Welcome to Castelnuovo

The principal town and the heart of the green Garfagnana, land of nature, history, art and fine cuisine. The Pro Loco of Castelnuovo welcomes you to discover the Garfagnana

The city

Castelnuovo is the capital and the heart of the green Garfagnana which forms the northern part of the valley of the river Serchio enclosed between the mountainous spurs of the Apuan Alps and the Apennines. And ‘far from Lucca and the Versilia 40 Km.
Palleroso, Monterotondo, Antisciana, Gragnanella, Cerretoli, Colle and Rontano, are the typical hamlets, of ancient origin, located in picturesque natural landscapes and environments with paths, through green forests, allow a full immersion in nature while discovering the story of a cones population daily rhythms and the architecture of rural civilization.
The town’s patron is St. Peter’s feast day on 29 June.
Among the main events are organized to remember: Carnival with parades of allegorical floats through the Week of Commerce in August, the traditional fair September that sees cultural initiatives such as national awards for poetry “Olinto Dini” and narrative “Biagioni Loris”, and art meetings with nationally known artists, folklore, sports, music, gastronomy, crafts; but from June to October it is a series of activities of all kinds outlying villages revived the popular tradition.
From Castelnuovo you can then easily reach the most interesting tourist destinations of the Serchio Valley, with hiking trails, on foot and on horseback or mountain-bike, while the city offers sports facilities, modern and functional, the possibility of any sort of activity, from swimming to tennis, football and athletics.


The first documents date back to 740 when Castelnuovo must have been a small village with a church employee from the nearby parish church of Fosciana. A century later, in 872, the city already had castle walls.
He was then mistress the Countess Matilda and during that time became a transit point Then Frederick I had possession of Matilde goods, then the Papacy, free municipality, Fiorentini and Pisani that contrasted to Lucca.
In the fourteenth century it was enlarged the walls but it was in 1430, that by submitting voluntarily to the Este along with many other Garfagnana, acquired important privileges and then reached its maximum development. Castelnuovo became the capital of the province and, as such, the residence of the commissioners and governors sent to rule over the province. The poets Ludovico Ariosto (1522-1525) and Fulvio Testi (1640-1642) were among these. At the end of ‘700, the occupying French forces put down a popular uprising deep wounds. With the Napoleonic principality of Baciocchi the city became seat of a prefecture; the Restoration and then reported to the Este Garfagnana government until 1859, when by plebiscite it was annexed to Piedmont and the Kingdom of Italy in 1860: it was therefore incorporated into the province of Massa and Castelnuovo returned home to sub-prefecture. In 1924 then it was finally entrusted to the province of Lucca.


La Rocca is today itself substantially renaissance being the result of centuries of continuous restructuring and adjustment. The original building dates back to the eleventh century – probably a tower house – around which will develop then the fortified complex that will get more impetus during the domination of Lucca, first with Castruccio Castracani of Antelminelli who built a large stretch of the city walls and then with Paolo Guinigi.
When Castelnuovo became Estense capital of the province, the castle became the seat of administrative function of government and residence of the commissioners, undergoing modifications which, while leaving unchanged the original structure, made it more appealing to new uses.
The war caused to the building, like the rest of the town, serious damage; heavy post-war restoration has had the effect of altering the structure.


Located within the walls is dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul. The origins date back to the tenth century, but the current building was rebuilt on the ancient Romanesque church in the early ‘500 with masonry additions and interior architectural enrichment.
The Baroque period made further changes to the internal colonnade retaining the austere facade. The last war there was serious damage to the whole structure and the subsequent restoration revealed the classic lines.
Still preserves valuable works: the “Pala di San Giuseppe”, glazed terracotta Della Robbia school, perhaps made by Girolamo son of Andrew next to Jacopo Sansovino; a SS. Crucifix, wooden sculpture of the fifteenth century artist, popularly known as the “Black Christ”; “Madonna with Saints”, a painting by Michele di Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio; a marble frame of the workshop in Lucca Civitali and several valuable seventeenth-century paintings.


It stands on a little relief out Castelnuovo. Built towards the end of ‘500 by Duke Alfonso II to offer the city a safe refuge and defense in case of attack and siege.
Designed by the Antonio Pasi project, the fortress is formed by a long wall with seven bulwarks placed asymmetrically to suit the characteristics of the soil. They were placed inside buildings for the troops and offices; To date there are only seven, the others were demolished or left to themselves.
Around the hill where the fortress of Monte Alfonso was equipped a path, “Ariosto Path”, which allows hiking in green around the fort; you reach the path either from the capital to the outlying hamlet of Torrite.


Its construction dates back to 1860 on the initiative of a group of local notables, the accounts and Giovanni Luigi Carli, this was also its designer, and antonio Vittoni.
Originally dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II took the present dedicating the day after the state rebubblicano birth.
The Alfieri can rightly be considered the most representative theater of the Serchio Valley and well evidenced, in the forms and in indoor and outdoor decorative lines, the role and ambitions of the city in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Until the beginning of the last century the business was mainly lyrical type, with billboards that saw the presence of national companies, supported by local amateur actors; then a significant reduction in the theatrical, the succession of different managements, which caused difficulties, rise up a bit ‘with the theatrical release, then prevailing activity in the second half of 1900. In 1997 it was bought by the town of Castelnuovo and in 2006 there was the reopening.


Construction began in 1632 for p will. Giambattista d’Este, Duke of Modena already Alfonso III, who four years earlier had left the throne to enter the religious Capuchin where he died in 1644.
The tomb inside the church recalls the historical figure.


Extensive archaeological evidence from the Upper Serchio Valley attested in the museum as well as a didactic exhibition on human evolution refers to two periods documented particularly for the significant and unique findings of the Garfagnana territory: the Mesolithic (8000-4500 BC), with illustrated in the various aspects of the territorial settlement, the use and function of stone tools and the Iron Age, mainly showing finds that illustrate aspects and ways of life of the Apuan Ligurian from the fourth century. B.C. until the Roman occupation.


tourist attraction of great importance and moment of meeting for the entire population of the Garfagnana is the ancient market, “banquet”, of medieval origin, which is held every Thursday morning in the streets and squares of the old town. Once within this market, frequented by merchants of the neighboring provinces, it was possible to sell, buy and exchange any article, the produce of the land, livestock, every kind of product: even were treated referrals of soldiers of fortune . To understand the economic and social importance, considering that an este law does not allow any arrests on Thursday, not to disturb the performance of the market.
Old is also the fair in September that for eight days gives rise to the rural tradition initiatives (the garfagnino cheese, cattle and other local agricultural products) as well as interesting promotional events and cultural, including the feature extraction of the “Tombola in Square”.