Fosdinovo castle is a splendid and well-preserved manor located in Lunigiana in the northern part of Tuscany. This area has also named the land of hundred castles and the manor of Fosdinovo is the biggest and the most known of all of them.
The castle of Fosdinovo was originally built in the late 12th century by the Nobles of the village to defend themselves from the invaders. In 1340 they sold it to the Malaspina Family that enlarged and beautified the castle during the next centuries. Today, the Marchesi Torrigiani-Malaspina owns the ancient manor.
From the top of the hill, it dominates the tiny village bearing the same name and the Val di Magra and Luni plains.
The structure of Malaspina Fosdinovo castle
Fosdinovo castle has architectural and historical importance. The structure merges with the underlying sandstone rock and it seems carved out of the stone.
Once, a drawbridge protected the castle but unfortunately, it doesn’t exist anymore. Today, the external structure of the castle is still intact with the four high round towers and the defensive walls.
Guided Tour of Fosdinovo Castle
You can explore the Malaspina di Fosdinovo castle only by taking a guided tour. In wintertime, the visit is possible during the weekend, on Saturdays and Sundays, while in summer every day, except Tuesday.
The tour will lead you through internal courtyards, galleries, and wide halls. You will enter into rooms decorated with well-preserved furnishings, precious frescoes, and tapestries with the Spino Fiorito family coat-of-arms. You will reach the patrol trenches above the roof, roof gardens, and bedrooms with sinister trapdoors. To finish with the torture room that every remarkable castle cannot miss. All these things make Fosdinovo castle a charming place to see!
The thing I loved the most is to reach the walking path up on the roof. The 360° view is amazing with all the surrounding mountains, valleys, the coast, and the sea line with the Elba and Corsica Islands.
The legend says that during 1306 also the Great Poet Dante Alighieri, a dear friend of the Malaspina Family, visited the castle. He spent few days at the Fosdinovo castle during his exile. You can have a look at Dante’s Chamber while visiting the manor.
The ghost of Bianca Maria and the marquise with a heart of stone
The castle is rich in stories about its inhabitants. During the visit to the Fosdinovo castle, you will also listen to the odd and dreadful stories of the Malaspina who lived there. My favorites are the ones of the young lady Bianca Maria and the Marquise Pallavicini Malaspina.
The young Bianca Maria Malaspina
Bianca Maria was the beautiful daughter of Jacopo Malaspina. Unfortunately, she came to a bad end. Her fault was to fall in love with a peasant. Her father, first of all, shut her in a prison cell with nothing to eat. Then in a convent. But this didn’t stop the two lovers from meeting again. At last, Jacopo decided to silence the story walling his daughter up alone in a small and dark room down the castle.
Indeed Bianca died sharing the darkness with other two human beings: a dog, the Malaspina symbol of fidelity and eternal love, and a wild boar, the symbol of her rebellion. Confirming the authenticity of this tale, recent excavations unearthed chained bones belonging to a girl and two animals.
The Ghost of Bianca Maria still lives in the castle. She made tracks on the wall of the throne room: a white damp patch that looks like the face of a woman surrounded by two black patches showing a dog and a wild boar.
The Marquise Cristina Pallavicini Malaspina
During the 17th century, the bedrooms of the castle also hosted the marquise Cristina Pallavicini Malaspina. She was considered a fascinating but heartless woman. Legend says that during her life, she had dozens of young lovers. After one-night stands with them, she used to tie them up and push them down the trapdoor that you can still see in the middle of her bedchamber.
Did you enjoy the reading about this unusual attraction of Tuscany?
Being very close to the border with the Liguria region, you can add the visit to the Castle of Fosdinovo in a tour to Cinque Terre and other Ligurian-colored fisherman villages such as Tellaro, Lerici, and Portovenere.
If you are interested in other wonderful Tuscan villages have a look also at:
- 10 most beautiful villages of Tuscany
- Top 10 Tuscany villages to visit
- Pontremoli, hidden gem of Tuscany
- Pietrasanta, the Little Athens of Italy
- Certaldo, the Medieval Village of the poet Boccaccio
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Cover Photo Credits: Castello di Fosdinovo