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fortifications

Fortified town of Castiglione


typology: Borgo Fortificato,sec. XII XIV
Area: Garfagnana
District/Locality: Castiglione Garfagnana
Foundation: 1227
First news: 1170

Giungendo verso Castiglione gi├á da lontano ├Ę possibile vedere l'imponenza delle mura che si sviluppano per ben 750 metri, con un andamento planimetrico a forma di quadrilatero irregolare.
Si entra nella cerchia urbana attraverso una delle quattro porte poste per ogni lato della cinta muraria. Ai vertici e in corrispondenza delle porte, sono attestati sei alti torrioni cilindrici. Su due di questi trovano posto, sin dal sec. XVII, i campanili delle principali chiese del paese: S. Pietro (la pi├╣ antica, consacrata nel 1197) e S. Michele (XIII sec.).
Salendo verso la chiesa di S. Pietro si arriva a scorgere la rocca, parte più elevata del borgo, attualmente di proprietà privata. Era una struttura ad esclusivo uso militare adibita a residenza per il castellano e per la guarnigione dove, in appositi locali, erano custodite le armi e la polvere da sparo. Il complesso presenta un andamento planimetrico irregolare, ha tre alti torrioni cilindrici coronati da beccatelli, e un corpo di fabbrica più basso a difesa dell'unica porta d'ingresso.
Un'altra porzione della fortificazione ├Ę costituita dalla "Sardegna", una vasta area posta sul lato Nord del paese e racchiusa da un'ulteriore tratto di mura con due torrioni, un tempo deposito dei rifiuti, ora trasformata in campi da coltivare.
State of preservation

In the nineteenth century, when unused garrisons were demobilised, the Rocca was sold and became a private residence; a bastion and some portions of its walls, that were incorporated into houses, shared the same fate. At present the Municipality of Castiglione, who owns the rest of the complex, is doing its best to preserve and enhance the whole fortified town, considered to have been one of the most important in the whole Serchio valley.
Historycal news

The origin of the fortified complex goes back to the Early Middle Ages, though the only thing we know about the original fortification is that it was completely destroyed by Lucca in 1170. Rebuilt and once again besieged, after the 1371 peace treaty the small town definitively passed under Lucca, that expanded the walls and reinforced the entire fortification around 1390.
Castiglione was one of the communities in Garfagnana that, contrarily to the majority, refused to accept the rule of Ferrara's Dukes, remaining loyal to Lucca. For this reason in 1603 and again in 1613 the town was besieged by the artillery brought from Modena: walls and rocca were under fire for several days and long sections of the curtains were destroyed. From 1617 onwards, after the territory of Garfagnana was officially handed over to the Dukes of Este, almost two centuries of uninterrupted peace followed. The walls and the rocca of Castiglione then lost their military function and in the nineteenth century, when all unused garrisons were demobilised, the Rocca, like other fortifications in the area, was sold and became a private residence.
Roads

The fortified town of Castiglione lies along the state road that climbs from Castelnuovo Garfagnana towards the Radici pass, at the top of a buttress-like projection of the Apennine below the alp of San Pellegrino.

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