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Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Foto © Editori dell'Acero Santa Maria a Pacina

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana (ZIP code 55032) is 50,1 kilometers far from Lucca, that is the Chief Town of the homonymous province to whom the municipality belongs.

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana has a population of 6.061 inhabitants (Castelnuovesi) and a surface of 28,5 square kilometers thus showing a population density of 212,67 inhabitants per square kilometer. It rises 270 metres above the sea level.

The City Hall is located in Piazzetta Ariosto 1, phone ++39 0583 - 64481, fax ++39 0583 - 644133: the E-Mail address is

Population: The municipality of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana had a popolation of 6.309 inhabitants accordingly to the results of the national census made in 1991. After the national census made in 2001 the population was 6.061 inhabitants, thus showing during the years 1991 - 2001 a percentual variation of -3,93% inhabitants.

The inhabitants are distributed in 2.210 families with an average of 2,74 people per family.

The place: The territory of the municipality lies between 220 and 1.267 metres above sea level.

The altimetric spawn is thus of 1.047 metres.

Work and workers:There are 158 industrial firms employing 1.017 people that are the 28,89% of the total of the workers. There are 287 service firms employing 640 people that are the 18,18% of the total of the workers. There are also 295 firms employing 934 people that are the 26,53% of the total of the workers. There are also 38 administrative offices emplying 929 workers that are the 26,39% of the total of the workers.

There is a total of 3.520 workers, that are the 58,08% of the inhabitants of the municipality.

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana rises at the confluence of the Serchio river and the Turrite Secca river, close to the intersection among the roads passing through the Appennino and the Apuane Alps.

The local economy is mainly based on the produtcion of cereals and on the activity of numerous chemical and textile industries.

The place name comes from the compound of "Castelnuovo", with reference to a castle built after a previous one, and of "Garfagnana", coming this latter from the Latin proper name of person "Carfanius", to which the suffix "-ana" was added to indicate possession.

The locality is quoted for the first time in an official document dating back to the VIII-th century with the name of "Castro Novo" (new fortified settlement).

From the XIII-th century Castelnuovo di Garfagnana developed as a market thanks to its close position to rivers along which important trading activities took place.

The real consolidation of the village occurred during the XIV-th century under the jurisdiction of the powerful city of Lucca.

Since 1316 the control of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana was gave to Castruccio Castracani, who made a bridge built in order to join the castle to the village.

At the beginning of the XV-th century the inhabitants of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana rebelled to the domination of Lucca, putting themselves in 1430 under the protection of the Estensi's family, whose members were the Lords of Ferrara.

Under the Estensi's control, the village of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana got a great importance by becoming first seat of Vicarship and then by building imposing religious buildings like the actual Cathedral.

In 1512 the town was occupied by the troops leaded by Francesco della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, and few years later it was conquered by the Republic of Florence, holding this latter the control of the town just for few years.

In the next years the Estensi came again to the power and their domination lasted up to the invasion of the territory by the French army leaded by Napoleone Bonaparte.

During the French domination, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana entered the Cisalpine Republic, including this latter the territories of the Apuane Alps.

After the collapse of the Napoleonic Empire, in 1814 Castelnuovo di Garfagnana came back again to the Estensi who governed up to the Unity of Italy occurred on 1861 by the action of the King Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoia.

Among the most important monuments to see in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana we point out here the Duomo (Cathedral), the Convento dei Cappuccini (Capuchins' Convent), the Rocca Estense (Estensi's Fortress) and the Castello di San Nicolao (Saint Nicholas Castle).

Among the several celebrations periodically taking place in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana we remind here the traditional "Befanate" held yearly on Epiphany night. The "Befanate" are ancient popular songs that some groups of musicians go and sing through the urban streets.