This church was mentioned for the first time in a Papal bull of 1168, together with a series of chapels that were dependant on the parish church of Fosciana. The church of San Michele is one of the most representative medieval religious buildings in the rural area surrounding Lucca. For its construction, builders used elaborate techniques and employed material taken from distant quarries—sometimes many kilometres away from Castiglione. The decoration of the façade, made with alternate rows of red limestone and sandstone, is particularly interesting. Inside the church, visitors will appreciate a Madonna by Giuliano di Simone (1389) and a fourteenth century wooden crucifix.
The village of Castiglione has been known since the early Middle Ages; however, the earliest information we have about the church of San Michele dates back to the XII century. The church was built near the Lucchese castle of Castiglione Garfagnana, following the political and demographic growth of the village. The building that can be seen today was built during this period; it boasts a Latin cross plan, one aisle and a semicircular apse.
Two-tone stone was used for the façade, giving it a unique decorative identity. The entrance portal, hosts two-tone decorative elements as well as consoles. The lintel of its arch depicts floral motifs and plants; the same decoration can be seen on the northern portal. In modern times, the building was adapted to reflect new aesthetic and liturgical canons; as a consequence, three big square windows were opened on the sides, the apse was reconstructed to form a polygonal and new altars and a vestry were added. The building’s most important changes, however, were carried out in the XVIII century when an atrium, supported by two neoclassic columns with Corinthian capitals, was built along the façade.