Arcole Castle




Arcole once belonged to the powerful caste of the Obertenghis, marquesses of Tuscany in the IXth century, who ruled over a large area in the north of Italy. Built at the same period on Spezia Gulf, the impressive military fortress of Arcole was used as a military outpost for the march of western Liguria, from where the marquesses of Massa-Corsica, a cousin branch of the Malaspinas, left towards Corsica and Northern Africa to fight against the pirates and the Saracens. These marquesses gave the castle to the monks of San Venerio del Tino monastery. Then the Malaspinas of the Spino Secco were granted it in the second half of the XIIIth century before selling it to the city of Genoa.

Avenza Castle


Built in the first half of the XIVth century at the crossroads of the old Aemilia Scauri way linking Pisa to Genoa and of the Francigene way, which the Pilgrims followed to go to Rome, this castle was very important strategically, both on economical and military levels. In the XVIth century, the Malaspinas ordered the modernisation and transformation of the castle into a seigneurial residence.

Bagnone Castle


Antonio Malaspina, first marquess of Bagnone after the division of the fief of Filattiera in 1351, resided in this castle. The Malaspinas kept this fief for almost a century, up to the settling of the grand-duchy of Tuscany in the second half of the XVth century. The tower alone still remains today.

Bastia Castle


Built at the end of the XIIIth century, Bastia castle held a strategic position allowing it to control the way from Lunigiane to Emilia and block the possible attacks towards the Apennin passes. This estate of the marquess Malaspina de Villafranca's witnessed the love affair of Angelica with Giulio, son of Alessandro de' Medici. In the same castle also lived Anna-Maria,  rival to the Marchioness of Pompadour at Louis XV's court.

Brunella Castle


Erected in the XVth century, this huge stronghold overlooks the strategic town of Aulla, at the merging of the Magra and Aulella rivers. Probably built by Jacopo Ambrogio Malaspina, first marquess of this fief, it was later altered by its successive owners: Giovanni delle Bande Nere, who lived there in 1522, and then the Centurione family, who got hold of the fief in the first half of the XVIth century. In 1716, the Emperor gave it back to the Malaspinas of Podenzana. For remaining faithful to the Emperor during the wars bringing the Empire into conflict with the Bourbons of Spain and of France, the stronghold, where the Emperor's army took refugee, was besieged by the Spanish. They occupied it for three years. When the castle was taken over after a siege which lasted for nearly three weeks, a Te Deum was celebrated in Madrid cathedral.

Calice al Cornoviglio Castle


Since Federico Barbarossa granted the castle to Obizzo Malaspina in 1164, it has been occupied by several branches of the Malaspina marquesses. After the Genoese occupying forces destroyed the medieval building at the beginning of the XVth century, a new edifice was erected by Conrado Malaspina in 1446. At the beginning of the XVIIIth century, King Philip V of Spain, Duke of Milan, tried to take hold of Lunigiane and to subject all the Malaspina marquesses. Azzo Giacinto, marquess of Mulazzo, refused to take an oath of allegiance to the representative of the king of Spain, as he preferred serving the Empire. By way of reprisals, Calice Castle was completely destroyed in 1705 by the franco-Spanish troops before Azzo refurbished the residential aisle.

Caniparola Castle


Gabriele Malaspina had his residence built in 1724 in the town of Caniparola, on the road to Fosdinivo, where an ancient tower was erected before the Xth century. The villa, a typical mansion from the XVIIIth century, is surrounded by an Italian garden.

Carrara Castle


Built during the XIIIth century for Guglielmo Malaspina, the castle later became a military post as well as the Lords' residence. The statue of Iacopo Malaspina, first Lord of Massa and Carrara, can be seen under a low relief on the old castle gate, holding a sword in his left hand and a shield bearing the arms of the Spino Fiorito in the right one. The fortress was attacked only once, when Giulio Cybo-Malaspina assaulted his mother Ricciarda to gain control over the State of Massa-Carrara. Alberico I Cybo-Malaspina ordered the building of the palace beside the castle called “Castle of the Prince”. From 1815, according to Duchess Maria Beatrice d'Este's will, the stronghold hosted the Academy of Art.

