The Autocisa section crosses a territory of rare beauty, with still unspoiled nature, scattered with historical testimonies of exceptional allure.
The highway crosses two territories ideally separated by the Cisa Pass: the Parma Apennines to the north and the Lunigiana area to the south towards the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The Parma Apennines, which are crossed shortly after entering the Autocisa section of road, offer the traveler the possibility of short excursions to towns of considerable historical and artistic interest.
A testimony of this is the famous Torrechiara Castle, whose fairy-tale towers stand out in the setting of a green hilly landscape.
Its builder, the condottiere Pier Maria Rossi, in designing the castle, paid great attention to both technical and aesthetic aspects.
In fact, the castle of Torrechiara was the setting of the love story between the condottiere Pier Maria and his lover Bianca Pellegrini, as evidenced by the ‘golden room’, the famous bedroom of the castle and the crowning glory of the amorous passion of the two lovers.
The territory is crossed by the Via Francigena, the route of medieval pilgrims traveling to Rome, dotted with churches, abbeys, and parishes of great historical interest.
The center of Fornovo is worth a visit, already mentioned in 900 by Archbishop Sigerico, who describes in his diary the route of the Via Francigena and mentions Fornovo as a stop on his journey.
Just ten minutes from the ‘Borgotaro’ exit of the A15 highway you reach Borgo Val di Taro, a village that extends in a wide valley on the left side of the Taro river. The urban nucleus preserves a building patrimony of notable historical interest, as they testify some elegant palaces which as an example the Boveri Palace, the Bertucci Palace, or the Manara Palace.
The streets and squares of the country are the setting, the fourth Sunday of July, August and September at the Antiques Market.
Before leaving the Parma Apennines, it is worth stopping in Berceto along the route of the Via Francigena, a town near the Cisa pass. The country strikes the tourist for its characteristic cobbled streets, stone houses, palaces and ancient monuments, such as the majestic Romanesque cathedral.
After crossing the Cisa pass, the highway enters Lunigiana, a land rich in history, traditions and flavors.
The green offshoots of the Tuscan Apennines, the clear water streams, the peaks of the Apuan Alps embellish a territory in which there are an incredible number of testimonies of the past, such as the famous castles of Lunigiana, many of which are still intact, the Romanesque churches and picturesque villages perched on impervious hilltops.
Gateway to the Apennines, which has always been the obligatory access route from Parma to the south, Pontremoli presents historical testimonies of certain interest, such as the castle of Piagnaro with the Museum of the Stele Statues, male and female sculptures of mysterious and disquieting charm, built by the populations that settled in the Lunigiana valley two millennia before the arrival of the Romans. Of great interest is the Roman bridge, recently renovated.
A brief stop in Fivizzano, a town dominated by the Medici family that has left precious evidence of its presence, so much so that it has earned the nickname of ‘Florence of Lunigiana’. Not to be missed is a historical event of undisputed charm such as the ‘Disfida degli arcieri di terra e di Corte’ (challenge of the archers of the land and of the court) which is held in this town every year in July.
Centrally located Villafranca is worth a visit, especially in the month of August when the village of Filetto opens to tourists all the ancient crafts, with the inhabitants dressed in period clothing to make the atmosphere even more authentic and original.
The journey in this land can continue and end with a visit to Casola, a town on the border between Lunigiana and Garfagnana, whose beautiful village is embellished by elegant palaces of the sixteenth century. Not far from Casola there are two parish churches of great interest: the parish church of Offìano and the parish church of Codiponte which is almost intact compared to its original structure.