Piagnaro Castle

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The Piagnaro Castle, poised atop the hill dominating the northern approach to the town of Pontremoli, arose in order to control the cross-roads which, traversing Mount Bardone, provided the link between the Po Valley, to the south-east.  The original fortress, whose construction probably dates back to between the 9th and 10th centuries, was still quite functional in 1167, when it was used to repel the advancing army of Federico I. 

Today, however, little remains of the original structure.  What is clearly visible, instead, is the centralized system of fortification, known to have been constructed in the 13th century (and which local tradition attributes to King Enzo in 1247).  Its defensive system hinges upon the massive semicircular keep, access to which is furnished by an independent entrance. 

The central figure of the Piagnaro Castle's rather complicated history has always been the nearby walled town of Pontremoli, for which the castle maintained its role as armed sentinel, during the course of the 15th to 18th centuries.  The fortress was renovated, remodeled and enlarged numerous times, as can be seen from its current arrangement.  Still today it resembles, rather than a true castle, a fortress, which it has in fact been considered since 1650.