Fosdinovo is an age-old town that for centuries has served as a gateway to the historic Lunigiana region, an area whose highlands dominate the Val di Magra plains and the town of Luni. From the town’s streets to the hill’s ridges, this area exudes the air of a borderland: here you’ll sense both the ocean and mountains, while its cuisine serves as the best example of its hybrid nature, a real distinguishing feature waiting to be discovered.
The beautiful Malaspina Castle is the town's main symbol, a structure that looms over the hilltop and residential area upholding its reputation as one of the most beautiful and well-conserved fortresses in the Lunigiana region. The basic framework dates to the 11th century and was enlarged in later epochs with the addition of towers and defensive turrets. In 1340 the nobles of Fosdinovo surrendered the castle to the Spinetta Malaspina family, an event that marked the castle as the political and military center for the family’s feudal domain. Throughout the centuries, other imposing towers were added to the castle’s town-facing side and the interior was transformed into an elegant noble residence featuring spectacular frescoed halls.
Head to the Parish Church of San Remigio, a 13th-century church maintaining part of its original structure (commissioned by Luni’s bishops). The building underwent a number of transformations: in the 16th century it was restructured following a fire, changes that led to the Baroque temple we see today vaunting a single nave, presbytery and choir. The church’s interior also houses Galeotto Malaspina’s tomb. And don’t miss the Compagnia dei Bianchi Oratory, whose construction dates to post-1501 (the year in which the previous oratory was destroyed). The white marble façade dates to the second half of the 17th century; the inside, decorated in Baroque style, contains polychrome marble altars flanking the church walls. Near the main altar you’ll find a beautiful 15th-century wooden statue of the Virgin Mary.
World War II and tragic civil massacres mark Fosdinovo’s more recent history, events remembered in the Audiovisual Museum of the Resistance. The museum places “memory” at its center, vaunting a path composed of documents (including interviews, inventory photographs and recordings) displayed on multimedia devices, creating an interactive experience for the museum’s visitors. The museum also houses a photo library specifically dedicated to the Apuo-Lunense Resistance.
Near Fosdinovo you’ll find the fortified town of Ponzanello. Established in the 12th century and enlarged throughout time, the town presents impressive city walls and three still-intact city gates. The fortress rises from a hilltop and looms over the town, almost appearing as a defensive residence. Ponzanello’s strategically located castrum implies that this area was one of the inland’s most important access points to the upper-Tyrrhenian coastline.
Fosdinovo’s territory is also the perfect area for nature lovers of every kind: the area is packed with trekking and mountain-bike paths. The blooming natural world surrounding the town is quite a treat to discover, as you’ll find a large number of trails leading through forests, villages, churches and castles. From Fosdinovo to Aulla you’ll find an enchanting and easy path passing through Ponzanello’s castle and the towns of Treschietto and Bibola.