Of all the most spectacular and fascinating scenery that you may encounter in nature, one is certainly that of the Apuan Alps, from whose womb has been extracted for centuries the precious white statuary marble, a favorite of Michelangelo, but well known and appreciated even before the ancient Romans. It is precisely at the foot of this imposing mountain range in 177 BC, at the end of the hard campaign-war against the warlike Ligurians that the triumvirs P.Elio, M.Emilio Lepido e Cn. Scinio founded the colony of Luna on the left bank of the river Magra, where the economy was based almost entirely on the exploitation of Apuan marble basins.
In the Age of Augustus, the period of greatest splendor not only for Rome, but for Luni itself, the precious material was used to build and beautify the most important public and religious buildings such as the Theatre and the Amphitheatre, the Great Temple and the Capitol as well as luxurious private homes and, most unusually, to cover the walls of the city.
The slow death of Luni began with barbarian invasions, with the silting of the harbor and with the epidemics that forced the population to migrate to safer and healthier places.
Only trace amounts of its former glory could be seen by Dante during his exile in Lunigiana, making him count it among the dead cities of which only the name remains.