Ranked #2 of 130 attractions in Province of Lucca
It goes without saying that the word Verrucole, coming from the Italian verruca (wart), easily explains the choice of the...
It goes without saying that the word Verrucole, coming from the Italian verruca (wart), easily explains the choice of the rocky and unapproachable spot for the building of the fortification. A few ruins dating back to the Bronze Age and to a medieval hamlet have been found on the whinstone mountain where the fortress was raised. During the Middle Ages the territory of the “Curia delle Verrucole” was administered by the counts Gherardinghi, the local feudatory, then it was passed to the Republic of Lucca, the Malaspina family and since the sixteenth century to the Este family.The present features of the fortress probably go back to two periods governed by the Este dynasty, the age of Marquis Leonello (about 1450) and Alfonso II (about 1564). For more than four hundred years this fortress, which had a strategic location for the whole valley, was part of the duchy of Modena and the ancient province of Garfagnana. It is said that originally this complex had two towers, each one having its own castellan with guards protecting the two rocks, named the Round Rock and the Square Rock, placed at two opposite ends of the hill. The Round Rock with its still visible Ghibelline battlements, supports the present polygonal tower, which replaced a cylindrical tower, which is now visible after the recent excavations. The Square Rock is still evident in some traces in the vicinity of the north-eastern bulwark and it was defended by a semicircular tower and a north-oriented building. Coming from the old “Porta Piana”, which still retains its gatehouse and embrasure, it is now possible to visit the left battlement, the casemate and the bulwarks facing the majestic mountain “Pania di Corfino”. On the opposite side, next to the entrance of the casemate the scene continues with the ruins of the storehouse and the recently reconstructed quarters of the guard. Furthermore, rising on the hill of the Round Rock it is not possible to miss the old chapel and the partially restored tower. Any diligent observer will notice on the left hand side of the stone stairs the narrow “Porta del Soccorso”, a traditional emergency exit for the castles. From the north gate it is possible to enter into the “Orto del comandante”, containing a few service buildings, a rainwater tank and the gunpowder tower, struck by a thunderbolt and exploded in 1683.