castle overview

In describing the most memorable characteristics of the Park's territories, one must not overlook the artifacts of regional cultural heritage that accent the remarkable scenery. Castles can be found in the park, primarily in the regions of Lunigiana and Garfagnana. The castles formerly in existence on the north side of the park are now mostly in ruin.

The Lunigiana region is a veritable land of castles. In the historic past, the territory was divided into many duchies and fiefs - everyone wanted to own a piece of land along the road to Rome. Some of these historic principalities were as big as a couple of villages. All the castles were built for military reasons, but over the centuries some turned into palaces which are still inhabited today. For example, the castle of Verrucole near Fivizzano or the small castles of Monti and Bastia in Lunigiana were converted from fortresses into palaces.

Always check with the visitor center at each destination for opening times, because these can vary over the year.

Castle highlights in the Park

Castle of Camano

Italian Name: Castello di Comano

Location: Comano (MS)

Region: Tuscany

This medieval fortress located in the upper Taverone River valley is surrounded by pastures, chestnut groves and the Apennine Mountains. Although, archaeologists have found evidence from the site that would indicate inhabitants since Roman times.       

The fortress's location helped the surrounding territory to thrive during the Middle Ages since it was positioned to face the major passageways between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. Soldiers from the towers could spot the enemy coming from great distances and since the fortress was built primarily with military functions, it could successfully fight off these adversaries.

Today, only the imposing ruins remain, but the tower and the gateway have been recently restored.

Gragnola Castle

Italian Name: Castello di Gragnola

Location: Fivizzano (MS)

Region: Tuscany

The castle, also known as the "Eagle's Castle" dominates the village of Gragnola from the hills. One of the largest castles of Lunigiana still holds its original central tower that was built in the 13th century and the original outer walls that were constructed in the 15th century. Many changes were made in the 16th century by the Malaspina Family, who made it their home until their decline. Now abandoned for centuries, the earthquake of 1929 has compressed the stability and is currently being restored.

Fortunately, before the castle was completely lost, a private individual bought the historic ruins. The restoration project began in 1996. The project manager stated the importance of this restoration being carried out with passion, care, competence and respect for the original form and building materials. Once the restoration is complete and the castle is safe, the castle will be reopened to the public.

www.castellitoscani.com

Fortress of Verrucole

Italian Name: Fortezza delle Verrucole

Location: San Romano in Garfagnana (LU)

Region: Tuscany

The fortress is located on the hill overlooking the town of San Romano, Garfagnana. Verrucole is considered the most important medieval vestiges of the area. There are traces of ancient settlements and also numerous Neolithic findings. The territory was originally divided and disputed between two lords, the Bacciano and the more powerful Gherardinghi.

For a very long time the castle lay abandoned and was reduced to a heap of overgrown vegetation. The local municipality feared that the structure would collapse. Following the acquisition of the site by the municipality in 1980, the property is now in a good state of preservation. The remains of the tower and many other parts have all undergone restoration.

Fortress of Minozzo

Italian Name: Rocca di Minozzo

Location: Villa Minozzo (RE)

Region: Emilia-Romagna

The fragmented nature of the structure prevents establishing the exact date the fortress was built. All that is known about the structure is that it acted as an armed bulwark in defense of the Upper Secchia valley. During the 11th century, the fortress was used as residence of the Head of the court and the garrison of soldiers allocated by the Bishop of Reggio.

The fortress held many other purposes as well. At the bottom of the fortress was a prison, that was guarded by two watchtowers: one on Mount Castellino and the other at the bottom of the Mullet township. 

Since 1521, the castle has experienced extreme deterioration over the years and became dangerous for people to inhabit. Ultimately the fortress was able to survive and is now going to be preserved. During the rebuilding and renovations of the castle, several archaeological precious items were found and are currently kept in the dungeons of the old town hall in the capital of the town.

Malaspina Castle in Filattiera

Italian Name: Castello Malaspina a Filattiera

Location: Filattiera (MS)

Region: Tuscany

The Filattiera Castle is on two sides of the main square, surrounded by a large garden, once guarded by a moat. The building is almost entirely made of stone, which shows its architecture and history of its time.

The classical superposition of three large halls still remains. The upper one is covered by wooden coffered, the hall on the ground floor holds a  walkway, and the mighty central pillar holding four gigantic stone vaults has been restored.

