Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
Castelnuovo is the green heart of the Garfagnana, a mountainous part of northern Tuscany, ensconced among the foothills of the Apuan Alps and the Apennines. Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is along the valley of the Serchio river and what had been important crossroads through the mountains. It is about 40 kilometers from Lucca and the sandy Versilia coast on the Mediterranean Sea. Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is historically linked to the long domination of the powerful Este family, who made it the capital of the province of Garfagnana.
It owes its fame to Ludovico Ariosto and Fulvio Testi, who lived, as commissioners, in the local fortress. Around the 15th century indeed, the center earned great privilege and became the seat of a vicariate, counting among its governors also the famous Ludovico Ariosto, author of the "Orlando Furioso". The dominating Rocca Ariostesca is a distinct monument and symbol of the city, and hosts the archeology museum as well as special events and exhibits. The Fortezza di Monte Alfonso bears massive protective walls and also hosts events and concerts, but its position gives it stellar views.
Around the 16th century, the cathedral was built and named after the Saints Peter and Paul. Its construction is over that of a previous Romanesque church, originally built in the eleventh century. Preserved in perfect condition, the cathedral hosts a beautiful glazed terra cotta work of the prestigious Della Robbia workshop, the "Pala di San Giuseppe" in which are depicted the coats of arms of the municipality. You can also admire a wooden crucifix of the fifteenth century and a marble frame, from the Civitali school in Lucca.
The history of Castelnuovo, in the modern age is marked by its political and commercial importance in the Este Duchy of Modena. The town was in fact inextricably linked to the fate of that small city-state, under which also suffered the Napoleonic occupation in the late 18th century. Castelnuovo then became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1859.
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