Monti di Licciana Castle
In Monti di Licciana stands one of the best-conserved castles in Lunigiana, which is still the summer dwelling of one of the Malaspina family’s descendants.
Deep in a forest of centuries-old holm oaks – spectacular in autumn – the Castle rises up on a hill where it is thought that a defense bastion existed at the beginning of the second millennium, controlling the salt road that connected Parma with the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Another legend narrates that, where the village of Monti is found, a bit further down towards the valley below the Castle, laid an ancient city, Venelia, that was destroyed by the Longobards during their advance down the peninsula in the 7th Century. In other words, history tells us of the strategic importance of Monti in defending the entire Taverone Valley.
However, we only have definite reports of the castle’s existence from 1275. Owned by the Counts of Moregnano during the High Medieval Period, Monti became an independent feud under the Malaspinas in 1355, and then under the Marquis Simone and Nicola Malaspina in 1400. It was attacked by the Campofregosos of Genoa and stayed under their control for fourteen years, before returning to the Malaspinas, who extended and reinforced its walls, leading the feud in peace for twenty-four years. But the new walls did little to save it from the siege by Giovanni dalle Bande Nere (Giovanni of the Black Bands).
In returned to the Malaspinas in 1638, but upon the death of Spinetta, the feud crumbled and fell under the aegis of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
The castle, which was restored following the earthquake in 1920, has a trapezoidal structure. A square fortified tower is located at its northwest corner, where stone supports used for external defensive devices are visible. The other corners are reinforced by circular towers, while we can find Ghibelline crenellations along the internal perimeter, which is protected by a wide pitched roof.
Source: Trame di Lunigiana