Castagnetoli Castle


The castle was built between the XVIth and the XVIIth century on the orders of the master of the place, Giovan-Cristoforo Malaspina. Further to the extinction of this branch, Castagnetoli became part of the marquesses of Mulazzo's fief.

Castevoli Castle


Erected  by the Estensis around year 1000, Castevoli Castle went over to the Malaspina marquesses in 1195. Dante Alighieri presumably stayed there in 1306, when he went to Lunigiane. Destroyed during the Genoese invasion, the fortress and the tower were rebuilt on the massive quadrangular medieval military structure during the XVth century. It became one of the marquess Malaspina de Villafranca's dwellings and, after 1561, the main residence of the marquesses of Castevoli. This castle overlooks the Bagnone torrent and allowed to control the Francigene way towards Piazencia.

Compiano Castle


Compiano Castle overlooks the Taro river and the Apennin pass, which links Emilia to Tuscany and Liguria. This fortress, which is among the most spectacular ones in Northern Italy, is surrounded by battlements accessible through three gates. Its origin is unknown, but it probably dates back to the Xth century: the northern tower is indeed typical of the Merovingian era. The stronghold belonged very early to the marquesses Guglielmo and Obizzo Malaspina, who passed it to the Viscontis in the XIIth century.

Filattiera Castle


First an estate of the Este House, Filattiera came to the Malaspinas during the XIIth century. After  the division in 1221, Filattiera became the capital of the Malaspinas of Spino Fiorito's large fief, and the castle the residence of its chief, Opizzino. Filattiera remained the property of the marquesses of Malaspina until 1787. Yet the military stronghold  was transformed over the centuries in order to be refurbished as a residential palace.

Fosdinovo Castle


Assessed as early as the XIIth century, the castle became the marquesses of Malaspina's residence two centuries later.

The fortress has been known from the XIIth century and it became the residence of the marquesses Malaspina of Fosdinovo in the XIVth century. Possession of the marquess Torregiani Malaspina, it is nowadays the most important of all the Malaspinian castles. Dante presumably stayed there, as reminded by the name given to a tower. Fosdinovo village still holds many bearings of the importance of the Malaspina family in the course of the centuries, i.e. the marble sarcophagus of Galeotto Malaspina in San Remigio Church or else the collection of paintings inside the castle reception room. The building is located at the top of a hill, which allowed the marquesses to control both the plain and the coast. Under Spinetta il Grande, it was the Gibelan and Malaspinian political and military centre against the bishops of Luni and the power of the Pope.

Groppoli Castle


Holding a strategic position on a rock overlooking the Magra river, close to Mulazzo, the capital of Spino Secco, Groppoli was a Malaspinian fief from the XIIIth  to the XVIth century.

Le Château de Lerma


Appartenant à l’ancienne Marche Aléramique, Lerma et son château resteront aux mains des descendants d’Aleramo jusqu’en 1233, date à laquelle les marquis de Morbello prêtent allégeance à Gênes, lui cédant leur fief. La République en investit alors Tommaso Malaspina de Cremolino, fils de Federico de Villafranca, descendant par sa mère Agnese del Bosco des marquis aléramiques. Lerma devient alors pour quelques temps partie intégrante du marquisat prospère des Malaspina de Cremolino. Après être revenu aux marquis de Monferrato, au XVème siècle le fief échoit finalement aux Spinola qui le possédèrent jusqu’au XVIIème siècle. On leur doit la réédification du château en 1499, érigé sur un promontoire dominant le fleuve Piota.

Licciana e Panicale Castle


⁃    The Castle of Piano: On the left bank of the Taverone torrent, the Castle of Piano, built in the XVIth century, was used as a dwelling by the marquesses of Licciana and Panicale.

⁃    Malaspina de Licciana Castle: Erected to control the Transapennian traffic, the village and the castle, thanks to their strategic prepoderance, caught the attention of the marquesses Malaspina de Villafranca, who got hold of it in 1301. In 1535, Licciana and Panicale estate were declared an independent fief and granted to the first marquess Malaspina de Licciana, Jacopo I, and later passed to his descendants until the arrival of the Napoleonic troops in 1797. Refurbished as a dwelling at the beginning of the XVIIth century, the tower alone, presumably from the Middle-Ages, remains from the former castle.

