Castelnuovo is the capital and the heart of the Garfagnana. Easily reachable both from Lucca and Versilia both around 45 km away, it is among the principal tourist attractions of the valley. Rich in historical monuments and business activities it is a fundamental stop for visitors wanting to spend a vacation or even just a day in Garfagnana.
Piazza Umberto I, dominated by the Ariostesca Fortress, makes up the center of the village. Lots of streets and lanes branch out from here, all full of commercial activities of every kind, and one of these streets leads to the historical center, where some important monuments such as the Cathedral of St. Pietro, the Ariostesca Fortress and the Town Hall are situated. Just outside the center, in the suburb of Santa Lucia, is the Alfieri Theater: completed in 1860, it is one of the most important theaters of Tuscany and it today re-opened after a long period of being closed.
About 2 km from the center is the Mount Alfonso Fortress, an ancient Estense fortress built in the late 1500s to protect the borders of the Ducato di Ferrara (Ferrara Dukedom) which is deserving of a visit. Owned by the Province of Lucca, which had it restructured, it represents a historical monument of primary importance.
The people go by their every day ways in spite of some tourists wandering through. IN October there were not many. You can park down toward the lower section and walk into the old part of town. Otherwise parking is hard to find and prohibited in areas.
Up in the pinnacle of the hills stands this town. it is a pleasant ride to get to this destination. The 19th, or maybe 20th turn makes a person wonder if there really is a town up there. Then it opens into a wide valley and climbing the crest of a hill, the town sits.
It is best to find a parking spot at the bottom of the village. There is a grocery store and shops. Behind there is a public lot. Other spaces are in near area. To drive into the town would be confining, to say the least. This is close to the tourist office, wher maps can be obtained.
Try to see this little village to get the flavor for the "untouched tourism impact". It is all made up of local residents, and most are old. The younger apparently moved out for better ventures. It is on the way up to Garfanagna and a very winding road to get to the top. The views were great, and homes built on the side of the hills. The village has only about 1,000 people, and park at the bottom and walk up. There are around 10 spots at bottom.
It is about 20 km south of Garfagnana and off the main strada 12 across the Serchio and up a winding road. The side tirp is worth it, though.