The Garfagnana Valley

Castelnuovo Garfagnana
Castelnuovo is the principal town and heart of the Garfagnana Valley.
Since ancient times, this valley of the Serchio River was protected by a fortification system of walled towns, fortresses, and strongholds with watchtowers. In the Renaissance, Garfagnana was still a land divided into many small rival states.

The tour takes you through a rugged and verdant area bordered by the Apuan Alps and the Apennines. These mountains majestically stand in juxtaposition with the numerous imposing works built by man in the past, in a constant effort to defend the local popula-tions from invasions of recurrent enemies.

Meet the local tour guide in Lucca and depart.

Driving along the Serchio River, you arrive at Castelnuovo whose stronghold was the dwelling of Ludovico Ariosto, the famous Italian Renaissance author and Deputy of the Duke of Este for the county of Garfagnana.

After a short walk of about two-thirds of a mile on a gravel road, you reach the hill where the stronghold of Montealfonso stands. It is named after the Duke Alfonso D’Este who had it built on top of the previous old hamlet.

The tour continues to Castiglione Garfagnana, an ancient fortification. Today it is a picturesque village, whose walls still possess three towers and the gate which once had a drawbridge.

Coaches not exceeding 12 meters in length can proceed toward San Romano Garfagnana to the medieval fortress of Verrucole, which was enlarged by the Dukes of Este and has recently been restored. From its 600-meter height, there is a breathtaking pano-rama of the Apuan Alps, Apennines and the valley.

This itinerary is a natural complement to the food and wine tour of Garfagnana.