The Garfagnana
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

(LU) - CAP 55032 - 270 meters a.s.l.
Castelnuovo is the capital and heart of the green Garfagnana which is the northern part of the valley of the river Serchio enclosed within the mountains of the Apuan Alps and the Appennino Tosco Emiliano.
It is far from Lucca and the Versilia 40 Km.
Palleroso, Monterotondo, Antisciana, Gragnanella, Cerretoli, Colle and Rontano, are the fractions, of ancient origin, situated in a picturesque landscape and paths, through green forests, allowing a taste of nature at the same time discovering the history of a population with its daily rhythms and the architecture of the rural civilization.
The patron of the city is St. Peter festival appellant June 29.
Among the main events are: the Carnival with parades of floats and masked groups, the Business Week in August, the traditional fair in September in which cultural activities such as national awards for poetry "Olinto Dini" and narrative "Garfagnana". Meeting of art with famous painters national, folkloric events, sports, musical and culinary. craft, but from June to October is a series of activities of all kinds even in the hamlet - administrative division where the revived folk tradition.
From Castelnuovo is therefore possible to reach quickly the most interesting tourist destinations Serchio Valley, with itineraries of trekking on foot or horseback or mountain bike, while the city has in sports facilities, modern and functional, the possibility of practice every discipline, from swimming to tennis, football, the athlete.


The first written documents date back to 740 when Castelnuovo was a small village, with a church that depended on the nearby "pievania" (Territory to which the priest exercises his ministry), Pieve di Fosciana. A century later, in the 872, the city already had castle walls.
Then, the Countess Matilde was the mistress, and in this period became passable center: Federico I was then possession of assets of Matilde, and the Papacy, free municipality. Florence and Pisa that the contrast from Lucca.
In XIV century it was enlarged the city wall but it was in 1430, who voluntarily submitting to Estensi, along with many other communities Garfagnana, acquired important privileges and then reached the maximum development.
Castelnuovo became the capital of the Province and, as such, the residence of governors and commissioners sent to govern the destiny of the Province, the poets Ludovico Ariosto (1522-1525) and Fulvio Testi (1640-1642) were among these.
At the end of'700. the French occupation infers the population caused deep wounds.
With the Napoleonic principality of Baciocchi the city became the headquarters of the district, the Restoration brought back then the family of Este to the Government of Garfagnana until 1859, when it happened, the annexation plebiscite, the Piedmont and the Kingdom of Italy in 1860 It was therefore aggregated to the province of Massa and Castelnuovo back seat of a sub-prefecture.
In 1924 and then was permanently assigned to the province of Lucca.


La Rocca is today, essentially a Renaissance style, as the result of long continuous restructuring and adjustments. The original building dates back to the eleventh century - possibly a tower-house - around which it will develop then the fortified complex that will get more impetus, during the rule of lucca, first with Castruccio Castracani of Antelminelli who built a large tract of city walls and then with Paul Guinigi.
Where, then, Castelnuovo became Estense capital of the province, the stronghold absolved the function of seat government's administrative and housing commissioners, undergoing changes that, while leaving intact primitive plant, made it more suitable for new uses.
The war, caused to the building, as indeed the whole city, serious damage, the heavy restoration of the postwar period have also made several changes to the structure.


Originally the castle, located around the fortress and enclosed within a wall about 650 meters of development with various towers, had three doors: "Porta Micca" from which you access still in the village of Saint Lucia through a stone bridge, built by Castruccio Castracani of Antelminelli, lord of Lucca, in 1324 together with a broad stretch of wall: "Porta Carraia", now demolished, stood where now there is the Piazzetta Santa Croce and from which access was gained to the district of Madonna with another stone bridge in the shape of a saddle horse that crossed the stream Turrite, built at the time of Duke Borso of Este (1453) to unite the community the right of the river where, in '600 had a factory for construction of military weapons and gunpowder, "Porta Alta" or of the "Puglia" from which access was gained by square of the fort at "Le Capanne". The existing door on the square was opened in 1675 and met at the center of the village inhabited the village of St. Antonio and the square, surrounded by rich shops.
The fortress has the shape typical of medieval buildings, with towers at the corners and a square tower at the center who also performed the function of prison: three were the cells, called "Carandina", Medium Tower and Tower Fund. Others were located in different places of the building. We do not have any documents that might clarify how time has been built, we can only guess with the history of the city, that the primary structure was used, although certainly in a tower earlier era, a principle of fort or outpost would necessarily exist. At the time of domination lucchese first Castruccio of Antelminelli, as already mentioned, built broad stretch of city walls, then Paul Guinigi lord of Lucca consolidated and expanded the castle as he did for other fortifications in the province, archaeological evidence confirm that the square tower dates from this period.
When Castelnuovo became capital of the province of Este, the Fortress begins to serve as a dwelling the commissioners and governors who followed, and undergoes various changes, which while retaining the inherent primitive structure, make it more suitable for new uses to which it is intended.
In '596 the windows were open to the porch of the tower overlooking the river Turrite where Ludovico Ariosto seems to have composed many of his verses. In 1632 the castle was completely restored, and in 1674 the door was adorned by two columns of boulder, still existing, transferred here from the Convent of the Capuchin friars.
Count Pirro Graziani, governor in 1675, he opened the door that now enters the main square and the terrace above.
Many of the governors wanted to leave their names engraved inside the castle: the door of the hall Earl Marcantonio Ricci (1622), then Emilio Boiardo (1625), Federico Malaspina (1760), Count Pirro Graziani in the lintel of the door which gives access to the terrace.


