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Castiglione di Garfagnana

Historic Walking Areas · Bridges · Castles
Castiglione di Garfagnana is a medieval walled town and comune of 1,878 inhabitants in the province of Lucca. It sits on a hillside above the river Esarulo, a tributary of the Serchio.The town is renowned for the band Filarmonica Alpina, founded in 1858 with the name of Fanfara popolare.HistoryThe origin of the town dates back to a Roman castra, called Castrum Leonis,, built to command the valley that leads to the San Pellegrino Pass, the easiest access for armies over the Apennines. The fortress later developed under the Lombard and Frank dominations.In 1170 it was besieged by the Republic of Lucca. Castiglione surrendered, but the high taxes imposed led the city to form a league with other communes of Garfagnana against Lucca.In 1227 Castiglione was again besieged and suffered further destruction by Lucchese soldiers. Political conflicts continued in the following years, until a peace was reached in 1371: Lucca gained definitive control of Castiglione, and established a permanent administrator. The defensive structure was upgraded with the widening of the town walls.During the 15th century Castiglione was one of the few communities in Garfagnana that did not submit to the Este family, instead remaining loyal to the Republic of Lucca. Throughout the wars against the Estensi, the fortress was again besieged, in particular in 1603 and 1613. There then followed a long period of peace, marred only by boundary disputes with the neighbouring communes.
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