In Virgoletta it’s impossible to get lost: the only road the hamlet has developed around is a straight line that runs along the crest of a hill, a few kilometers from Villafranca. This leads you from the entrance straight into the whale’s belly, or rather, into the internal courtyard of Virgoletta Castle, an imposing structure tagged, we might say, by the Spino Secco branch of the Malaspina family, with numerous coats of arms on its main door to welcome visitors.
Today we can still see its walls, which were raised to more than ten meters high by the Malaspinas at the beginning of the 12th Century. We can also still see the moats and the drawbridge that separated it from the hamlet, and the internal loggia with cross vaults designed by Galeotto Campofregoso from Genoa, that softened the square shape of the original fortified tower. The halls covered with frescoes, with which the Malaspinas concluded the conversion of the fortification into an elegant residence during the 16th Century, have been preserved.
With the end of the feudal system in Lunigiana, Virgoletta became part of the Cisalpine Republic, and in the post-Napoleonic era, it was first under the Duchy of Modena, and then under that of Parma, until Italy’s national unification. Today, the castle is a condominium, having been subdivided during the 1900s, following the earthquake in 1920 that destroyed parts of its fortified tower, and then World War II, when Virgoletta fell into the hands of the
Germans who moved their control center there.
Source: Trame di Lunigiana