Castelnuovo was established in the first half of the eleventh century over the ruins of the city of Luni, and was built to control and guarantee transit along the Via Romea and became the fortified site of the Bishop Counts of Luni. After centuries of fighting with the Malaspina family, the fiefdom finally passed into the hands of the curia in the fourteenth century, which built the castle to celebrate its victory over the secular forces.
Via Dante in the centre, with buildings dating back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, opens out onto the square of the episcopal castle. The Turris Magna bears witness to the defensive system of the town. The old town and parish church of Santa Maria Maddalena, which is home to paintings by renowned artists. The seventeenth-century building housing the Municipality.
What to do
Along the sharp bends leading up to the village, you will come across many vineyards which can be visited, and where you can taste and purchase fine local D.O.C. (Controlled Denomination of Origin) wines. A 5 minute drive away lie the villages of Nicola and Ortonovo, which maintain the same medieval charm as Castelnuovo.
Here more than in other places, the fine, wholesome homemade food features authentic flavours. The ravioli (stuffed pasta) and vegetable tarts are made using age-old ingredients such as borage: the result is dishes with an unforgettable flavour. In the centre of Castelnuovo, a municipal wine bar has been established bearing witness to a love of the land and the vineyards; a visit will reveal all the secrets of the local wines.
The gentle, farmed hilly landscape and the mild climate have led to the area becoming known as "Colline del Sole", or "Sunshine Hills".
How to get there
From Sarzana following the Via Aurelia road towards Pisa, around 20 minutes, or by bus from the terminus.