While the history of Castiglione di Garfagnana has always been linked to its military camp, the town actually dates to Roman times when a primitive Castrum was installed here, which developed in the Longobard and Frankish eras. Castiglione still consists of a striking medieval fortress that has largely remained intact over the centuries, making the entire village a lively monument worth exploring. It’s a rarity to find instances of fortified villages this complete, plus a fortress that still stands strong in its centuries-old splendor and the keeps that wow with their majesty.
In the village check out the two main churches (San Pietro and San Michele), both built around the year 1000 and which host art of a certain importance. Also within the walls it’s worth visiting the Parco della Rimembranza, which leads to the impressive Torrione della Brunella, affording breathtaking views over the valley. In the summer, visitors can take a look at the jail cells in which bandits were imprisoned in the keep.
Near Castiglione di Garfagnana one of the best preserved monuments is the medieval bridge in Mulino, which the Spinetta Malaspina family had built in the thirteenth century. Architectural features of interest can also be found in other villages, such as the Church of San Pellegrino, which dominates the entire Serchio Valley from on high and holds the relics of San Pellegrino and San Bianco. Also in San Pellegrino head to the Museum of the Countryside and the Past, an interesting look at how family life used to be in the mountains.