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“Excellent landmark for history lovers, but townspeople unfriendly”

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Castello Malaspina di Fosdinovo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 10, 2012

The castle itself was amazing and full of historical artifacts. I teach history and it is one of my favorite hobbies...needless to say, I took more pictures inside and outside of this castle than anywhere else on our 11 day trip to Italy. Prior to visiting the castle, I had read some reviews on the site about the friendliness of the people in town and in it's little grocery stores. Someone even mentioned that we stop at a grocery and buy food to make a picnic for eating on the castle's terrace.
First I must say that I love and respect cultures varying from my own and I very much enjoy learning about them. However, we (from the US) were greeted with very dirty looks when we went into town. It was very difficult to navigate the grocery store; but once we found it and walked inside, the owner muttered something under her breath to my husband and gave him a look as if he were trespassing. As we looked around, she continued to stare at him with her eyes squinted and possessing a look of anger that we were obviously not natives and therefore did not belong there. Needless to say, the shopkeeper made us feel very uncomfortable, so we left about two minutes after walking inside.
After this incident, we went to a little corner cafe to grab something to go because my husband was getting hungry. As we walked toward the cafe, a lady working inside gave us an unpleasant look as we approached. I stayed outside while my husband walked in to purchase something, but the lady kept her eyes on me, squinting and giving me a look signaling that we were unwelcome.
If you visit the castle, make sure that you stay at or around the castle. There is a new restaurant opened up at the bottom of the castle, right outside the big brown doors (castle entrance). This is not the same as the cantina, however right behind it. This place is owned by a husband and wife; the husband is the waiter and he speaks English. Also, ensure that after booking, you print the page specifying the room of which you booked and bring it with you to ensure that you receive the correct room. Overall, staying at the castle is an excellent opportunity as long as you don't venture into the village (if you don't appear to be a native).

Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
Thank lilbits6903
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 - 39 of 159 reviews

Reviewed June 3, 2012

We stayed for 1 night but would have loved to have stayed for longer. The castle is magnificent and sits in an incredible position. We chose the huge Bifore room with its 2 ornate windows and beautiful views even though it did mean having twin beds (you can squeeze into 1!) The castle is a labyrinth of beautiful vistas and magnificent rooms oozing with history. Pietro and Magdalena could not do enough to make us comfortable. We enjoyed a fantastic sunset meal of delicious antipasti with local wine on the rooftop terrace with views to the sea. At breakfast there was freshly baked cake, still warm from the oven and homemade marmalade amongst the options, whilst from the logia where breakfast is served we watched swallows darting from the turrets down into the lush green forested valley below.

Room Tip: Restricted dining options in surrounding area on Mondays but this makes a fantastic excuse to eat at...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank vix1969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2012

I can cross that from my bucket list. It was amazing.
the place is beautiful. When you think of all the history behing the it!
The Marquis is super nice, his wife to. very helpful.
The room were a dream and I never saw such a big bathroom before!
if you go (even if you don't sleep there) take a tour. The guide is like magical. We were wondering around looking at everything - because you do have access to everything!!- and he appeared out of nowhere to give us explaination. he was awesome!!!
if the owner reads this please pass our thanks to him. We forgot his name!
Anyway it was a fantastic stay. The highlight of our trip in europe in many regards. you are lucky to live there !
we were a bit out of touristic season so the little village was almost all to ourselves! the ladies at the ittle local grocery stop were fantastic too!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank ueco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2011

It's a five-star attraction as a site to experience the history of the region. As a hotel, it's
a poor value (100 euros per night off-season) for bare, austere accommodation. Having booked a room for three nights, we checked out after one night.
The place is run by a young, well-meaning couple who are in way over their heads as inn-keepers. At the time of our stay, we were the only guests. We'd been asked by the owners if we wanted to be served a dinner "especially prepared" for us. The dinner consisted of three kinds of pastry tidbits, a chunk of lardo (which we'd asked not be served, but it came anyway - it's 100% pure animal fat), a few slices of cheese and a plate of spaghetti. The bill was $43 per person, exclusive of wine. No menu, no choices of soup, salad, second course, dessert or beverage.
On arriving, we circled the castle several times unable to find the entrance. We phoned
asking for help. The young owner guided us to an overgrown driveway. As we were
parking, he shouted in Italian to his wife, "They're Americans! They don't know what
they're doing!"

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank shermy1929
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pietro77, Direttore at Castello Malaspina di Fosdinovo, responded to this reviewResponded December 29, 2011

