The Apuan Alps is a stunning mountain range located in the region of Tuscany, that provides plenty of outdoor activities and fun adventures. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, or someone looking to explore historical sites, the Apuan Alps will surely give you an amazing holiday experience.

In this article, we will share important details that will help you plan the best trip to this beautiful region in Italy.

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The Apuan Alps and its surrounding areas

The Apuan Alps is in northern Tuscany between the provinces of Lucca and Massa Carrara. This mountain range is conveniently close to popular Tuscan cities like Pisa and Florence, making them an excellent addition to any Tuscan holiday itinerary.

Surrounding the Apuan Alps are several charming villages, which we will discuss in further detail later on in this post, that offer a combination of tradition and history. This general area is ideal for extended stays or day trips from other larger nearby cities.

Apuan Alps Map

The Parco naturale regionale delle Alpi Apuane

One of our top suggestions when visiting the area, the Parco naturale regionale delle Alpi Apuane, known as the Apuan Alps Regional Park, is a protected area that is home to some of the region’s more unique geology and biodiversity. The park was established in 1985 and covers approximately 20,598 hectares, spanning across the provinces of Lucca and Massa Carrara. This natural reserve is home to many rare plant species, wildlife, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Tuscany.

If you are planning to visit the park, you can take part in a variety of activities such as hiking, climbing, and birdwatching. The park’s visitor centres can provide you with maps and information to help you plan your visit. However, if you prefer a more in-depth exploration of the park, guided tours are available which will teach you about the geological and ecological significance of the area. Keep in mind that these tours are provided by third-party providers and need to be organised ahead of time.

There is also the Earth Science Interactive Museum located in one of the visitor centres that is open year-round with an entrance fee of € 3. It is perfect for children and anyone interested in geology.

Nature and wildlife of the Apuan Alps Region

The diverse climate in this region of Italy, along with the terrain of the Apuan Alps Italy helps to support a rich variety of plant and animal life. The lower slopes of the mountain range are covered by dense forests with plenty of chestnut, oak, and beech trees, while the higher altitudes have alpine meadows.

There are rare plant species in the area, such as the Apuan primrose and various orchids. It is also home to many animals, including deer, wild boar, foxes, and the Apennine wolf. If you enjoy birdwatching, then you can easily spot eagles, falcons, and other songbirds.

The park’s commitment to conservation helps to ensure that this area’s biodiversity is protected. So please respect nature and be mindful of cleaning trash.


The best trails and hiking routes in the Apuan Alps

Of course, a trip to Italy will be mostly made up of eating pasta, sipping on wine, and visiting museums and ancient sites, but who thought that it could also be a nature lovers’ paradise? The Apuan Alps host some of the best hiking trails in Italy and have trails ranging from easy walks to challenging climbs. Here are a few of our suggested routes:

Monte Forato Trail: This is a moderate trail that takes you to the famous natural arch, Monte Forato. The route is just over 9 kilometres round trip and is suitable for most hikers.

Monte Sagro: Known for its panoramic views, the Monte Sagro trail is a bit more challenging and not suggested for families with young children. The trail is about 12 kilometres round trip and offers spectacular views of the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Grotta del Vento: For those interested in visiting a magical cave system, a stop at the Grotta del Vento offers an exciting underground adventure perfect for families or groups. You can take part in three different guided tours, all ranging in difficulty level to cater to you and your needs.

The famous marble quarries of Carrara

Apart from providing a stunning backdrop to the Tuscan landscape and some exhilarating hiking trails, the Apuan Alps are also famous for their marble quarries in Carrara. This high-quality marble has been highly regarded since Roman times and has been used in some of the world’s most renowned sculptures and buildings, including Michelangelo’s David and the Pantheon in Rome.

We suggest participating in a guided tour of the quarries that will take you through the basins of Torano, Fantiscritti and Colonnata to learn about the extraction process and understand the history of marble production in the region. The organised tours include visits to workshops where artisans continue carving marble.

For individuals or small groups, you can book your visit directly at the quarry, but if your group is larger, we suggest reserving ahead of time. Additionally, many tour operators offer shuttle services from many of the nearby towns and cities and will include meals.


Local villages

Apart from its natural beauty, the region is full of quaint villages, each with its unique character and history, making them perfect stops along your Tuscan holiday. Some of our favourites include:

Barga: Known for its medieval architecture and vibrant arts scene.

Colonnata: Famous for its lardo (cured pork fat), Colonnata is a small village located among the marble quarries.

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana: As the main town of the Garfagnana region, Castelnuovo has many historical sites, including a medieval fortress.

Vagli Sotto: A truly magical sight to see, this village is submerged in a lake and only reappears when the lake’s water levels are low.

Come and experience the Apuan Alps

The Apuan Alps offer a blend of natural beauty, adventure, and cultural richness. Providing something special for everyone, this area is a must-see within this stunning region of Tuscany.

While planning your trip to the Apuan Alps, Lucca Apartments and Villas are the perfect choice for your stay. Our accommodations provide a comfortable and convenient base for your adventures, with easy access to the national park and local attractions. Book your stay with us and experience the beauty and wonder of the Apuan Alps firsthand.