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Villafranca in Lunigiana

Copyright © Municipality of Villafranca in Lunigiana
Villafranca in Lunigiana

Villafranca in Lunigiana (ZIP code 54028) is 46,7 kilometers far from Massa-Carrara, that is the Chief Town of the homonymous province to whom the municipality belongs.

Villafranca in Lunigiana has a population of 4.594 inhabitants (Villafranchesi) and a surface of 29,47 square kilometers thus showing a population density of 155,89 inhabitants per square kilometer. It rises 130 metres above the sea level.

The City Hall is located in Piazza Aeronautica, phone ++39 0187 - 49881, fax ++39 0187 - 493526: the E-Mail address is

Population: The municipality of Villafranca in Lunigiana had a popolation of 4.733 inhabitants accordingly to the results of the national census made in 1991. After the national census made in 2001 the population was 4.594 inhabitants, thus showing during the years 1991 - 2001 a percentual variation of -2,94% inhabitants.

The inhabitants are distributed in 1.964 families with an average of 2,34 people per family.

The place: The territory of the municipality lies between 75 and 720 metres above sea level.

The altimetric spawn is thus of 645 metres.

Copyright © Municipality of Villafranca in Lunigiana
Villafranca in Lunigiana

Work and workers:There are 124 industrial firms employing 513 people that are the 38,48% of the total of the workers. There are 154 service firms employing 310 people that are the 23,26% of the total of the workers. There are also 123 firms employing 330 people that are the 24,76% of the total of the workers. There are also 39 administrative offices emplying 180 workers that are the 13,50% of the total of the workers.

There is a total of 1.333 workers, that are the 29,02% of the inhabitants of the municipality.

Villafranca in Lunigiana rises in the Lunigiana area, extending along the left bank of the Magra river.

The local economy is mainly based on the production of cereals, grape, olives, fodders and on the activity of numerous chemical industries and other ones producing clothes.

The place name comes from the compound of "villa" (villa) and "franca", having this latter the meaning of "free from taxation", to which the specification "Lunigiana" was added to indicate the area along which the town rises.

The first settlements in the territory of Villafranca in Lunigiana go back to the age of the Ligurian Apuani, who built an imposing fortress in order to control the flourishing trading activity that took place along the close "Via Francigena".

Copyright © Editori dell'Acero
The Castle of Malgrate

During the Early Middle Ages the settlement continued to develop and since the XI-th century a second settlement started to form around a villa, being this latter under the jurisdiction of the close Saint Cassiano Parish, from which the first settlement depended too.

Since the beginning the village of Villafranca in Lunigiana, as showed by its toponym, was free by feudal ties, so to enjoy its municipal autonomy up to the XII-th century, when the Malaspina's powerful feudatories extended their influence on the whole territory of the Lunigiana.

During the first half of the next century the Malaspina's family was divided into two branches and the property of Villafranca in Lunigiana passed to Corrado dello Spino Secco, who gave the village as a marquisate to some local feudatories.

During the next centuries Villafranca in Lunigiana was invaded and devastated continually by the close locality that aimed to conquered its territory. Thus Villafranca in Lunigiana was subdued first to the Sforza's jurisdiction and then to the jurisdiction of the King of Spain.

Copyright © Municipality of Villafranca in Lunigiana
Church of San Francesco

At the beginning of the XIX-th century the territory was invaded by the French armmy leaded by Napoleone Bonaparte. When the French occupation ended in 1814, the territory of Villafranca in Lunigiana was divided into two parts and these later were assigned to the Dukedom of Modena and to the Dukedom of Parma.

Villafranca in Lunigiana reached its autonomy again just after 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 Villafranca in Lunigiana we point out here the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista (Saint John Baptist Church), the Chiesa di San Francesco (Saint Francis Church) and the Museo Etnografico della Lunigiana (Ethnographical Museum of the Lunigiana area).

Among the numerous celebrations periodically taking place in Villafranca in Lunigiana we remind the "Saint Nicholas' Bonfire" held yearly on December 5th in honour of the Patron Saint and during which, after a religious celebrations, a banquet takes place: some meat is grilled and ate by the participants, accompanied by the good local wine. At the end of the celebrations a firework takes places.