The Fortress of Mont’alfonso rises on the top of a hill overlooking the town of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, with a 360 ° view that ranges from the Apuan Alps, with the Panie group, to the ApenNine Tuscan-Emilian.
It was built on an pre-existing medieval village, and changed its name from Rocca di Monti to Fortress of Mont’Alfonso in honor of the visit to the construction site of Duke Alfonso II d’Este, who had finally accepted the requests of the inhabitants of Castelnuovo to have a safe haven in case of enemy attack.
The inhabitants contributed 30,000 scudi to the construction of the fortress designed by the Este architect Marco Antonio Pasi. The work began in 1579 and finished in just six years. Mont’Alfonso is the most advanced and most significant example of a fortified nucleus in the entire Serchio Valley thanks to its 1120 meters of surroundings walls, equipped with 7 bulwarks, known for its historical importance and the innovative military architectural solutions adopted. Inside the walls, the old houses of the ancient village of Monti were reused and several buildings were built to house the garrison, such as the “Quartiere del Maggiore”, the “Quartiere del Capitano”, a small foundry for the forging of weapons, warehouses, accommodation for the garrison, the tavern and other minor buildings.
At the end of the 19th century, it was sold to private individuals, and was converted into an agricultural farm which was then abandoned. Its ruins were purchased by the Province of Lucca in 1980, which once again made it available to visitors after important remodelling work on both the walls and buildings.
Today Mont’Alfonso is home to the offices of the Provincial Administration of Lucca and the Apuan Alps Park. It hosts permanent exhibitions, festivals and cultural occasions.