The origins of Aghinolfi Castle’s name seem to be very close to that of Agilulfo [agin-terror | wulf-wolf], a 6th Century Lombard king descending from the Thuringhen. In 753, the Lombard king Astolfo donated the Castle to his brother-in-law, and the Lombards kept it under their control until 1376, when it was passed to the Republic of Lucca, becoming one of its most strategic military outposts. Looking out from its bastion to the view that stretches from Livorno up to the Ligurian coast of the Gulf of La Spezia, the importance of this bulwark is clear.
At the end of the 15th Century it was granted to Charles VIII of France: at the time, the manor was a fortified hamlet surrounded by three walls. Inside the first wall there were storage rooms and buildings used for shelter; 87 houses were defended by the other internal walls and a drawbridge; and at the top of the hill arose the castle itself, with an octagonal fortified tower, a circular tower and other defensive curtains.
The structure was irreparably damaged by the plundering that resulted from Lucca’s abandonment of it in 1799. Following the Jacobean invasion, the castle was robbed of bricks, windows, doors and anything else that could be taken away. The situation was later exacerbated by Elisa Baiocchi, Napoleon’s sister and the Princess of Lucca who, in order to solve the problem of the frequent malaria fevers in the plains of Montignoso, decided to build flood-gates in nearby Cinquale, using whatever remained of the dwellings inside the Castle walls. No help was given by Allied bombing during World War II when, as a Gothic Line stronghold, the fortress was occupied by a Nazi garrison.
Two centuries of disgrace had to pass before restoration work began. Today, thanks to the most recent works that have rebuilt the seven towers of the encircling walls, the guarded bastion and the rectangular bulwark with the suspended passage, the Castle has become a museum with an internal park that is accessible along a walkway, opening up to the air and the sight of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Source : Trame di Lunigiana