Garfagnana and its Fortifications

Castelnuovo Garfagnana

Castelnuovo is the principal town and heart of the Garfagnana area.
In the Renaissance, Garfagnana was still a land divided into many small states but already in previous centuries, the Serchio River Valley was protected by a fortification system of walled towns, fortresses, and strongholds with watchtowers.

The tour takes you through a rugged and verdant area bordered by the Alpi Apuane 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 populations from invasions of recurrent enemies.


  • Meet the tour guide and depart from Lucca
  • Drive along the Serchio River to 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 (1km) along a gravel road, you reach the hill where the stronghold of Mont’Alfonso stands. It is named after the Duke Alfonso D’Este who had it built on top of the previous 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 panorama of the Alpi Apuane, Apennines, and the valley.

This itinerary is a natural complement to the Garfagnana Food and Wine Tour.