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Guide to visit Fosdinovo

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Fosdinovo, a magnificent castle in Lunigiana

Gateway to the historic region of Lunigiana, Fosdinovo is one of the most beautiful villages in the whole province of Massa Carrara. The center stands in a raised position, about 500 meters above sea level, from which it dominates the underlying plains of the Val di Magra and Luni. We are in a borderland between Tuscany and Liguria, just 7 kilometers from Sarzana and 15 from Carrara and the sea.

Known as a castle at least since the 11th century, Fosdinovo was the capital of a marquisate ruled by the powerful Malaspina family who maintained power uninterrupted from the mid-14th century until the end of the 18th century when, after the first victories of Napoleon, the Marquis Carlo Emanuele Malaspina renounced sovereignty over the lands. After the Congress of Vienna, Fosdinovo entered a distant part of the Duchy of Massa and then in that of Modena and Reggio until the Unification of Italy was sanctioned.


Things to do in Fosdinovo

With its magnificent castle, Fosdinovo is certainly one of the most beautiful places to see in Lunigiana. To certify the quality of the tourist offer, the Italian Touring Club thought of Fosdinovo with the Bandiera Arancione.

As anticipated, the Malaspina Castle is the main attraction of this beautiful medieval village but what else is there to see?

Museo audiovisivo della Resistenza

The story of Fosdinovo certainly does not end with the unification of Italy; during the Second World War, it was the scene of hard clashes that saw partisans and allies on one side and German troops on the other. There were raids and bombings that caused unspeakable damage and suffering among the population.

Those facts are now told in the Museo Audiovisivo della Resistenza delle province di Massa Carrara e La Spezia. The museum traces the facts and keeps the memory of those moments by making use of video projections and audiovisual instruments with which it gives voice to all those people who lived through that tragic period.

The museum is located in via Prato 6, just outside the historic center. Information on timetables and tickets on the museum’s official website.

Chiesa di San Remigio

The Chiesa di San Remigio is the main place of worship of Fosdinovo. Built in the thirteenth century, the church has been restored in several circumstances to reach today’s Baroque forms dating back to the end of the seventeenth century.

The interior, with one nave, is decorated with colorful marbles and has a series of altars of remarkable beauty that follow one another on both sides. Inside the Church of San Remigio you can also admire the remarkable funeral monument of Galeotto Malaspina.

Oratorio della compagnia dei Bianchi

Another place of worship that I recommend you visit is the Oratorio della Compagnia della Santissima Annunziata. Known as the Oratorio dei Bianchi, this building was built, or rather rebuilt between 1648 and 1666. The oratory has a beautiful white Carrara marble facade and inside preserves some beautiful works of art worthy of attention such as the statue in polychrome wood of the Santissima Annunziata (XIV century).

Oratorio della compagnia dei Bianchi in Fosdinovo
Oratorio della compagnia dei Bianchi (Photo by Davide Papalini / CC BY)

Castello Malaspina di Fosdinovo

The time has finally come to talk about the main attraction and symbol of Fosdinovo: the Malaspina Castle. Built starting from the XII century, even if there is news of a previous fortress since 1084, the castle was enlarged and modernized in various circumstances until it reached the current appearance of fortress and noble residence.

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo is one of the best preserved, and I would say also one of the most beautiful, in the whole region. The complex has an irregular plan with four round towers at the corners, two internal courtyards, patrol walkways, loggias and even hanging gardens: in short, nothing is missing!

Inside you can admire the beautiful frescoed rooms, the throne room, the dining room, the Dante’s room (who stayed here during his exile) and the so-called “trabocchetto” (which means trap door) room (there are three of these trap doors in the castle: it seems that the Marquise Cristina Pallavicini used a trap door located in her bedroom to get rid of her lovers).

Malaspina Castle in Fosdinovo
Malaspina Castle (Photo by Davide Papalini / CC BY)

What to see around Fosdinovo

In the municipal area of ​​Fosdinovo the village and the castle of Ponzanello are worth a visit.The castle, which stands on a high hill in a dominant position over the village, has been documented since the 12th century. Today this fortress is reduced to the state of ruin but there are large traces of the walls that emerge from the thick vegetation of the hill. In the village we find the Church of San Martino and the Chapel of San Filippo Neri.

Other villages in the surroundings are those of Caniparola, where there is a beautiful Villa Malaspina, Giucano, Marciaso (to see the Oratory of the Opera di Marciaso) and Pulica where a tomb of a Ligurian Apuan Warrior (III century B.C.) was found.

Finally, there are plenty of opportunities in the area to immerse yourself in the nature and greenery of the woods by following the countless paths suitable for trekking and mountain biking.

How to get to Fosdinovo

By car: to reach Fosdinovo you have to take the A12 motorway to the Sarzana exit, continue towards Carrara on the Aurelia state road, between Sarzana and Carrara, crossroads for Fosdinovo, climb about 6 kilometers to your destination.

Public transport: the nearest railway station is Sarzana, from there it is possible to take a CTT bus to Fosdinovo.


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