Villafranca Lunigiana: All you need to know
When you arrive in Villafranca, you can see the ruins of the castle of Corrado l’Antico (Conrad the Ancient), the antique shops of the village and the ethnographic museum located in the ancient wind mills of the 1400s. In San Francesco, you can admire the great terracotta works of the Robbiana school. It is impossible not to visit Filetto, with its wood where about ten stele statues where found. Filetto is famous for its 25th of August celebration for Saint Genesio.
Its village is Byzantine and in July and August, there is a medieval market, with artisan shops, shows and historical commemorations. The Castle Malgrate - Villafranca Lunigiana
The earliest nucleus of the Malgrate Castle, probably erected in the mid 13th century, was quite different from the structure now standing; what we see today is the result of over five centuries of continuous additions and modifications to the original structure, the last of which were terminated in the late 18th century.The donjon, or keep, made up of a high cylindrical tower crowned by a corbel-supported overhanging guard walk, constitutes the main edifice of the simple but efficient defensive system typical of the Middle Ages - a curtain wall surrounding a central ward for control or refuge.
This earliest structure of the Malgrate Castle, strategically situated on the hilltop controlling the narrowest part of the Bagnone Valley below, had an essentially military structure and function. A new curtain wall was then built during the 15th century, as attested to by the local chronicler Giovanni Antonio da Faye: ".... in the aforementioned year (1455) the surrounding barbican was made to the Magra Castle and this was performed by Maestro Piero Picheto of Como".
In 1351 Malgrate Castle became the seat of a new independent fief splintered from the by then fragmenting dynasty of the Marquises Malaspina di Filattiera. Thus, besides its principally defensive functions, it came to serve as residence for its new feudal lords. The original fortress's transformation into a residence, begun by the Malaspina, was continued and brought to completion by the Marquises Ariberti di Cremona, who acquired control of the fief in 1641. The entire central ward was transformed into a palace which incorporated the medieval tower completely into the new residential building.
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