20 Feb The Fortress of Verrucole in Garfagnana
Castles, forts and fortresses have always been my weaknesses. When I watch a series or a movie and one of the scenes is shot in one of these historical buildings I always try to find out the name, where it is located and its past. In Tuscany there are so many of them and some are also very very unknown. Example may be the Rocca di Staggia(which I talked about in another article you can find HERE) and the Castello di Bibbiano. In any case, today I want to introduce you to a castle that as soon as I discovered it I said, "no vabbè this I have to visit right away...!" So here is my amazement at the beauty of this structure and my visit I want to share it with you. Today I am taking you to Garfagnana to meet a castle that looks like something out of the set of "Game of Thrones," the Verrucole Fortress.
Already in the distance its perfectly crenellated walls will make you pay homage to the power of this fortress. In addition to this I can guarantee you that the short walk from the village to the castle will manage to catapult you immediately into the Middle Ages and above all will make you realize that from the summit you will enjoy a view that is unique to say the least. The Verrucole Fortress in Garfagnana is one of the most beautiful examples of a medieval castle, and before we discover it together I will give you some useful information for your visit.
HAVEN'T YOU READ THE ARTICLE ABOUT THE FORTRESS OF STAGGIA SENESE YET ??
Useful information for the visit
The model of visiting the Verrucole Fortress in Garfagnana is completely different from traditional ways because here you will be directly involved in the discovery. How? By a guide who, dressed in historical clothing, will explain every corner of the fortress while also encouraging interaction with demonstrations and rehearsals. The tour lasts about 1 hour and costs €7.00 for adults, ages 6 to 18 €5.00 and free for ages 0 to 5. Tours are timed and access is limited so I strongly recommend that you book in advance. I leave you in any case Here the page with contact information.
The history of the Fortress of Verrucole in Garfagnana.
The Verrucole Fortress in Garfagnana was founded by the Gherardini Family around the 10th century over an earlier human settlement. The reason for the construction was to keep a check on Lucca's expansionist aims to the north. The territory around the structure was the scene of numerous battles over the years including the siege of 1170. In 1296 the Fortress of Verrucole in Garfagnana passed into the hands of the Lucchese who held it until 1328 when Marquis Spinetta Malaspina conquered it. Then in 1429 the d'Este family of Ferrara bought the fortress and completely restored it, turning it into a citadel. In the second half of the 16th century Duke Alfonso I d'Este had work done to adapt it to new war requirements, and that structure is still visible today.
The description of the Verrucole Fortress in Garfagnana.
If the Verrucole Fortress in Garfagnana can be visited today , it is thanks to the massive renovation plan initiated by the municipality of San Romano in the early 1990s. The structure is elongated on the hill overlooking the town. Entering through the only entrance door looking to the right you will notice a flight of steps leading to the large round keep that is part of the original structure. On the left, on the other hand, a long "corridor" with two half-mounts leads to the square tower with the huge defensive ramparts and loopholes. The entire Fortress of Verrucole in Garfagnana has almost perfect battlements. Let us now look in detail at all the main areas of the fortress.
The main areas of the fortress
The round fortress
The present keep owes its features to the remodeling of the Renaissance period based, however, on the previous construction built by the Gherardini Family. Inside the round fortress you will find museum exhibits dedicated to the reconstruction of life in the castle as it may have looked since the 13th century. Rooms such as the kitchen with the various ladles and pots; the dungeon; the hall with the banners; the bathroom; the sleeping area; and the armory. Besides this as soon as you enter a large of glass shrine on the ground will welcome you. Inside is an archaeological excavation with part of the original structure.
Inner courtyard of the round fortress that is intended for fundamental elements to complete life in the castle: millstone, stable, blacksmith's post, storerooms, cistern. Also beautiful is the internal walkway behind the walls with views of the entire Apuan Alps. A wonderful view with an unforgettable panorama.
The square rock
Only a few traces of this structure remain today: a fragment of masonry of the ancient tower near the present tavern and what remains of an ancient oven inside it. The square tower was demolished during military adjustment works in the Este period.
It is the terminal part of the Verrucole Fortress in Garfagnana as well as the most recently built. In fact, it dates back to the 16th century when the Fortress of Montalfonso in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana was being built at the same time. Such a massive modification to the structure is due to the change in military techniques during the Renaissance. In fact, medieval towers could not withstand the impact of mortars and cannons and consequently low masonry works were needed. From the end of the ramparts, near the flags, you can have a beautiful view of the small village below and the green Garfagnana.
The front door
Also known as Porta Piana this is theonly entrance to the Verrucole Fortress in Garfagnana. Its peculiarity is that it has a guardhouse and a defensive machicolation. On its floor you will be able to notice holes that were used to direct burning liquids at attackers.
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