Lusuolo Castle


From the heights of a rocky hill overlooking the valley, this impressive building controlled the Francigene way. A Malaspisian possession since the XIIth century, in the marquess of Mulazzo's hands, the castle was partially destroyed by the Genoeses in 1449, and then rebuilt during the XVIIth century by the grand dukes of Tuscany, new lords of Lusuolo.

Madrignano Castle


Like Calice al Cornoviglio Castle, Madrignano Castle was granted to Obizzo Malaspina by Federico Barbarossa in 1164. Destroyed during the XVth century, the castle was rebuilt by Corrado Malaspina, who turned it into one of the most beautiful and best protected castles in Lunigiane. At the beginning of  the XVIIIth century, the franco-Spanish troops besieged this castle, which sheltered the marquess of Mulazzo, Carlo Maria Malaspina, who had remained faithful to the Empire and refused to take an oath of allegiance to King Philip V of Spain. The castle was besieged and conquered, and the battlements were destroyed.

Malgrate Castle


Recognisable by its very original round tower, the castle overlooks the Bagnone valley. First owned by the Malaspina de Filattiera marquesses (branch of the Spino Fiorito), Malgrate became an independent fief in 1351, after the sharing between Niccolo Malaspina de Filattiera's children. The first marquess of Malgrate, Barnabo, decided to enlarge the building and to erect battlements around the circular tower and the rectangular edifice dating back to the XIIIth century. This castle remained in the Malaspinas' hands until 1610, when it went to the duke of Milan, King Philip III of Spain. This castle is one of the most noteworthy in the Magra Valley.

Massa Castle


Given to Obizzo Malaspina by Federico Barbarossa in 1164, the castle was occupied by Conradin, king of the Romans, duke of Swabia and king of Sicily and Jerusalem, opposed to the alliance between the Empire and the Malaspinas, before being devastated by the inhabitants of Lucca. Interested in the tactic location of the building, which allowed simultaneous control of both the coast and the mainland, several owners followed one another, and eventually the Malaspina de Fosdinovo marquesses bought it in the XVth century. The first owners, the marquesses of Massa lived there in the Xth century, in order to ensure the security on the sea and to fight against the pirates and the Saracens, who they chased as far as Corsica or Sardinia. Later on, Jacopo I, marquess of Fosdinovo, had the fortress refurbished and transformed. A few generations later, Ricciarda Malaspina and her son Alberico completed the improvement of the seigneurial residence. In 1557, Alberico I Cybo Malaspina  ordered the erection of the battlements surrounding the town, as well as the Salvatore, San Martini, Pasquino and Mantane gates.

Massa Ducal Palace


The alterations completed by the successive owners explain the stylistic heterogeneity of the palace, erected by Alberto Cybo Malaspina in  the XVIth century. Under the influence of the Genoese style, Carlo I was the first to order many changes on the building in order to throw large parties there. He had a reception room added, a terrace and then an additional aisle, as well as a loggia closing the inner court. Later, Alessandro Bergamini reorganized the structure, playing on the chromatic contrast between marbles and white and red stuccos. The inner decorations were enriched throughout the centuries by the paintings by Francesco Natali. The ducal chapel also exhibits valuable works of art, such as Carlo Pellegrini's frescoes and the Nativity retable by Matteo Civitali. The Malaspina family's necropoleis and chapel are situated under Saint Peter and Saint François Cathedral.

La Rinchiostra Villa


Constructed on the location of a tower erected at the times of the bishops of Luni, this villa was built in 1675 by the marquess Gabriele Malaspina, who used it as a hunting lodge. It was reorganised in 1724 according to the will of Teresa Pamphili, Carlo II Cybo-Malaspina's wife, who hired the services of the architect Carrare Alessandro Bergamini. The villa is surrounded by a large garden exhibiting numerous species of flowers, orange trees, lemon trees and cedars. Alderano I, Teresa Pamphili's son, transformed the villa into a magnificent residence which was sold to Louis of Bourbon in 1857.

