The castle’s current appearance is the result of an array of renovation works that modified its structure throughout the centuries. Historically, the complex had great strategic importance due to its vicinity to the sea, allowing control of the entire coast line from the Gulf of La Spezia to Livorno and command of the underlying Via Francigena.
During the Middle Ages, the Aghinolfi castle was an object of contention, leading to century-long battles involving the communities of Lucca and Pisa, the bishops of Luni, the Malaspina family and their relatives, the Massa Marquises. Written accounts testify to the fortress’ existence during early medieval times: a parchment dated 753 – authentic in its contents though a replica of the original document – mentions an olive grove located near the “castellum Aginulfi”.
Surrounded by a wide perimeter of defensive walls built after the Middle Ages, the fortress presents a complex internal structure made up by a residential area, the ancient hamlet, and the more specifically defensive portion comprising the keep. A glass floor-panel within the imposing octagonal keep reveals evidence of the various stages of the castle’s construction, including the foundations of an ancient tower dating back to the 8th-9yh centuries. The most important artefacts recovered on the site are on display for the public’s benefit, each positioned upon the corresponding archaeological stratum. Outside, the walled perimeter surrounds an archaeological park where the relics of structures once used as shelters by the population can still be seen. Many educational activities are available to learn more about the Museum and the area’s history, targeting both local and visiting school-groups as well as independent groups and families. Exhibitions, concerts, food and wine-themed events and other varying activities are also frequently organised and promoted on the museum’s website, www.istitutovalorizzazionecastelli.it. A refreshment area is also open during the spring and summer months, offering samples of local foods and product