First af all i'm always sorry when people write down bad things on the property and myself, luckily it doesn't happens really often (see all the reviews!! :). Then i would like to reply, just to clarify better the things for all the people that fall in this page. Tripadvisor is a great thing, but sometimes the risk is that a personal experience misrepresenting the truth.
First: the price is more then honest, considering that a simple b&b in the area takes 80 euros per night. Maybe you didn't realize that you had the opportunity to sleep in a castle that is a museum and one of the greatest original castle of the entire area. It dates back to the XI century and even the bedrooms are furnished with original furniture and paintings. People pay a ticket just to enter and visit it.
Second: the dinner is something special we prepare to help our guest due is not simple find something open in the area. The cost is more or less the price of the ingredients we buy. We really believe in slow food philosophy. we only buy organic a seasonal food. The 100% animal fat is called lardo and is one of the most precious food we have in Tuscany, lay for month under the marble quarry in Carrara. We always offer the wine that is superb. The menu doesn't exist for the simple reason we are not a restaurant, but we always clarify that before the dinner starts, even the price. is a guest choice.
Third: the castle is not an HOTEL, is really easy arriving there if you have practice sense and spirit of traveling, we have no signs because we don't like them (it's so easy to ask anyone and look around!!) and we don't need them.
Fourth: i really love american people, we work with them and you can see or ask our guest how we treat them. I'm afraid you misunderstood (even because normally i speak in italian with my wife) what i told her, but i'm sure it was nothing offensive. On the other hand i well remember the way you treat me when, after an hour spend to try to reach you up and down (you were lost..), finally i kindly show you the way to get there. Screaming and yelling me.
Fifth: As you told you booked for three days and stayed just one. I only let you pay the one night and didn't take the 30% of the total (like all the b&b in Italy does), and o lost two nights of this room (we only have 5). When they asked you the reason of your early departure you didn't mentioned all the things you would have written down once back in USA. In Italy and in USA i think first come the real world, then, the internet and his virtuality.

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Reviewed June 21, 2011

We were visiting Fosdinovo whilst staying near Viareggio and were amazed to find this wonderful Castle, high above the village of Fosdinovo. We were about to enter the Castle, which has a small entrance fee, when we discovered we had left our wallet/money at our Hotel, but having gone through the entrance gate we were called by a gentleman who asked if we were going to visit the Castle. We explained our predicament but he said this was not a problem and he kindly invited us in for a free visit. Having thought he was the guide, he informed us he was in fact the Marquis and he owned the Castle, which had been in his family since the 14th century. We were given directions by him and then given free rein to wander around this most magical place. Many original interesting artefacts and features remain and the rooms, such as the Throne Room, Arms Room and the Great Hall are very atmospheric and really do give a feeling of the history of the Castle. The Watchtower leads on to the walls where there are fantastic views of the surrounding countryside and the Versilia coast and the sea beyond. What a real treat, and my wife and myself were very grateful to the Marquis and his family for allowing us to visit. The Castle does have rooms and you can stay there during holiday times, which we hope to do sometime in the future. Well worth a visit!

Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
1  Thank 060702
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2011

We recently returned from an extended trip to Germany and Italy, and our stay at Castello Malaspina in Fosdinovo stands out as the highlight of the whole experience. The castle is absolutely magical ! It sits high on a hill above the Magra Valley and has an incredible 360 degree view of the entire area. Our room faced the small hill town adjoining the castle, and we looked over the rooftops of the town down the valley to the Ligurian Sea.

But what makes Castello Malaspina truly special is the owner Pietro. He is a warm, welcoming, and gracious host. He went out of his way to make sure that we were enjoying ourselves, advised us on things to see near the castle, and allowed us to share his world for a short time. The castle has been in Pietro's family since 1340 and his love for his home and its history was evident.

The rooms are large and comfortable and the views are excellent. Guests are free to wander among the frescoed rooms, the garden, and ramparts. Breakfast and dinner are served in a lovely glassed-in alcove with breathtaking views of the mountains rising above the castle to the east. The food is fabulous, oh my! Pietro's wife is a wonderful chef. Our dinner featured cheese from a nearby farm - we met the sheep on the road the next day! On our last evening, Pietro arranged for an aperitif in the garden where we were surrounded by blooming lilacs and had a view across the valley towards the sea watching an amazing sunset - we were in heaven!

The small hill town adjoining the castle is fun to explore. There is a cantina at the castle entrance where we sampled regional wine one evening on the terrace, and a small shop that makes delicious Focaccia bread with owners that were a joy to talk to - very friendly. It is a quick drive from the castle to Sarzana where the train to the Cinque Terre towns takes just a few minutes and runs frequently. Florence and Pisa are easy day trips also. We enjoyed exploring the area around the castle the most though. We followed Pietro's advice and took a road that winds high above Carrera for even more spectacular vistas and a birdseye view of the quarries and hiked to the Rifugio Cai Carrera along the Italian trial system.

We had a fantastic time and want to return as soon as we can.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ewright42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2011

This castle is fantastic! A step back to mid-evil times.....you can xplore the entire castle to your hearts content. There is a place near the top of the castle you can share a glass of wine and enjoy the sunset over the mountains. The views from our room were incredible. We enjoyed strolling the small streets of the village sharing buonaseras with the residents. There is a small restaruant where you can get home made pizzas and friendly conversation with the owners.

All that is really secondary to the excellent hospitability provided by the owner; Pietro. He went out of his way to make sure we were happy and had everything we could want or need to make our stay perfect.

I highly recommend the Castle for a stay. If you want to step back in time and experience history, the Castello Malaspina di Fosdinovo is the place for you.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cpcole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Castello Malaspina di Fosdinovo

Address: Via Papiriana 2, 54035, Fosdinovo, Italy
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Massa Carrara > Fosdinovo
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Fosdinovo
Price Range: $103 - $106 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo, dating back from the second half of the twelfth century, stands to the north of Tuscany between the Alps and the Tyrrhenian coast (Lerici, Cinque Terre, Versilia). Today the Castle is a museum, a cultural center dedicated to the production and diffusion of contemporary arts, a retreat for artists and writers and it hosts inside a small bed and breakfast welcoming and very charming. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Castello Malaspina Di Fosdinovo Hotel Fosdinovo

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