Moneta Castle


Moneta Castle is located at the top of a rock which ensured the protection of the valley and of the town of Carrara. A possession of the bishops of Luni at first, it was later owned by the Malaspinas. Jacopo, marquess of Fosdinovo, bought it at the end of the XVth century, together with the Carrara, Avenza and Fragoso estates, which became part of the fief of Massa. Erected at the end of the XVth century, the tower is the oldest part of the building. As for the battlements, they were constructed during the XVIth century.

Montechiaro Castle


Built during the XIIth century, the castle became part of a Malaspinian fief in the XIVth century. Spinette il Grande's son stayed there for some time, and the castle was a landmark between Pianura and Piacienza for the powerful family. Gibelian symbols can still be spotted on the merlons.

Monti Castle


This castle dates back to the XVth century, when Monti became an independent fief under Giovan-Spinetta, marquess of Monti and son of Giovan-Spinetta, marquess of Villafranca. The latter probably originated the erection of the castle, on the bank of the Taverone, main point of a large area including Monti, Panicale, Licciana Bastia, Tarrarossa, Podenzana and Suvero territories. It is the castle where Spinetta il Grande was imprisoned during the XIVth century.

Mulazzo Castle


At the centre of a large Malaspinian fief in the XIIIth century, Mulazzo had become, since the 1221-division, the main city of the Spino Secco, which included all the territories located on the right bank of the river Magra, as well as Villafranca on the left bank. The oldest building is Dante's tower, which dates back to the XIIIth century and bears the name of the poet who was presumably put up by the Malaspinas during his stay in Lunigiane. The tower in which the poet probably stayed overlooks the town, and it allowed the control of the valley. Less ancient, the fortified structure dates back to the XIVth-XVth centuries.

Oramala Castle


Oramala Castle is of great historical and artistic interest. It was indeed the first dwelling of the Malaspina family, who established there one of the most powerful marquisate of Northern Italy. When Obizzo I Malaspina escorted Federico Barbarossa from Pontremoli to Germany in 1167, he put up the emperor in this castle located in the middle of the woods in Staffora valley, 750 metres above sea level. These times were the most brilliant ones for the Malaspinas, militarily, culturally and artistically. It is indeed in the massive and lone dwelling of Oramala that the most famous Provençal troubadours of those times stayed, later followed by Dante Alighieri, who celebrated his hosts in the VIIIth Purgatory song in the Divine Comedy and eventually by Goethe, who stopped by there too. In 1474, the castle was fortified by the marquess Niccolo Malaspina, who gave it its magnificent figure, still visible today. In the course of the centuries, the castle became the marquesses' second home and was later abandoned after the extinction of the branch, before being refurbished in the XXth century by its new owners.

Le Château d'Osilo


Faute d’une documentation suffisamment précise, l’histoire du château d’Osilo est mal connue. Selon toute vraisemblance, il aurait été édifié entre la fin du XIIème siècle et le début du XIIIème au sommet du mont Tuffudesu (650m d’altitude), permettant ainsi le contrôle conjoint de la côte nord de la Sardaigne et de l’intérieur des terres. L’attribution courante de sa construction aux Malaspina de Mulazzo serait erronée : plus vraisemblement, il serait parvenu aux mains des Malaspina par le biais de la dot apportée par Urica, fille naturelle du Juge de Torres Mariano II, qui dans les premières décennies du XIIIème siècle avait épousé Corrado Malaspina, un fils naturel du marquis Federico Malaspina de Villafranca. La propriété malaspinienne d’Osilo n’est cependant clairement attestée qu’à partir de 1272. Corrado étant mort sans héritier légitime, son héritage était revenu en partie à ses frères Tommaso et Opizzino, deux tiers de ses biens ayant été cédés antérieurement à ses oncles Moroello de Mulazzo et Manfredi de Giovagallo. Dès le début du XIVème siècle, les conflits entre les Malaspina et les nouveaux maîtres aragonais de l’île rendent l’histoire de ce château particulièrement chaotique. Au gré des traités de paix, régulièrement rompus, Osilo est accordé ou retiré aux Malaspina jusqu’en 1349, date à laquelle il revient définitivement aux Aragonais, une quinzaine d’années avant que les Malaspina ne se voient contraints d’abandonner leurs possessions sardes. Au fil du XVème siècle, le château est progressivement laissé à l’abandon. Surplombant le bourg d’Osilo, aujourd’hui le château reste remarquable par son mur d’enceinte et ses deux tours d’aspect contrasté, l’une ronde édifiée en basalte noir, l’autre de plan carré, construite en tuf blanc.

