Fosdinovo: the castle at the crossroads of the Via Francigena – now, let yourself be enchanted ……….
Fosdinovo (originally FAUCE NOVA the “new road mouth”), owes much of its history and events to its natural location between the sea and the internal mountains; from Lunigiana and from the Apennines. A land of connection: political, commercial and economic, between ports, by sea, and by land to the rest of Europe and beyond.
The Apuan Ligurians left at the necropolis of Pulica, (now a community of Fosdinovo), extraordinary signs of their presence and activity can be found along the beaten track, of the “Warrior of Pulica”. Thereafter, in 177 AD, the Romans founded Luni, (from which arose the name Lunigiana) and strengthened transits and trades along the “Via Publica” that passed through the lands where later arose Fosdinovo.
In the Middle Ages, Fosdinovo became stronger and more populated, leading to the establishment of most forceful and important feudal dynasty in Lunigiana, the Malaspina family. This feudal family was central in the land of the Diocese of Luni. They ruled during periods of both peace and war; which, in 1306 Dante Alighieri was a mediator between the Bishop of Luni and the Marquis, in regards to commercial traffic and diplomacy. The castle still stands today having witnessed so much. It is beautiful, well preserved and still occupied, standing along the Via Francigena that links Pontremoli to Lucca (the City of the Holy Face). What remains, in regard to peace plus civil and economic life, is the Villa Malaspina in Caniparola; an exquisite example of 18th century architecture, which, with its vast agricultural estate, gives a picture of life in that era.
However, each country tells its own story – which is never a ‘minor story’…..
AROUND THE CASTLE AND THE AREA BEYOND …
The impregnable Fortress at Ponzanello, belonging to the Bishop of Luni (who fought the Malaspina dominion for a long time – in vain!), to the peaceful, rural and agricultural lands of Caniparola which is now a populous and active centre of life. (The word CANAPA is an ancient name for CANABIS – hemp.)
From Paghezzana, where local agricultural products were collected and processed, to Caprognana and Gignago where there is a wonderful view of the Malaspina Castle. From Giucano to Carignano and Canepari which all lead to the modern, yet ancient, town of Sarzana. From Tendola, an ancient ‘street village’ to Posterla, Pulica and Marciaso , all these villages still defend their Apuan identity as lands of marble.
This northern area of Tuscany is wedged between Liguria to the south and west and Emilia Romagna to the north and east. Fosdinovo gained its fortune, and ruin, as a land opening to the sea for whoever brought items of wealth good, war, death or destruction. This is especially true of the l900s when the Partisans of Lunigana desperately defended the area during the second world war. The famous Museo della Resistenza is a short distance from the centre of Fosdinovo village. However, the great location of Fosdinovo affords easy access to the authentic Lunigiana, the Apennines and the land of parks: National Park of the Tuscan/Emilian Apennines, Apuan Alps Park and the famous Cinque Terre National Park.
In the past and present, Fosdinovo remains the ‘Door to Lunigiana’, through which you enter to; learn about local history, taste typical products, climb or ski mountains, using all five senses. Add a sixth sense and you will find the sacred mystery, traditions, customs and identity of these places, together with the people who still proudly populate the villages.
VERY CLOSE TO FOSDINOVO AND WORTH VISITING:
Ponzanello : the fortress of the Bishop of Luni
Caniparola: a peaceful rural and agricultural land, today a populous and thriving center;
Caprognago and Gignago: both with fantastic views of the Malaspina Castle from below;
Giucano, Carignano and Canepari: within easy reach Sarzana;
Tendola: an ancient village
Posterla, Pulica and Marciaso: the lands of marble
Paghezzana: the centre of typical agricultural products
Museo della Resistenza
…………..enjoy your trip and be enchanted!