The Brunella Fortress stands in a strategic position on a hill over the town of Aulla, where the rivers Magra and Aulella meet.
The date of construction is open to conjecture, as is the identity of the proprietors, despite the fact that the building corresponds to the architectural standards typical of the age of transition: the first hypothesis dates the building to the end of the 15th century and attributes the project to Jacopo Ambrogio Malaspina, who was lord of Aulla at that time.
The second hypothesis claims the fortress was built by Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, who came to Aulla in the first quarter of the 16th century, and may have entrusted Antonio da Sangallo il Vecchio with the project.
A third hypothesis identifies the consigner of the work as Adamo Centurione, a merchant from Genoa who became the owner of the estate of Aulla in 1543.
The Brunella Fortress was built, it is said, by Giovanni delle Bande Nere, though more probably completed by the Centurione of Genoa. Its size is impressive and, in fact, it was taken only once, by Spanish troops in the mid-17th century. This was considered so great a military triumph that a special Te Deum of thanks was sung in Madrid.
The layout of the building is quadrangular with large angular hip rafters around the keep. This has various environments on two levels. The whole complex is surrounded by an impressive outer wall characterized by a wide scarp and it was transformed into a residence in the early years of the last century.
After the state bought the property it was completely restructured.
It is currently the home of the Natural History Museum of Lunigiana, and it is surrounded by a natural park of notable interest.
Practical information “Brunella Fortress”
How to reach
Motorway A15 La Spezia-Parma exit Aulla A-road 62 Cisa Railway Station: Aulla; with public transport: CAT, toll free number 800223010
Info: Museum, tel. 0187 400252/409077 www.castellidilunigiana.it
Where to stay in Aulla
There are numerous high quality hotels, villas, apartments and agriturismi (Farm stays) available, check them out and make a reservation here.