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Montecarlo's Castle

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  • Montecarlo's Castle :
Just over 150 m a.s.l., on the Cerruglio hill, Montecarlo overlooks Valdinievole on one side and the Piana di Lucca on the other. In this area, today covered with vineyards, the fate of Lucca and Mons. Carolis himself was decided at the turn of the XIV century.
Aristocratic Montecarlo is dominated by a fortress culminating in the triangular rocca at the top of the hill and its central donjon.
State of preservation
The fortress ended in 1775 its military function and was abandoned and sold to privates. Important restoration works were realized by the current owners: the “Maschio” (donjon) and the “Torre dell'Apparizione” (Tower of the apparition), which are part of the fourteenth-century three-towered Rocca del Cerruglio, and the Fortezza Medicea (Fortress of the Medici). The exhibition halls, also recently restored, host exhibitions and cultural and wine-gastronomic events.
The fortress is open from May till October, Saturday and Sunday from 16 till 19.30. In the other days and from November till April visits are possible only for groups by appointment. Admission: 5 Euro, 8 Euro with guided tour (also in English and French). Information: 0583 22401 - fortezzadimontecarlo@virgilio.it.
Since the Xth century the hill of Montecarlo was home to one of the many feudal families that controlled the territories of the Plain and of Versilia. In the fourteenth century Castruccio Castracani, ruler of Lucca, reinforced the existing fortified structure with the intention of installing his headquarters in the new rocca. The intervention of Charles of Bohemia, sent by his father king John to support Lucca against Pisa first and Florence later, had its consequences on the future of Montecarlo. In 1332 when the Florentines destroyed the neighbouring village of Vivinaia and its inhabitants took shelter on the hill at the foot of the Cerruglio fortress, Charles ordered to build a new fortification on the site. Considering its strategic position the prince of Bohemia didn't hesitate to build a proper castle enclosing the whole village within its walls and called it Montecarlo in his memory. After being controlled by Paolo Guinigi of Lucca at the beginning of fifteenth century, Montecarlo passed under the Florentines and with the accession of the Medici the fortress was modified in its structure. Dismantled in the eighteenth century according to the wishes of the Lorena dynasty, in time the fortress passed into private hands.
 
Motorway Firenze-Mare, exit Altopascio or Chiesina Uzzanese.
By rail: Firenze-Lucca line, Altopascio or Pescia station.

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