A walk in the historic center of the village of Castelnovo Monti to discover the history that has interested him since the beginning of the XII century.
Built at the foot of the hill, the present pine forest of Monte Castello, where a defensive fortress was erected in the Canossian historical phase, it gained importance from 1100, when Matilde donated it to the abbot of Canossa, because it was located in a strategic commercial node on the road from Reggio Emilia to the Tyrrhenian sea and along the equally ancient road network from Parma to Lucca.
Legend has it that “the first inhabitant of Castelnovo Monti was a trader from Sassalbo, who opened a shop there”
The visit can start from “Cantun Grisun“, from where along Via al Castello (della Simmia) you reach Piazzetta della Luna, where the Antica Locanda della Luna once stood, then demolished, which was located where the flowerbed between the two is currently located stairways. The name recalls the commercial ties that, starting from the early Canossian years, existed between Castelnovo Monti and the port of Luni, on the Tyrrhenian coast.
Traveled along Via Al Castello (at the branch for Vicolo Costole which leads to the tower of Monte Castello), after a small sloping hairpin bend, go down a narrow alley in Piazza Unità (formerly Piazza del Mercato delle Granaglie or Maggiore). Palazzo Monzani overlooks this square, where the electoral rallies took place, where Cirillo (1823-1889), a member of Parliament of the Kingdom for nine legislatures, and his brother Feliciano who was mayor of Castelnovo Monti lived.
Giuseppe Garibaldi stopped in that building on May 24, 1869.
At the corner of the square there is also Palazzo Cavallotti, who was a volunteer from Garibaldi, although his fame is today much lower than that of Mazzini and Garibaldi among the general public, at the time he was considered among the first political heirs of the two protagonists of the Risorgimento
Going down the staircase you reach Porta Martana, one of the three gates of the village, where via Carlo Franceschini begins, which forms the central longitudinal axis of the ancient area of the town with the above Via Vittorio Veneto. The first was the main access to the Val D’Enza, while the second was the commercial and accommodation center of the ancient nucleus.
From Vicolo Costole instead, which leads from the end of via Al Castello towards the mountain, you reach the Galiota (number 5), the old prison, and continuing crossing the path that leads to the above Monte Castello, where the remains of the Rocca erected by the 1062 to 1110 and then donated by Matilde to the Canossa Monastery, which has long been the seat of the local civic authorities. Only from the 16th century was it gradually abandoned. The coniferous roof dates back to a century ago.
Continuing the walk beyond the Voltone you arrive in Piazza 1 ° Maggio (formerly Dell’Arengo or D’Armi or Dei Fiori), which was an extra-castle village born as << “arrengheria ante portam” or “threshing floor of the community“, where the crowd gathered for the promulgation of the cries or the summons of the evildoers to trial >>
Sources: “A walk in the historical center of Castelnovo Monti” – Dallagiacoma, Lamedica, Casoli