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fortifications

Fortified village of Cascio


typology: Borgo fortificato
Area: Garfagnana
District/Locality: Molazzana, locality Cascio
Foundation: 1615-1618

To the south of Monteperpoli, on a terraced hill with grapevines, the imposing walls of Cascio dominate the bight where the Serchio enters its mid valley plain. Both thick and high, the walls are completed by an overhanging scarp and an embankment. They develop irregularly and have five semicircular massive towers at each corner with emplacements, embrasures and guardhouses. Each of the two gates along the main axis of the village also have guardhouses. Although the fortress of Cascio was designed in the XVIIth century, the lack of ramparts makes it different from typical projects of that time and more similar in design to a XVth century citadel.
Historycal news

An early medieval commune, Cascio was later controlled by Lucca and included in the Vicariate of Gallicano; it was a forced passage between Garfagnana and Lucca on the route across the pass of Monteperpoli. In 1429 it passed under the Dukes of Este and was included in the newly established Vicariate of Trassilico; this enhanced its strategic importance on the border with the territory of Lucca. Its ancient fortifications, simply a thin wall surrounding the village, were insufficient against the threat of artillery; however they were only revamped after the war of 1613 when the inhabitants of Cascio, who had surrendered to the enemy during a siege, were accused of treason as soon as the authority of the House of Este was re-established and accepted the burden of fortifying the entire village at their own expense to escape being hanged. Work on a stately project by Pasio Pasi, later further extended, at an estimated cost of 18000 scudi, began in 1615.

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