Fosdinovo is a lovely small town set high in the hills just inland from Sarzana
and the sea. Dominated by its restored 14th century Malaspina castle, the town
is built around the castle and the sunny west-facing escarpment from which
there are wonderful views to the sea and the island of Elba beyond. Until the
thirteenth century, the village was ruled by the Erberia family and the Bishops
of Luni, until the Malaspinas gained control in 1340. For many centuries, the
castle represented the political and military centre of the Malaspina family
until as recently as the early 19th century. In 1861 Fosdinovo was incorporated
into the province of Massa Carrara.
The earliest part of the castle dates from the middle of the fourteenth century
when it was built on the orders of Spinetta Malaspina who had understood the
importance of its strategic, political, and military position. From the fortress
it was possible to control Tuscany, Liguria, and Emilia Romagna. Subsequently
the castle was enlarged and transformed to a Baroque style with the adding
of the theatre and court chapel.
The fortress of Fosdinovo has been perfectly maintained and is open to visitors.
The castle also hosts concerts and exhibitions and it also houses a school
of trekking. During your trip to Fosdinovo also include a visit to the Church
of Saint Remigio. The church houses the important marble funeral monument of
Galeotto Malaspina, which, dates back to the fourteenth century.
Next to the church, you can find the Oratorio dei Bianchi (Oratory of the
Whites) that was destroyed at the beginning of the sixteenth century and rebuilt
during the seventeenth century. The building has a bright fašade in white marble
and houses a few prestigious works, such as the thirteenth-century wooden statue
representing Our Holy Lady, a nineteenth-century wooden sculpture that represents
the dead Jesus, and a nineteenth-century canvas of the Madonna and Child.
More recently the famous English travel writer Eric Newby and his wife Wanda
had a house close by; detailed in his book "A small place in Italy"
There are also one or two nice bars and restaurants in the town which is also
a very good base for a days walking in the area.