Upon departing my new home away from home, where I had sheltered from the storm that wasn't, the Via Francigena took me back along the canal and down to the winery - though this time I was able to resist the temptation (also because it was closed, at 8 am) - then 2 km further down the road to the archaeological site of Luni, an ancient Roman city that once thrived on the marble trade. Rome wasn't built in a day, and it took a lot of marble to build it! In its golden age in the first century AD, the city must have sparkled, lined with white Carrara marble (known, in fact, as Lunense marble in those days).
Unfortunately, after its decline due to the sea port filling in with sand and the formation of swamps that made the city an unhealthy place to live, Luni was used as a quarry - a convenient source of ready-cut marble and other stones for construction of buildings in the new towns on the hilltops, above the malarial plains of the coast. This means little remains of what was once a wealthy Roman city of 4000 people. But archaeologists are still working on uncovering the ruins, the majority of which are still under the grassy fields.
Walking Roman roads
1st century AD ampitheatre (originally lined with marble)
At the museum in Luni I met up with Simone, who will be walking with me for the rest of the week!
Picnic at the castle in Avenza
After lunch we walked through the marble works of Carrara, where 30 ton blocks of valuable Carrara marble are left sitting around outside people's houses. Well, i guess there's no danger anybody will run off with them!
Discarded broken bits of marble
A wall by the road made with discarded broken bits of marble
A skip full of broken bits of marble
Leaving Carrara behind and heading for the hills... and the vineyards
Coming into Borgo del Ponte, Massa
Home for tonight: my room
Tea and music corner
The next morning over coffee our hosts told us their house was originally (around the year 1400) a hostel for pilgrims. Perfect!