonardi in Modena, drove up into the hills of Carrara to visit the famous white marble mines, strolled through the historic town of Pontremoli where we witnessed their Magica Lunigiana fantasy festival and visited the Piagnaro Castle filled with ancient stone statues dating back to the 4th and 1st century BC, and headed to Colonnata where we tried Lardo which is a sort of cold cut coated in herbs and aged in marble boxes. And we did all of this within a short drive from our beautiful stone cottage in the Fornoli countryside.
Of course we were excited to try some of the local wines and thanks to the help of our Airbnb host, we ended up at Ca’ Lunae. I couldn’t think of a better place to visit.
When we arrived, we witnessed a local resident refilling a carafe with wine from a gas station-like pump – something I wish we could do in the US. We were then taken on a personal tour of Paolo Bosoni’s ancient, 18th century property, which has become a center for some of the best local wine, food and art.
One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to the Essentiae Ligurian liqueurs workshop where Fiorella Stoppa (who was a very young 83 years old this summer) hand crafts liqueurs from local fruit and herbs, using ancient recipes. I especially loved her Lamponi (raspberry) and Erba Cedrina (a grassy, lemony concoction). For just 9 EUR for a smaller bottle, I couldn’t resist leaving with a few.
Our tour ended in the wine tasting room where we tried an array of estate wines paired with delicious focaccia, olive oil, olives and homemade preserves. The wines were all incredible, but I particularly liked the Stregato dalla Luna – a dry, frizzante wine made with Greco, Malvasia, and Trebbiano (approx 7 EUR/bottle), Albarola – a beautifully balanced white wine made from 100% Albarola grapes (10 EUR/bottle) – and the Niccolo V which was a robust red made from a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Pollera Nera (16 EUR/bottle).
After our perfect day at Ca’Lunae, we headed back to Fornoli with a chilled bottle of Stregato dalla Luna and met with our incredible Airbnb hosts for our own private concert on the back patio. It was a perfect day filled with amazing wine, delicious food, wonderful conversation and new friends.
Via Palvotrisia N. 2
19030 Castelnuovo Magra (La Spezia)
Phone: +39 0187.693.483