Located within the city wall is dedicated to Sts. Peter and Paul. The first dates back to the tenth century but the current building was rebuilt over the Roman church in the early of the 500, with building extensions and architectural enrichment procedure. The Baroque period brought further changes to internal colonnade retaining the austere facade. The last war caused severe damage to the whole structure and the subsequent restructuring rediscovered the classic lines. The Dome still works fine now: the "Pala di San Giuseppe", earthenware Robbia school maybe made by Jerome(Girolamo), the son of Andrew next to Jacopo Sansovino, a SS. Crucifix, wooden sculpture of artist of the fifteenth century, popularly known as the "Cristo nero" ("Black Christ"), the "Madonna with Saints", painting by Michele di Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, a marble frame of the workshop lucchese Civitali and several valuable paintings, seventeenth century.


It stands on a hill just outside Castelnuovo. Built towards the end of the 500 by Duke Alfonso to offer city a safe refuge and protection in case of attack and siege. Built and designed by the architect Antonio Pasi, the fortress is made up of a long city wall with seven bulwarks placed asymmetrically in order to adapt to the characteristics of the soil.
Were placed inside buildings for the troops and the offices, now there were only seven, the others were demolished or abandoned to themselves.
For several years there is an ongoing project to restructure and retrain the fortress.
References, site:


The construction of the Convent of St. Joseph, better known as "Cappuccini" was begun in 1632 by the will of Duke Francesco I of Este and of its father, monk Father Giambattista of Este;
already Alfonso III, Duke of Modena, who four years earlier had left the throne to enter the Cappuccini religion and where he died in 1644. The tomb inside the church remembers the historical figure.
Of paintings commissioned to Guido Reni (Marriage of the Virgin), Guercino (St. Francis receiving the stigmata), to Annibale Carracci (Rest in Egypt) no work of art is now on site. Several decades after it was provided to rintonacare the facade of the church, which was reached by a double stairway, and demolish the porch in front of the portal of the convent.
The complex, deleted and looted during the government Cisalpino, after many vicissitudes has been restored.


Extensive documentation of the archaeological Valley Serchio attested in the museum that, in addition to a didactic on human exposure, reports of two periods documented in the particularly significant and unique findings of the territory of the Garfagnana, the Mesolithic (8000-4500 BC), which are illustrated in several respects, the spatial location of settlements, the use and function of stone tools and the Iron Age, which offers mainly finds that testify aspects and ways of life of the people Ligure-Apuan, the fourth century. a.C. until the Roman occupation.


A tourist attraction and of great importance when meeting for the entire population of the Garfagnana, is the ancient market of banquets, of medieval origin, which is held every Thursday morning in the streets and squares of the historic center. Once within this market, frequented by merchants of the neighboring provinces, it was possible to sell, purchase and exchange any item, from products of the land, livestock, to any kind of artefact: they were treated even the recruitment of soldiers of fortune. To understand the economic and social importance, such that a law did not allow Estensi to implement the arrest on Thursday so as not to disturb the performance of the market.
Old is also the fair in September, which for eight days, giving rise to initiatives of the tradition Rural (cheese of the Garfagnana, livestock and other produce of the earth), as well as interesting promotional events and cultural activities, including the feature extraction of the "Tombola in the Piazza" (Tombola like Bingo).