Le Château della Pietra


C’est aux évêques de Tortona que l’on devrait l’édification du Castello della Pietra, l’un des châteaux les plus impressionnants de Ligurie, encastré entre deux pics de manière presque fusionnelle, épousant les mouvements de la roche. Probablement destiné à protéger la vallée des incursions sarrasines, le château aurait, selon certaines sources, été donné aux marquis de Gavi par les évêques Tortona en 1050. D’autres affirment au contraire que les marquis de Gavi, branche obertenga cousine des Malaspina, seraient entré en possession du château à la fin du XIIème siècle ou au début du XIIIème. En se fondant sur l’histoire de la commune de Crocefieschi, à laquelle le destin de Vobbia se trouva longtemps attaché, il se pourrait que les deux options soient vraies, la présence des Gavi ayant alors été intermittente. Il apparaît en tout cas certain que le château revint aux Malaspina en 1164. Ceux-ci le conservèrent peu de temps : Moroello Malaspina, fils d’Obizzo, défait par Gênes à Monleone en 1174, est contraint de vendre le château à la Commune. Selon d’autres sources, les Malaspina auraient néanmoins continué d’occuper les lieux jusqu’en 1252. Entre le milieu du XIIIème siècle et le XVIIème, le fief passe successivement aux mains des Visconti, Della Pietra, Spinola, Fieschi et Adorno jusqu’en 1797. 

Poggio San Donato Castle


Poggio San Donato is located in Tuscany, on the Roman way leading from Florence to Siena. Built in the Renaissance period, the Malaspina Palace is situated on the main square, called “Malaspina square”.

Pontebosio Castle


Once part of the fief of Villafranca, Pontebosio was later included in the fief of Bastia before becoming independent in 1574. The marquess Fabrizio Malaspina probably originated the building of this castle in the XVIth century. He also ordered the erection of Terrarossa Castle.

Le Château de Suvero


Situé dans la vallée du Vara, vieux fief obertengo, Suvero avait été successivement fief des Estensi, de l’abbaye de Brugnato et des seigneurs de Vezzano,  avant de revenir aux Malaspina de Villafranca en 1301. Rebâti au cours du XIVème siècle, il échoit en 1535 à Rinaldo Malaspina après la mort de son père Giovanni Spinetta. Rinaldo devient le premier marquis de ce nouveau fief indépendant. C’est à son fils, Torquato Malaspina, homme cultivé apprécié de ses vassaux, que l’on doit la transformation de la vieille forteresse en palais renaissant, conservant néanmoins un aspect massif et une fonction défensive. De plan trapézoïdal, trois de ses angles étaient renforcés de tours massives, dont deux se écroulées suite au tremblement de terre de 1920. Abandonné par les Malaspina en 1797 sous la pression des troupes napoléoniennes, il a été récemment restauré.  

Le Château de Tagliolo


Comme la plupart des fiefs du marquisat Malaspina de Cremolino (Piémont), Tagliolo, ancien fief de la marche aléramique au Xème siècle, parvint apparemment aux Malaspina par le biais du mariage de Agnese del Bosco, descendante d’Aleramo, avec Federico Malaspina de Villafranca. Au milieu du XIIIème siècle, leur fils Tommaso en devient le premier titulaire malaspinien. Selon certaines sources, les marquis del Bosco auraient cependant rapidement repris le contrôle sur le château. Le fief finit par échoir à la République de Gênes qui en investit successivement diverses familles, jusqu’en 1418. En 1431, Francesco Sforza parvient à conquérir Tagliolo, qui revient ainsi au Duché de Milan. Quelques temps plus tard, Tagliolo retourna aux génois, sous investiture impériale directe, qui en investirent les Doria Gentile, puis Pinelli Gentile, toujours propriétaires du château. L’architecture du château évolua avec le temps, au gré des propriétaires successifs : la tour carrée du Xème-XIème siècle, surélevée au XVème siècle, s’est vue adjoindre d’autres bâtiments édifiés au XVIème-XVIIème siècle. L’ensemble a été restauré à la fin du XIXème siècle selon le goût néogothique, encore appuyé par les transformations des années 1930.

