That of the Castle of Lerici is a long and complex history that has seen succeed for centuries domains and controls that have led to progressive modification interventions and expansion of its structure.
Its majestic and proud mass that today we can admire while it dominates the gulf overlooking the sea, is the result of the last fortifications which have taken place since 1555 and skillfully given to its former glory thanks to the restoration of the past decades. But its origins date back to the first century after 1000, when already Lerici was contested between Lucca and Genoa, passing under the possession of the Malaspina. Not a real castle, but a tower in defense of the place, was erected at that time, until the village came under the domination of Pisa that decided to fortify it and build a defensive castle, from which already stood a large pentagonal tower. We are in 1241, but after just fifteen years Lerici is sold to Genoa, the castle is expanded and the tower is reinforced with a structure that incorporates the previous one, allowing them to withstand the assaults of Guelph during the fourteenth century.
Wars, sieges, conquests and revolts were followed over the centuries to lead us to an important new stage in the history of this extraordinary castle. In 1555, in fact, are taken over the work of fortification, reinforcing the perimeter walls which in some cases reach 6 meters thick, making the castle a majestic unconquerable fortress that still amazes us for strength and elegance.
And like any respectable castle, including that of Lerici has its own ghost that hovers between rooms. This is not some sad story belonging to past ages, the presence still inhabits these places is that of Maddalena Di Carlo, known to all as Madì, which after the war became the vestal of the youth hostel housed in the premises of the castle. A woman loved and respected by all, whose fame reached the four corners of the earth, from which she received regular gifts and cards with which decorated common areas. Friendly and charismatic was adored by young people, estimated by the artists and well-liked by many nomads who were welcomed in the magnificent fortress and one night crowned the Queen of the Rovers with a crown made of cardboard and tin foil.
It is not difficult, to imagine that this slim figure and elegant continue to visit the many travelers who still roam the castle, still fascinated by its history and its extraordinary views of the gulf, or attracted by the wonders of the museum paleontological today attracts tourists from all over the world.
The castle is therefore a must-see for anyone to reach Lerici for the first time. The many paths that you can choose to access the large terrace offer us glimpses and new emotions: the steep staircase of 168 steps climbing the rocks of the source port, the narrow streets that wind through a labyrinth in ancient village or tunnel dug into the mountain and recently transformed into an unusual “art Gallery”, which leads us to the opposite side of the castle opening us unexpected views of the open sea.
Once arrived on top we can catch our breath for a long time admiring the scenery that opens up in front of our eyes, following the line of the bay to the charming figure of San Terenzo castle that stands in front of us, to continue on the coast framed from the islands of the Gulf of La Spezia and then get lost in the horizon, where at dusk we will see the sun disappear.
Not to be missed at this point, will be the visit to the Paleontological Museum, where evocative reconstructions of environments and Jurassic dinosaurs will excite the little ones in an unexpected and involving journey back in time, when giant and fascinating creatures lived in these places long before man and his extraordinary transformations.
Source: Trame di Lunigiana