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An ideal setting off point for hikers and climbers, Stazzema is located several km above Seravezza in the Apuan Alps and is the trailhead for many easy footpaths leading through the mountains. The territory of the Comune di Stazzema covers about 80 square kms, however, the area is largely comprised of small villages and hamlets that look to Stazzema for civic leadership rather than comprising one large town.
The Comune di Stazzema was awarded the Gold Medal for Military Valor after the Second World War-- even although the town lay very close to the German Gothic Line of defense, it remained a stronghold of the partisans and patriots thoughout the War, a tribute to their courage and bravery. One of the worst attrocities of WW II took place at Sant'Anna di Stazzema on August 12,1944, when a little before seven in the morning, 300 Nazi soldiers approached the village from three different directions, rounded up all the inhabitants they could find, and shot them to death. Within three hours, over 560 innocent people-mainly women, children and elderly-lay dead, for reasons which today are still unclear.
The village was completely decimated in the attack, and even the village animals did not escape the carnage. Today the zone is called the National Peace Park and a museum and monument to the dead, known as the Sant'Anna Museum of the Resistance, remembers the event with ongoing art exhibitions promoting peace, and a short video film that gives information about what happened. The museum is hosted by one of the survivors, Ennio Mancini, who is often present to add his recollections and insight to the event. Stazzema, there is a wonderful example of Romanesque church architecture at Santa Maria Assunta, established in the 13 th century.
To reach Stazzema, take the Aurelia and follow the signs for Seravezza. Continue through Seravezza and follow the signs for Stazzema. To reach Sant'Anna di Stazzema, take the road between Pietrasanta and Camaiore called the Sarzanese, Sant'Anna di Stazzema is signposted about 6 km from Pietrasanta. Follow the road winding first through olive trees and further up through the castagna , the chestnut forest, for another 10km. Stop and take in the magnificent views of the Versilia coast and surrounding hills on the way.