Pozzol Groppo Castle


In 1164, Pozzol Groppo was granted to the marquess Obizzo Malaspina by Federico Barbarossa when he made the Malaspina estates imperial fiefs. Built in the XIIIth century for the marquesses of the Spino Fiorito, the castle was chosen for its situation over the surrounding valleys, Curone, Grue and Staffora. The central building, which dates back to the XIVth century, was then flanked by three tall and narrow towers and protected by battlements erected in the XVIth century by the marquess Cesare Malaspina where the former fortifications once were. At the foot of the castle is Pozzolo cemetery, where rests forever the last lord Malaspina of the castle, the marquess Alberto, dead at Brescia on 11th April, 1889 during the exercise of his duty as public prosecutor of the king by the Court of Appeal.

Terrarossa Castle


The castle was built in the XVIth century on an ancient medieval fortification which overlooked the Magra, alongside the road used for the transportation of the troops and the control of the exchanges between Parma and Sarzane. Built by Fabrizio Malaspina, son of the marquess of Bastia, this castle became the marquesses' residence when Terrarossa left the fief of Filattiera in 1628. Bernabo, the second marquess, refurbished it. For some people, this castle is Christopher Columbus' birthplace, as stated on the navigator's deathstone: Christophorus Columbus of Terra Rubra.

Tresana Castle


Tresana Castle was erected at the beginning of the XVIth century, over an ancient medieval structure probably dating back to the Lombard period and granted to Obizzo Malaspina in 1164 by Federico Barbarossa, a short time before the independence of the fief (1565). Guglielmo, the first marquess of this fief become independent in 1565, got from the emperor the right to mint coins, a rare privilege only owned by the marquesses of Fosdinovo and the Cybo-Malaspinas at that time. The castle became a seigneurial residence before the franco-Spanish troops occupied it at the beginning of the XVIIIth century.

Varzi Castle


Varzi Castle was built at the end of the XIIth century when the marquesses Malaspina d'Oramala decided to leave their main residence in order to get closer to the “Salt way” and hence gain a  better control over the trade in the area. They eventually took the decision to build the new town of Varzi, which became in the course of the centuries one of the liveliest market town along the way from Genoa to Milan. The town was protected by battlements and a 29-metre-high tower which overlooked the surrounding area. Called “the Witches' Tower”, it eventually became a jail for several centuries. In 1460, twenty-five women convicted for witchcraft were imprisoned there and eventually burnt on the town square. The coat of arms of the Malaspina family can still be seen above the main gate of the castle.

Verrucola Bosi Castle


A very massive stronghold, this castle is a unique example of medieval architecture. Spinetta took refuge there in 1312 when Castruccio Castracani assaulted the fortress for two weeks. After his exile, Louis of Bavaria returned the castle and the fief to Spinetta in 1328 when his enemy died.

Spinetta eventually undertook the refurbishing of the castle in the hope of establishing a political and military centre for the entire Lunigiane. Spinetta's descendants occupied this fief until 1477. The last marquess, Jacopo de Fivizzano, set up there one of the first printing press in Europe in  1471.


Verrucola cylindrical tower, which overlooks the village of Fivizzano from a pass, has obviously military origins. It was erected around the XIVth century to protect and help defend the neighbouring castle.

Malnido di Villafranca


Remains of a castle set up at the far end of the valley have been traced as far back as the end of the XIIIth century. Then known as “the Bad Nest” (it was used to check the traffic and was a tax office for those who took this road), it was later called “Lealville” due to the statutes and the good trade conditions granted by the lords of the place. One of the biggest and busiest of the Malaspina's properties, Villafranca eventually became the main town of an independent fief in 1266. The castle was progressively reorganised as a seigneurial residence for the marquesses of Malaspina, who managed the fief until the end of the XVIIIth century.

