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The Fortress of Mont’Alfonso

The Fortress of Mont'Alfonso is one of the the most impressive architectural monuments in the Serchio Valley; it covers an area of approximately 60,000 square meters, is located about 10 minutes by car from Castelnuovo Garfagnana and offers beautiful views of the slopes of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and of the mountain range of the Panie, part of the Apuan Alps.
It was built by Alfonso II d'Este between 1579 and 1586, and designed by Marc'Antonio Pasi, to defend Castelnuovo Garfagnana and the Este territory from the Republic of Lucca. The inhabitans of the area, the “garfagnini”, contributed to its construction with the large sum of 30,000 crowns.
The complex - with a wall of 1150 meters, seven bastions and two doors - included several dwellings. Remaining examples of the sixteenth century constructions are: the captain's house, the troops dwellings, the stone well and the casemate bastion. The coat of arms of the Este family stands on the door. According to a popular legend, the fortress is connected via an underground tunnel to the Rocca Ariostesca in Castelnuovo, a secret passage that, in case of a siege of the town, would allow citizens to take refuge within the walls. The center of Castelnuovo can be reached through the Path of Ariosto, which, over the years, has been renamed as “lovers walk”.
After hosting the prisons in the XVIX century, it became, in the XIX century, the summer residence of the Italian - Scottish family of Bechelli, who transformed one of the buildings into a modern Art Nouveau building.
Today the Fortress of Mont'Alfonso is completely restored and is a true gateway to the beauty of the Garfagnana region, a symbol of History and of stories.
General view of the area inside the Fortress and some building
Surrounding wall of the Fortress with series of slits
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