, whose name most likely refers to its elevated position, is an imposing fortified structure that dominates above the medieval village of Gragnola
in the Municipality of Fivizzano
, at the confluence of the Lucido and Aulella streams.
The origins and structure of the fort are uncertain, with no written sources or visual documentation that definitively dates its construction. What we see today is the result of extensive and meticulous restoration carried out at the beginning of 2000, lasting 10 years.
Aquila Castle is an impressive structure consisting of a single building that incorporates the quadrilateral keep and three corner towers, the north-west one crossed by the main access door. On the raised internal courtyard, surrounded by walls with Guelph battlements, there's the well and residential buildings, overlooked by the great hall, guesthouse and chapel.
Aquila Castle, one of the largest in Lunigiana in size, belonged to the family of the Marquises Malaspina del Ramo Fiorito.
A Late Middle Ages mystery makes the Castle even more fascinating: during restoration works in 2004, an intact skeleton was unearthed. Carbon 14 analyses revealed it to be a 14th century knight, killed by an arrow from a crossbow that was found still stuck between two cervical vertebrae near the throat upon his immediate burial.
However, this find remains a medieval 'cold case': who was this nameless knight? Why was he killed? Perhaps he was a messenger from northern Europe, whose message was not supposed to reach its destination? The mystery still remains unsolved.
The knight became the subject of scientific studies and graduation theses, and is now famous in the world of anthropology and forensic medicine. Inside the castle, there's a cast of the skeleton found in the place where he was discovered.
Aquila Castle is temporarily closed.