Malgrate Castle – Villafranca (MS)

Malgrate Castle – Photo © EmanuelaZ
Malgrate Castle – Photo © EmanuelaZ

Malgrate Castle, with its characteristics round tower, has dominated the valley of the River Bagnone for centuries.

It also controlled the important communication routes from the Apennines, Cisa and Garfagnana.

The fortifications were erected in the 14th century (although the origins are probably older) and from then to the 17th century, the standard of the Marchesi Malaspina flew on the tower. The tower is 25 meters high and has a cantilevered rampart walk with brackets.

As well as its defensive functions, the castle was used as a seigneurial residence in 1641, when the central body of the complex was transformed into a palazzo around the tower.

Despite this, Malgrate still appears as a classic medieval fortress: the main body consists of a keep, with the tower, situated on the shorter side of the feudal palazzo with a rectangular layout.

The complex is surrounded by a trapezoidal wall, with Guelph battlements and scarps, loopholes, angular turrets, and a rampart walk, which probably dates back to the 14th century.

In the west wall there is a gate that leads to the old town. The two main roads start here, with elegant palazzos along the way.

The inner front of the castle has a door with a raised arch and you can still see the traces of the old drawbridge, today replaced by one made of stone and those of another postern.

Photo  Mauro Parma
Photo Mauro Parma

Practical information “Malgrate Castle”

Biglietto d’ingresso 2 €
Opening times In summer. In winter it is open only for groups on request
Information Town Hall, tel. +39 0187 494400
How to reach Motorway A15 La Spezia-Parma exit Pontremoli (people who arrive from Parma), exit Aulla (people who arrive from La Spezia and Livorno) A-road 62 Cisa: arrived in Villafranca in Lunigina follow the directions for Malgrate-Bagnone; Railway station: Villafranca in Lunigiana; with public transport: CAT, toll free number 800 223010
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Where to stay in Villafranca

There are numerous high quality hotels, villas, apartments and agriturismi (Farm stays) available, check them out and make a reservation here.