Sigeric the Serious: Via Francigena, Puntremel (Pontremoli), Circa 990 AD

Submansio XXXI – Puntremel

Puntremel is believed to have been first settled around 1000 BC, at about the same time as Sigeric’s passage. The area was known in Roman times as Apua from the Apuani, a Ligurian tribe, that lived there.

The Ligures are mentioned repeatedly by Livy. According to his writings, it appears that the Apuani were the most easterly of the Ligurian tribes, who inhabited the mountains bordering Etruria, and occupied the valleys of the Magra and Serchio rivers. As found by archaeologists, the Ligures were an italo-celtic people mainly occupying the alpine regions of Provence, Côte d’Azur, Piemont, and Liguria.

The Lunigiana region, where Puntremel (Pontremoli) is located, boasts one of the oldest artistic heritages in Italy, characterized by anthropomorphic stone slabs, carved in sandstone by pre-Ligurian populations that used to live in this land between the chalcolithic and the iron age (anytime between 5000 and 2000 B.C. These stone stelae are also referred to as the Stelae-Statues. The statues usually have an uncarved lower part and an upper part carved in a more or less stylized way to represent both feminine and masculine bodies. Their half-moon shaped head has become the symbol of the entire region.

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Map of Lunigiana, red dots showing location of Stelae-Statues found since 1867.

Since 1867, date of the first discovery, about 80 samples have been discovered all over the Lunigiana. They have been found more often in small groups than isolated; never on broken ground and always near streams or along large communication valleys or mountain zones close to communication routes. The most complete exhibition of the Stelae-Statues of Lunigiana is found at the Archeological Museums of Pontremoli.

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Group of Stelae-Statues of Lunigiana, Museum of Montremoli

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