"Castellaccio" of Montealtissimo

The "Castellaccio" of Montealtissimo extends over a low hill at the confluence of the slopes between Montealtissimo and Monterotondo, about halfway between Cascio and Monteperpoli. From this hill it was possible to see some of the castles in the Valle del Serchio, such as those of Fiattone, Castelvecchio di Barga, Barga and Mologno.
Not far from the site there is the church of Santa Maria Maddalena, which in mediaeval times was attached to a convent of nuns and a hospital used as a shelter for travellers crossing the mountain areas.
Not far from the village, there is the Church of Saints Lorenzo and Stefano, which appears in the documentation of Lucca from the tenth century and is also recorded in the Appraisal the Diocese of Lucca (1260) and in the registers dedicated to collection of tithes for the year 1387 as one of the chapels that depended on the "Plebs de Fosciana".
A quadrangular tower, against which a walled circuit rested, is located at the north-west point of the village; only some sections of the wall remain.

Historical notes

The area was initially a fief of the Porcaresi until, during the twelfth century, it passed into the hands of the Suffredinghi by virtue of the bonds of marriage contracts between the two families. From the second quarter of the thirteenth century, the village was one of those directly controlled by the city of Lucca, as shown by the presence of the village as one of the municipalities that were to attend the procession of the Holy Cross to demonstrate their submission to Lucca.
It is not clear when the area was fortified, but in 1376 there must have been a fortress in the centre because it is referred to as "castrum" in the Golden Bull issued by Emperor Charles IV of Bohemia in favour of the state of Lucca.
Some scholars believe that this military building was destroyed during the fifteenth century, because it no longer appears in any subsequent documents.


"Castellaccio" of Montealtissimo, remains of the walls
"Castellaccio" of Montealtissimo, remains of the walls detail