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Towns of the area

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Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

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Inhabitants in 1991: 6.309

The territory of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana extends for 28,50 square kilometres in the middle valley of the Serchio, occupying for the most part a picturesque basin where the valleys of the rivers Turrite Secca and Castiglione converge.

Cited for the first time in a document of the VIII century, Catelnuovo was originally the Lordly dominion of the Counts della Verrucola Gherardenga. Included in the Lucca Vicariate of Castiglione di Garfagnana – as declared in a Lucca statute from 1308 – Castelnuovo developed under the Estensi, who affirmed their power over it in 1429 maintaining it subsequently even after the brief Lordships of Francesco della Rovere (1512) and dei Medici (1521). Seat of the Commissariat and Ducal Governors, the most celebrated among which was Ludovico Ariosoto (who noted desolately he found himself in a “land of wolves and thieves”), Caselnuovo became the most important political and administrative centre of the Garfagnana.

In 1579 its defensive structures were strengthened with the construction of the Monte Alfonso fortress, which was erected with that purpose by the Estense Duke, Alfonso II. With the exception of the Napoleonic period, with the creation of the department of the Alpi Apuane, and the successive fleeting passage to the Duchy of Lucca (until 1814), the towns of the Garfagnana, including Castelnuovo, remained separated from the history of Toscana until the Unity of Italy, when they were aggregated to the province of Massa, where they remained until 1923. In the winter of 1944-45 Castelnuovo behind the “Gothic Line” suffered heavy destruction losing several monuments of notable value. The town is the birthplace of the artist Giuseppe Porta, called il Salviati (1520ca – 1575).

Places to visit:
The Fortress, now the Seat of the Municipality, it was constructed in the XII century and remodelled several times.
Il Duomo, splendid Renaissance construction dedicated to S. Pietro, preserves Robbiane terracotta and a 1400 wooden crucifix.

Historical info reproduced upon authorization of Regione Toscana - Dipartimento della Presidenza E Affari Legislativi e Giuridici
Translated by Ann Mountford

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