Virgoletta Castle


The origin of this castle located in the Bagnone valley dates back to the XIIth century, when a tower with square foundations was built. It became a possession of the Malaspinas' during the XIIIth century. At the beginning of the XVIth century, after the Genoese invasion, Federico III undertook the refurbishing works and the building of the residential palace. His coat of arms can be seen on the front wall of the castle, together with some writings about these works. This same marquess also added the crawling lion on the coat of arms of the marquesses of Virgoletta. The castle was occupied by troops several times, by the Florentines in 1533 or else by the Spanish army in 1733. Virgoletta Castle is amongst the most magnificent ones all around Lunigiane.

Dell'Aquila Castle

This impressive fortified structure overlooks the torrents Aullela and Lucido from a pass. A trade centre since the Dark Ages, Castel d'Aquila became an independent fief in 1366, when it was separated from Fosdinovo estate. The castle, a genuine residential and military structure built by Galeotto de Fosdinovo, dates back to this period.

Bibola Castle

Located at the top of a hill, this castle overlooks the major part of the Magra valley. It was first owned by the lords of Bibola and later taken over by Bernabo Malaspina de Filattiera in the first half of the XIIIth century. Bequeathed to the bishops of Luni when he died, it was passed to the Malaspinas of Lusuolo in 1355 and sold after a century to the Malaspinas of Fosdinovo. Until  the XVIIth century, the castle was only a military post, allowing the traffic of the troops inland. Giovani delle Bande Nere understood this perfectly and occupied it in 1525 in order to prevent the marquess Malaspina de Lusuolo's army, who were arriving from Sarzane, to rejoin the troops posted at Aulla. The battlements, built at the end of the XVth century, surrounds and protects the village and the castle.

Bigliolo Castle

Built before the XIIth century, this castle gained the Malaspinas' interest because of its strategic position in the war against the bishops of Luni. Acquired by the Malaspinas de Filattiera in the second half of the XIIIth century, it became the property of Francesco Malaspina di Olivola in 1275. When this branch got extinct in 1411, it became part of the fief of Castel d'Aquila until 1466 and became the residence of the Malaspinas de Fosdinovo and eventually, from 1510, of the Malaspinas d'Olivola. Located at the top of a hill, the castle is sheltered by 260-metre-high battlements surrounding this 2500 m² fortress.

Bolano Castle

In the XIth century, this castle belonged to the bishops of Luni. After the peace of Castelnuovo in 1306, the marquesses of Mulazzo reinforced the building defensive structures and the castle was occupied by Genoa from the beginning of the XVth century.

Caprigliola Castle

As it was a major see, Caprigliola had been coveted by the Malaspinas when they set their expanding strategy in Lunigiane in the XIIIth century into motion. Their goal achieved at the end of that century, probably thanks to Spinetta, the family kept the property until 1404, when the Republic of Florence got hold of it.

Cariseto Castle

Federico Barbarossa bestowed the investiture of the castle and of the fief of Cariseto on Obizzo Malaspina in 1164.

Lost in 1195, the castle was finally regained by the marquesses Malaspina de Mulazzo in 1251, before going to the branch of the marquesses Godano and Bolano. In 1535, the marquess Moroello Malaspina de Pregola tried to divert the fief, assaulted the castle where he kept prisoner for two months the last marquess of the Godano and Bolano branch, Antonio Malaspina, possessor of the property and without descendants. When he could break free, the latter decided to sell his fief to Gian Luigi Fieschi for 9633 gold ecus.

Castiglione's Castle

Erected on a strategic location to control the Magra valley, Castiglione Castle dates back to the XIVth century. It was problably built upon the orders of Franceschino I, called “Il Soldatto”, a war captain on behalf of Florence and chief of the House of Castiglione when this fief became independent in 1351. Not so ancient, the battlements probably date back to the XVth century.

