Situated in the middle of the Valle del Serchio, Coreglia Antelminelli is a lovely hillside town at 595 meters above sea level, framed by the Apennine mountains. The oldest records of Coreglia date back to the X century. It first belonged to the Villa della Pieve di Loppia when the bishop Gherardo gave up power and handed over the city to Rodilando of the Rodilandinghi.
The town has always been connected to Lucca. In the middle ages it was considered a strategic city and although there were many forts, it was fought over by the Guelfi and Castruccio Castracani, highlighting the military genius of the latter. Castruccio forced the Guelfi to give up and surrounded the castle with a thousand soldiers and 400 riders who had come from Lucca on purpose. He showed humanity by allowing the captain of the Guelfi to return to his home unharmed. Another Castracani reigned over the town after the first, and then a third, but the city was eventually taken over by Florence in 1341 until another Castracani won it back in 1352. It remained n the family until the XV century when it passed back into the hands of Florence and Lucca. The name Antelminelli comes from a wealthy family that lived there for a long time. Years passed and the city grew peaceful. Artisans became famous for their plaster work and exported it abroad. Some of its famous sons include: the patriots Marco Vincenti and Serafino Togneri, the politician and researcher Matteo Rossi, the judge Bartolomeo Pellegrini, the architect and decorator Carlo Vanni, and the naturalist and botanist Benedetto Puccinelli.
The main cultural site in Coreglia is the Museum of the Plaster Figurine and its Emigration. There are numerous exemplars of these small plaster figurines, and the museum shows how the craft was transformed into a minor art form, with major economic, social and cultural consequences. There are tiny reproductions of classical works, medals, busts, and sacred objects as well as images from the Romantic era. There are examples of the famous grey kittens and miniatures of daily life, such as babies, small children, people doing their jobs, washerwomen, amphora holders and so on. The museum is a place of learning and communication and many schools visit it to understand better the past's relationship with the present.
Information (ITA): Museum website
The most important monuments in Coreglia are S. Martino Church and the Rock of Coreglia, which was a lookout point for the Rolandinghi family. The Castellana Church of S. Michele also has some beautiful artwork. The Campanile, the Tower of Coreglia and the Tower of Ghivizzano all date back to the XIII century. Finally, there is the Church of Santa Maria in Tereglio, which was built in the thirteenth century and which has a painted cross by Berlinghiero Berlinghieri.
On August 15, Coreglia celebrates Medieval day with a re-enactment of a historic procesion of the Compagnia degli Alabardieri della Vicaria di Coreglia to the church of San Martino in Coreglia.
Cover image credit: TOB