The village of Caprio takes its name from the stream flowing to its right, a tributary of the Magra river that once defined the boundary line between Pontremoli, the only free medieval commune in Lunigiana, and the territory of Filattiera under the domain of the Malaspina family.
The upper part of the village is structured around a series of galleries and passageways: a few settlements in Lunigiana – among others, Apella, Castevoli, Ponticello, Lusignana and Cavallana – present architectural and urban features that differ from the usual city centre configuration and its traditional open-topped streets.
These villages are characterized by a street network that is completely vaulted in stone. Walking down these streets you will not find access to the actual homes, only to service rooms: stables, warehouses, barns. The entrance to the private residences is positioned high up. This specific urban structure might have derived from a Sardinian or Nuragic tradition and is probably the result of the exchanges that the feudal Lunigiana lords established with Sardinia since the time of the Lombards.
Another distinctive trait of Caprio’s architecture is the local tower house, a fourteenth or fifteenth century housing model that can be admired also in Ponticello: based on a square foundation, it is not accessible from street level. Its tiny windows and defensive capacity are attributable to the fact that Caprio lied on the strategic frontier between the commune of Pontremoli and the feudal territory owned by the Malaspina lords, represented by the flowering thorn of their family crest.
Source: Trame di Lunigiana