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ITALY - THE CARRARA MOUNTAINS
Almost everywhere there is white marble in the landscape.
Marina di Carrara is to be found at the foot of the mountains about sixteen miles east of Spezia and from here thousands of tons of marble are exported each year. The very north west of Tuscany, with its booming commerce and industry and delightful seaside towns, is somewhere the British can feel very much at home. From the sophisticated resort of Forte dei Marmi, with the best wednesday market in the area, to the simple delights of Colonnata and Carrara itself there is always somewhere to visit. The cathedral at Carrara dates from the Pisan supremacy in the late thireenth century and has a beautiful rose window. All the churches and important buildings are built in the same marble beautifully cut and fashioned. Today the quarries, some worked from Roman times, nearly cover the whole of the Apuan Alps. The Accademia di Belle Arti is one of the most important palaces and contains several Roman artefacts found in the quarries. The nearest airports to Carrara are Pisa, Peretola and Genoa about 30, 60, and 65 miles respectively.
Italy - Camogli is the gem on the Ligurian Coast
Less than half an hour from Genoa a perfect retreat
Camogli lies just above the protected coastal area to the south centred on S Fruttuoso and is less well known than its neighbour Portofino but is easier to get to. You don‘t need a car if your visit is a preliminary skirmish to get to know the area. Trains from Genoa regularly call at the station and you can easily visit other coastal towns further down the line. Camogli is an old seaside town with beautifully painted houses and a colourful harbour. From here boats take you to see the Cristo degli Abissi - the famous statue beneath the sea off the coast of S Fruttuoso.
The view west down the Via Garibaldi in Camogli has changed little in over a hundred years except today you might find a tractor on the beach painstakingly rearranging the stones in front of the S Maria Assunta. There are no new developments as such - conversions of large houses into apartments happen from time to time and for £600,000 or so an apartment overlooking the Castello Medioevale can be bought through the Agenzia Immobiliare. Contact Marcello Bozzo at http://www.agenziabozzo.it
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