Codiponte Castle

Codiponte Castle, founded by the end of the XIVth century, was primarily a typically medieval building. This fortress belonged to the marquesses Malaspina de Verrucola and, for about thirty years, to the marquesses Malaspina de Castel d'Aquila.

Corlaga Castle

Leonardo, first marquess Malaspina de Corlaga, had this castle erected in 1523. The Malaspinas lost the fortress during the next generation, and it became a property of the grand dukes of Tuscany.

Giovagallo Castle

Situated in the Penolo valley, this stronghold was the residence of Moroello Malaspina, a famous man-of-arms who fought with the Black Guelfs of Tuscany, enjoying numerous victories. This House died away during the XIVth century and the fief went to the marquesses of Villafranca and later to the marquesses of Lusuolo.

Godano Castle

Godano Castle is amongst the oldest of the Malaspinas' properties. First owned by the marquess Oberto, count of the Sacred-Palace, it remained in the hands of his descendants until the beginning of the XVIth century, when the territory was administered by the republic of Genoa.

Gragnola Castle

The marquess's house, Casa del Marchese, is situated on the main square of Gragnola, a village belonging to the fief of Castel dell'Aquila. Since 1914, this house has been declared a national monument. It hosted famous people like the writer Adolfo Bartoli.

Grondola Castle

Grondola Castle belonged to the Obertenghis very early. The oldest documents mentioning it date back to the XIIth century, when Alberto Malaspina had it strengthened before selling it to the City of Piacenzia in 1195. Located on a major commercial and military road linking Piazencia to Tuscany, its strategic predominance explains the many conflicts occurred for its possession in the course of the centuries.

Montereggio Castle

Located on the marquesses of Mulazzo's lands, the marquesses' residential palace was built in 1573 over an ancient defensive structure dating back to the Middle-Ages. A portion of the Malaspinas' coat of arms is still visible on the front wall.

Olivola Castle

Primarily part and parcel of the fief of Filattiera, Olivola left it in 1275 when Francesco, son of Bernabo de Filattiera and Maria of Antioch – daughter of the emperor Federico II – inherited a part of his father's properties and became the first marquess of Olivola, owning a large territory which stretched between the torrents Aulella and Taverone. The major part of the castle was destroyed during the earthquake in 1920.

Podenzana Castle

Podenzana Castle was built in the XIVth century for the marquesses of this fief, which became independent in 1355. The marquesses Malaspina de Villafranca found shelter there during the Genoese invasion at the beginning of the XVth century.

Ponzanello Castle

The castle holds a strategic position alongside the road between Inner Lunigiane and the coast. At first a property of the bishops of Luni, it was occupied by the emperor Federico II in 1239. It was later owned by the Malaspinas of Fosdinovo, then those of Verrucola and eventually those of Gragnola from the XIVth century. While the castle dates back to the XIIIth century, the tower is even older.

Rocca Sigillina Castle

Built on a rocky peak overlooking the Lombardian way, this castle was taken from the city of Pontremoli by the Malaspinas de Filattiera in 1231. The marquesses kept the castle and had it fortified. In 1313, the inhabitants of Pontremoli rebelled and the Malaspinas had to give back the property to the city.

Treschietto Castle

The castle was the centre of a Malaspinian fief from 1351, after the division of Filattiera. Giovanni,    the first marquess, transferred his residence from Vico to Treschietto, and he decided to have battlements erected. The marquesses lived in this castle until the beginning of the XVIIIth century, when Ferdinando Malaspino, who had no descendants, left his estate and his properties to Cosimo III of Tuscany. A local legend says the castle to be haunted by the ghost of Gasparo Malaspina, called “Il Mostro” (“The Monster”), who spent most of his time chasing after the young females of his fief.

Viano Castle

The tower is the only vestige of an important Malaspinian castle which belonged to the marquesses of Fosdinovo, then to those of Castel d'Aquila. It was erected in the XVth century by Antonio Alberico, marquess of Fosdinovo and of Castel d'Aquila.

Ricco di Villafranca Castle

This castle was allocated to Galeotto Malaspina de Fosdinovo in 1355, then, a few years later, to the marquesses of Villafranca. From the height of its strategic situation, it enjoys a panoramic view on the Magra valley.