The Malaspina di Fosdinovo Castle is surely one of Lunigiana’s most fascinating strongholds, for its splendid architecture as well as for the stories that have been played out here over the centuries. From this strategic position, with its view that reaches to the sea and the Magra Plain, the Malaspina family controlled the entire territory with an iron fist for centuries.
The first fortification dates back to the 12th Century. It has been modified and enlarged over time, until becoming the castle we can see today: a quadrangular building with four round towers, a semicircular bastion and two internal courtyards. Beyond the Renaissance portico that welcomes the castle’s guests, you can discover hanging gardens, loggias and terraces. You can then stroll along the walkways on its walls and examine the surrounding territories, from the Apuan and Apennine mountains to the sea: in the distance you might recognize Corsica, Elba and Liguria with its Gulf of Poets, that captured writers like Shelley, Byron, Petrarch and Montale, and imagine the French Alps beyond…
A visit to the castle brings you through halls with furniture and frescoes from the end of the 1800s, rooms that some say were the sleeping quarters of Dante – a family friend of the Malaspinas – and the room with the trap door, with the torture rooms still lying underneath it. A visit to Malaspina di Fosdinovo Castle is surely a journey through history and mystery. Mystery because of the endless stories and legends surrounding the castle and its inhabitants, the most famous being that of the ghost of Bianca Maria Aloisia, the daughter of Jacopo Malaspina and Olivia Grimaldi.
This legend tells of a girl that fell in love with a young stable boy. This was an insult to the noble family that rejected the young couple; they threatened to lock the girl in the castle’s prison. The couple’s rebellious spirit pushed the Marquis to lock the girl up in a convent, and to send her lover far away from Fosdinovo; but when she refused to be ordained, she was brought back to the castle and tortured. In the end, in order to avoid further scandal, she was walled up in a room and left to die, along with a dog, the symbol of loyalty, and a wild boar, the symbol of rebellion. Today, people say that her spirit still lives in the castle’s walls. The story of Bianca Maria Aloisia is still told, in honor of the memory of a great and tragic love story.
This ghost story is part of the mysterious and passionate atmosphere surrounding the castle, which today is a destination for “ghost hunters” from all over the world. But even for those not in search of mystery, Malaspina di Fosdinovo Castle remains a place of fascinating beauty, rich in history and culture. In addition to being a museum and private dwelling, the castle hosts a Bed & Breakfast and holds a prestigious residency for artists and writers.
Source: Trame di Lunigiana