Photo of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Visit Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is a pleasant market town in the pretty Garfagnana area of northern Tuscany.

The town is located at the confluence of two rivers, the Serchio and the Turrite Secca, and close to roads crossing both the Apennine mountains and the Apuane Alps leading it to grow as a trading centre from the 13th century onwards.

It is a pleasant town and a useful base if you are spending a relaxing holiday exploring the quiet and relatively undiscovered Garfagnana area of Tuscany. With steep hills, forests, rivers and quiet, traditional visits to explore the area is a great place for walkers and cyclists to explore.

Explore Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Although its origins are earlier, the town really expanded as a market town in the 13th century and its ring of defensive walls was expanded in the 14th century. The old town is entered through these defensive walls and a large stone gateway next to its castle. Once through the gateway you can enjoy a pleasant stroll through the quiet streets.

One of the main sights in Castelnuovo de Garfagnana is its castle which was built in the 11th century then expanded and adapted over the following centuries. In the 15th century Castelnuovo became the provincial capital and the castle became the seat of government and was adapted for this function. One of the governors was the poet Ludovico Ariosto after whom the castle is named, 'Rocco Ariostesca' or 'Arisosto's Castle'.

The castle, along with the town, was severely damaged during the Second World War. It is now an archaeological museum.


The Saint Peter and Saint Paul cathedral was built in the 16th century on the site of an earlier cathedral. Inside the cathedral there is an altar-piece by San Giuseppe and a glazed terracotta artwork attributed to Andrea del Verrocchio.

Also to see is the 17th century San Giuseppe convent and the Monte Alfonse fortress. The fortress is built on a hill just outside Castelnuovo. Military buildings stand inside a ring of defensive walls and there is a pleasant walk around the outside of the wall.

Market day continues to be important to the town and is every Thursday morning. Apparently its importance was such that at one time no arrests were allowed on a Thursday so as not to disturb the market trade! It is now the best day to see the town and enjoy the colour of the market stalls spread out in the old town.

Defensive walls and gateway of Castelnuovo di Gargagnana

Places to visit nearby

There are pretty walks from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to the surrounding villages which walkers will enjoy.

Barga is a beautiful little town that you must visit if you are in the area. Not only is the medieval town beautiful in itself it also offers some fabulous views over the Garfagnana countryside.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Lucca guide, and the Tuscany guide.

See also Find Castelnuovo di Garfagnana hotels

Photos of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

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Map of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and places to visit


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