Italy - Tuscany - Castelnuovo di Garfagnana -

Castiglione di Garfagnana
(Castelnuovo di Garfagnana 3)

LINKS to other pages in the Italy website and the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

Home Page
1 : Barga
2 : Pisa
3 : Lucca
4 : Portovénere
5 : Florence
6 : Siena
7 : Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
8 : Apuan Alps
9 : Guest Book:


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A morning visit to Castiglione (Castle of the Lion) di Garfagnana. The steep road leads up from Calelnuevo to the fortress and walled village.

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The origin of the city dates back to a Roman camp built to command the valley leading to the San Pellegrino Pass, the easiest transit route for the Apennine armies. The fortress later developed under the Lombard and Frank dominations.

In 1170 it was besieged by the Republic of Lucca. Castiglione surrendered, but the high taxes led the city to form a league with others communes of Garfagnana against Lucca.

In 1227 Castiglione was again besieged and suffered further destruction by the Lucca's soldiers. Political contests continued in the following years until a peaceful situation was resolved in 1371 in which Lucca took control of Castiglione and introduced a permanent administrator.

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During the 15th century Castiglione was one of the few communities in Garfagnana that did not submit to the Este family, remaining loyal to the Republic of Lucca. Throughout the wars against Estensi, the fortress was again besieged, in particular in 1603 and 1613. A long peaceful period followed, marred only by controversies over boundary rights with the neighbouring communes.

The Congress of Vienna (1815) assigned Castiglione to Marie Louise of Bourbon, Grand Duchess of Lucca, who in 1819 gave it to Francis IV of Modena.

The city is famous for its well-preserved 13th-century medieval walls with large towers (the Torrioni) and the Rocca ("Castle"). These are to be seen in the pictures left, above and below.

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Map of the old town of Castiglione   (right)

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Wall of La Rocca (Castle) seen from the Chiesa (Church) di S. Pietro (left)

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The church of San Pietro was erected in 723 by two Lombard brothers, Aurinand and Gudifrid, but was largely rebuilt in the 12th century by Bishop Guido III of Lucca. The 14th century church of San Michele (seen in the picture) is the other main holy edifice of the town. Both churches use wall towers as their belfries   (left)

The wall leading into the valley from the Torricella to the Torrione del Fondaccio  (below)

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The visit to Castiglione di Garfagnana is complete. On the next page we start our journey in the Apuan Alps.
Please click on the 'Next' button (lower right)

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