‘How many castles are there in Lunigiana? – More than one hundred…’ With no need to exagerate, those who don’t know this land and have never visited are left astonished.
Of course, you must always specify that some are ruins and crumbling towers, and that you shouldn’t be expecting the Neuschwanstein Castle or the splendor of the Loire Valley. Still, the Castles of Lunigiana are magnificent monuments full of life where this history meets mystery and imagination.
The events of their past are permanently linked to the fate of feudal power; to the strategic lay of this land between North and South, sea and mountains; to the affairs of arms and of love involving the lords that lived, controlled and destroyed here. Thick plots of impossible love – like the one between Bianca Maria Aloisia Malaspina and her groom – murders and barbaric violence – it is wellknown the infamous brutality of depraved Giovan Gasparo Malaspina in Treschietto -; plots of poets who changed history, of personal passions – what a pity not to have met poet and intellectual Loris Jacopo Bononi in his Castello di Castiglion del Terziere -, of artists who turned their fate around – like sculptor Pietro Cascella and the Verrucola Castle or the bohemian Waterfield family and the Brunella in Aulla], of regeneration that softened its lines – that’s what happened in Massa – of foreign prophets who rediscovered beauty in Tresana, of a dame disguised as spy and of another one, the amazing and inspiring Madì, who was friend of Bohemians and travellers in the Second Post War Lerici. Stories of resistance and abandonment eventually.
THE LAND OF OVER 100 CASTLES
As you cross this Land of One Hundred Castles, it is impossible not to be enchanted, impossible not to follow the umpteenth sign leading you to another stronghold, even just to see what remains. Impossible not to let yourself be influenced by the magnificence of some or the romantic lure of others. Stately homes, bastions, military fortresses and towers chase after each other along mountain ridges, controlling rivers and trade routes. This widespread network grew ever thicker, in the absence of strong municipalities, and especially under the control of the Malaspina family, who followed a different policy of dividing up their land from other lords: this multiplied the number of castles, but greatly weakened their power. In fact, the Malaspinas did not adhere to the rule of the first male son, but divided their property up into equal parts among the descendants of their different factions and families.
Speaking of Lunigiana is speaking about its castles, discovering its history and getting to know this land bordering Tuscany, Emilia and Liguria.