A centuries-old hilltop hamlet dominates the Magra valley
A few kilometers south of Aulla, in the Aulella valley, the town of Bibola sits perched on a hill, a town whose origins can be traced to the Classical era, as evidenced by its name. In the Byzantine era, at the beginning of the 7th century, an anonymous man from Ravenna wrote Cosmographia, an itinerary outlining a number of fortifications along the road from Luni to Lucca; of these places, the towns of Pulica, Bibola, Rubra (Terrarossa) and Corneda were mentioned.
Bibola was probably one of the Byzantine kastronsthat defended Luni’s harbor. In the Middle Ages, it neighbored the important castle of Burcione (no longer standing today), that together controlled one of the roads connected to the via Francigena. The ancient Byzantine complex was probably situated atop the ruins of the Malaspina castle and its tower. Using both smoke signals and mirror reflections, the towers of the area were able to communicate: from the towers of Filattiera and Grondola, signals would fly to the castles of Bastia, Monti, Lusuolo and Castiglione del Terziere.
Bibola's castle was probably remodeled in the 11th and 12th centuries when the Bishops of Luni disputed over the parish of Soliera. In the 13th century, the Malaspina family ceded the town to other nobles as a sub-feud, though they reclaimed it with the peace treaty of Castelnuovo in 1306. In town, you’ll find the Church of St. Bartholomew, a structure featuring an elegant churchyard with Liguria-inspired mosaics. The houses around the area boast numerous vaulted passageways that cling to the fortress walls.
A narrow strip of land between two rivers, once a fundamental hub along the Via Francigena
Aulla sits pretty on a narrow strip of land where the Magra meets the Aulella, a plot of ground that proved pivotal for the civil and religious life of the Lunigiana immediately after the year 1000. ...