The Castle rises over the homonymous suburb in
the commune of San Romano in Garfagnana. From Florence e can follow the
motorway A11 until the exit 'Lucca' , then the SS12 called 'of the Abetone
and the Brennero' and finally the SS435 of the Garfagnana until Castelnuovo.
Here we find the indications for San Romano and for Verrucole.
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BROCHURE in pdf with all the latest info about the Fortress!
Where is Verrucole Fortress Located
» The keep after the Restoration
The suburb of Verrucole rises at the center of the high
Garfagnana Valley and its castle, also known as Fortress, is considered
the most important medieval testimony of this area. Traces of ancient
settlements on the site are constituted by numerous Neolithic era tombs,
by a necropolis of the ancient people called 'Liguri' (near San Romano)
and by the Roman Via Clodia (Clodia Road), but the first written records
goe back to the Middle Ages. The territory was divided and contested between
two feudal lordships: the counts of Bacciano, whose castle does not exist
any more, and of the most powerful Gherardinghi, that had their center
of power in the castle of the Verrucole until the year 1285.
| The still intact battlements of the northern curtain.
With the decline of the feudal power the area of San
Romano became a free commune, but soon the expansion of the near city
of Lucca in the Garfagnana with the intention to control the passes and
the roads towards the north of the high Serchio valley led to the submission
of Verrucole castle. For the successive centuries Verrucole did not know
peace: contested between Florentines, the marquises Malaspina and the
Dukes of Este it was often center of skirmish and battles. The last battle
was in the 1520 when, under the Estense control, it was besieged by the
Florentine army. Finally, from the second half of the 16th century, the
Dukes consolidated their dominion on the valley and the castle remained
under their control until the unity of Italy
All the history of the high Garfagnana passed between
the walls, today in ruin, of Verrucole. From its position on a relief
approximately 600 meters high it is possible to dominate the Alps Apuane,
the Apennines and greater part of the bottom of the valley. Its origin
is clear in its medieval forms: it was originally formed by two nucleus
at the extremities of the hill :the 'Rocca Tonda' (Round Rocca) to the
most elevated southern vertex and the 'Rocca Quadra' (Square Rocca) to
north. The Round Rocca it's also original ancient nucleus probably of
the 11th century, constituted from a massive keep with octagonal shape
(it is similar to the not far Castle of Aghinolfo)
approached with a long stair in stone, inside there were the rooms of
the gentleman on two levels. The remains of the kitchens and other locals
facilities can be still seen. At the foot of the stair rose the castle's
chapel of which we can still admire two columns with carved capitals.
The keep is at the south side of a walled enclosure surrounding the inner
courtyard. Two curtains with battlements leave from here towards north
and, perfectly following the margins of the crag, reache the opposite
| The north side, were the 'Rocca Quadra' rose.
Here rose the 'Rocca Quadra', the strictly military nucleus
of the castle, today totally gone and replaced by two bastions erected
by the Estensi where the Constable maintained a small garrison with light
artillery until the second half of the 1600. In this part of the castle
there're also some galleries, used also as stores for gun powder. The
two nucleus are joined together by two walled curtains, endowed at the
center with two towers with semicircle form, loop holes and of watch walk.
The area enclosed between the two 'Rocche' constitutes the inner ward,
where also other buildings, now gone, were placed. The western curtain
is has only gate for access to the complex, endowed with a breteche.
| A loop hole in the southern curtain.
Abandoned for years and reduced to ruins and overgrown
with vegetation, so much degraded to fear a definitive collapse of the
structures, the castle of Verrucole is today opened to the public after
a six years of careful restoration that have brought it back to its ancient
scenic beauty. In the distance its walls, endowed with nearly perfectly
intact battlements, seems to pay homage at its power. Walking through
the few hundreds meters that separate the castle from the village, where
it is necessary to leave the car, we can,t imagine what to expect at the
top of the hill: breathless sight of all the surrounding area, the Apuane
Alps, the Apennines and the Gagafgnana. Personally I think Verrucole is
one of the most beautiful medieval castle in Tuscany and a perfectly example
of successful conservative restoration. I' do not fear to paragon it with
some of the famous Cathar castles of southern France, for example Peyrepertuse.