Mulazzo is a town that clings onto the Lunigiana mountains, famous for the people who live in the small village of Montereggio. Since the mid-19th century these inhabitants left, for entire generations, with a pannier of books on their backs, determined to “colonize” the whole of Central and Northern Italy, reaching all the towns that were still bereft of bookshops and opening new ones. For this reason, Montereggio is the only town, in the whole of Italy, to be a member of the international Book Town circuit, once home to the famous bookselling families of Fogola, Lazzarelli, Bertoni, Maucci, Tarantola and Giovannacci.
In this article we will discover some of the most charismatic places in Mulazzo, whose main attractions include the ruins of the Malaspina aqueduct and castle, the remains of a Byzantine tower and some noble buildings, one of which houses the Study Centre dedicated to the navigator Alessandro Malaspina.
Groppoli - Here you find the castle, the villa and the church, wanted by the Brignole Sale of Genoa based on a project by Matteo Vinzoni. Check out Castevoli and its mighty Malaspina old village. Other hamlets include Lusuolo and Campoli, where a steel statue stands guard outside the village oratory. An absolute must is a visit to the church of the Madonna al Monte, with an incomparable view over Lunigiana and, on really clear days, as far as the sea.
Alessandro Malaspina Centre of Studies - The Centre, in the medieval tower of Mulazzo, contains materials and documents relating to the Malaspina family of Mulazzo with particular reference to the navigator Alessandro Malaspina (1754-1810). They tell the story of this famous man from Lunigiana who sailed around the world and made notable scientific discoveries.
Montereggio - This is a town of book dealers, where about a century ago they set off from this town with a pannier on their backs to sell books in Italy, Spain and France. In the beginning the booksellers of Montereggio were street traders who sold their wares on market stalls. Some opened actual bookshops, while others became publishers and expanded their businesses to Latin America. Today Montereggio, known as the "Town of the Book Dealers", aims to become a centre for books and publishing.
Castello Malaspina di Castevoli (11th century) - Founded in the 11th century by the Este Family, in 1195 it passed under the Marquis Malaspina, who in 1306, played host to Dante Alighieri. In 1416, ownership of the building was transferred to the Republic of Genoa, but returned to the Malaspina in 1465. In 1561, it was transformed into an autonomous estate under the rule of Tommaso Malaspina. In 1797, a revolt ended the rule of the Malaspina and the castle was abandoned for two centuries. In 1990, the painter and sculptor Loris Nelson Ricci, with his Swiss wife Erika H. End, rebuilt the ancient castle on the site of its ruins. After eight years of dedicated restoration, the castle was opened in 1998. Inside you can see sculptures, paintings, designs and architectural projects.
Cover image credit: Massimo Menichinelli