This castle is now privately owned but travelers can arrange a visit. Calls are accepted on Monday morning.

Telephone: (+39) 018-745-7301

http://www.terredilunigiana.com

Verrucola Castle

Italian Name: Castello della Verrucola

Location: Fivizzano (MS)

Region: Tuscany

The Verrucola Castle is a precious example of medieval architecture. The first documents indicating the existence of the Verrucola Castle date back to 1077. The Emperor Henry IV granted control to the Estensi family. This is of one of the vassals of Matilde. At the dawn of the 12th Century its name was associated with the Bosi family, but numerous dynasties fought for its control, as they were interested in controlling the routes crossing the Apennines nearby. In 1418, Verrucola was the site of a shocking bloodbath; a conspiracy plotted behind the back of the Marquis Bartolomeo Malaspina. He was killed with an axe along with his pregnant wife, his children and servants. 

From the end of the 15th Century, the fortress experienced more devastation with an earthquake in 1481 and thus abandoned. In the 17th Century it became a convent for Augustinian nuns. But it was abandoned once again.

Currently, the castle is in excellent condition, thanks to some restoration work carried out by a private artist named Pietro Cascella. Although the castle is privately owned, it is open to the public on Fridays.

Castle of Bastia

Italian Name: Castello della Bastia

Location: Licciana Nardi (MS)

Region: Tuscany

The castle is located in the center of a small suburb of Bastia, towering over the town at 500 meters (1,641 feet) high. It is strategically positioned near an important passageway and road, in the Taverone Valley. The fortress occupied a strategic position and the point forced passage between the regions of Liguria, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. This helped strengthen the zone and took advantage of the important road access. 

The castle was preserved very well and currently a family resides there, as it is now privately owned. The four round towers are still visible as they were hundreds of years ago. The imposing structure we see today is a quadrangular with cylindrical corner towers and a central keep. Its last noble owner was the beautiful woman, Anna Malaspina.

Other castles, towers and ancient castle ruins

Castle of Bagnone

Italian Name: Castello di Bagnone

Location: Bagnone (MS)

Region: Massa Carrara

Castle of Bacciano

Italian Name: Castellaccio di Bacciano

Location: San Romano in Garfagnana (LU)

Region: Tuscany

Castle of Bosco Rossi

Italian Name: Castello dei Rossi di Bosco

Location: Corniglio (PR)

Region: Emilia-Romagna

Castle of Scalelle

Italian Name: Castello delle Scalelle

Location: Villa Minozzo (RE)

Region: Emilia-Romagna

Castle of Castelnovo ne' Monti

Italian Name: Castello di Castelnovo Nè Monti

Location: Castelnovo ne' Monti (RE)

Region: Emilia-Romagna

Castle of Corniglio

Italian Name: Castello di Corniglio

Location: Corniglio (PR)

Region: Emilia-Romagna

Licciana Nardi Castle

Italian Name: Castello di Licciana Nardi

Location: Licciana Nardi (MS)

Region: Tuscany

Castle Mountains

Italian Name: Castello di Monti

Location: Licciana Nardi (MS)

Region: Tuscany

Pontebosio Castle

Italian Name: Castello di Pontebosio

Location: Licciana Nardi (MS)

Region: Tuscany

Castle Terrarossa

Italian Name: Castello di Terrarossa

Location: Licciana Nardi (MS)

Region: Tuscany

Blockhouse Sparavalle

Italian Name: Fortino di Sparavalle

Location: Busana (RE)

Region: Emilia-Romagna

Towers of Gova

Italian Name: Torrione di Gova

Location: Villa Minozzo (RE)

Region: Emilia-Romagna

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© 2018 - Ente Parco Nazionale Appennino Tosco-Emiliano
Via Comunale, 23 54010 Sassalbo di Fivizzano (MS) Tel. 0585-947200 - Contatti
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The Park is a mosaic of villages

The Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park is made of a variety of distinct and different pieces that come together to create one unforgettable vacation.
While the diversity of the villages, attractions, forests, and mountains may surprise you, their close proximity allows visitors to see a little bit of everything in a short amount of time.
The more you see, the more you can appreciate the entire region. Explore the mosaic of places, people and experiences which make up the Park!

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