An ancient Roman colony, it was founded in 177 before Christ in the region it gave its name to. It flourished until around the fourth century when its decline set in, chiefly because of malaria epidemics and repeated onslaught by the Longobards, the Normans and most of all by the Saracens. The erstwhile splendor of the Roman town can be divided in what remains of the forum, where one finds the remains of two temples and the imposing relics of an amphitheater. The archaeological museum contains various pieces that have been dug up in the area.
Proceeding along the Aurelia, one reaches Sarzana, and ancient burg fortified by the Genoese, possessing a 13th-century cathedral crouching beneath the fortress of Sarzanello.
From Sarzana a road leads up right towards the Apuan hills and arrives at Fosdinovo, a picturesque little village, the foundation date and origin of whose name is still shrouded in mystery. It boasts a superb 14th century castle, the gigantic bulk of which dwarfs the rest of the constructions beneath it.
At Sarzana one leaves the Aurelia and takes state road Nr. 62, which climbs up towards the Apennines along the course of the river Magra. After a short while, one getsto Aulla. The little town is situated at the confluence of the Aulella with the Magra. Its parish church was built on the site of the great and extremely ancient Abbey of San Caprasio, which belonged to the Malaspina family and the became the property of the Genoese Centurione family. The latter were responsible for the construction of the Brunella fortress, overlooking the medieval burg and the valley below. The road continues through increasingly thickly forested country, until one reaches Villafrancain Lunigiana, where one can admire the romantic ruins of Castello Malaspina and the 16th century church of San Francesco. Proceeding along road nr. 62 one enters Filattiera, another Medieval burg that has preserved its former appearance , with a castle and the little church of San Guorgio. In the cemetery one can see the ancient remains of a Romanesque rural parish church containing a prehistoric menhir. The road continues and at the end of the valley, where the hillsides narrow in, leading up to the CIsa pass, one comes to Pontremoli.