The Malaspina family was politically divided between a “dry” and a “flowery” branches, the latter to which belonged the Guelph Moroello, guest of Dante who earned a place in the Purgatory of the Comedia.
The flowered branch was then divided into four branches: Mulazzo, Villafranca, Val di Trebbia and Giovagallo, to which Moroello di Manfredi belonged.
The Malaspina fortress in Sarzanello
In these places and many others, the Castles of Lunigiana testify to the presence of an important feudal organization of the Malaspina family, known in the depths by Dante during his exile in the Apennine territory. A strategic organization for the control of one of the most important road sections of Italy in the Middle Ages through a dense network of fortifications in visual contact with each other and of the villages built within their walls.
Visiting the Castles of Lunigiana today is one of the most inspiring experiences of the territory, an excellent diversion to explore the historical hinterland of the coast between Liguria and Tuscany, in the midst of the nature of the valleys of Magra and Vara.
We speak of three castles of Lunigiana which are important and fascinating examples of the territory, which allow an extraordinary view from the mountains to the sea.
1 In Castelnuovo, the Castle of the 1306 Peace overlooks the whole valley
The perfectly preserved Castelnuovo Castle and its magnificent tower
The Castle of Castelnuovo belonged to the bishops of Luni, and is one of the best preserved examples of all the Castles of Lunigiana. Its crenellated tower with a square plan emerges majestic and is visible from Luni and the sea, while from its windows one can admire one of the most evocative views of the entire Val di Magra
Every fourth Sunday of August the village celebrates the anniversary of the famous Peace of Dante, signed on 6 October 1306 to seal the peace between the Bishops of Luni and the Marquises Malaspina who changed the historical course for the entire valley.
2 In Mulazzo, the ruins of the Castle and the House of Dante celebrate the Poet
The remains of the Castello di Mulazzo
Mulazzo is a scattered municipality composed of sixteen small villages with remarkable examples of medieval fortifications: Lusuolo, Gavedo and Castevoli and the same “Casa di Dante” a tower house of the walls of the medieval historical village, the building that hosted the poet in his trips to Lunigiana.
3 Madrignano looks at the Val di Vara and the Val di Magra
The restored Madrignano Castle now houses the Municipality of Calice al Cornoviglio
An initial documentation of the castle appears in an imperial diploma of 1164 with which Federico Barbarossa grants the castrum Madrognani to Obizzo Malaspina. Previously, the fortress in Madrignano near Calice at Cornovoglio in Val di Vara must have belonged to the Este family, or to the Bishops of Luni. The Malaspina retained power until the advent of the Republic of Genoa in 1416 with the Fieschi family.
The view from the Castle of Madrignano ranges over Val di Magra and Val di Vara, in a unique perspective