The Rocca (Fortress) of Ceserana in the Garfagnana

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The Rocca (Fortress) of Ceserana in the Garfagnana

Rocca di Ceserana

The Rocca (Fortress) of Ceserana in the Garfagnana

The Church of Sant'Andrea in the Rocca of Ceserana in the Garfagnana
The Church of Sant’Andrea in the Rocca of Ceserana in the Garfagnana




The Rocca di Ceserana is located in Garfagnana (Province of Lucca) on a hill on the left bank of the Serchio river. Inside it is an attractive Romanesque church dedicated to Sant’Andrea. An early reference to this church is found in a papal bull by Pope Alexander III dated 1168. The church, despite having undergone several restorations and renovations over the centuries, has kept much of its original appearance intact. Its architecture is characterised by the refinement of execution in the hanging arches that run along all the elevations and in the stone blocks mounted in regular rows. The building has kept its ancient planimetric form with an unchanged single nave, and the gabled façade is almost entirely original. Around the apse, there are early mediaeval motifs of Arabic inspiration and examples of excellent workmanship in the shelves that support the hanging arches interspersed with pilasters. The bell tower, abutting the church on the north side, was built on the scarp base of the watchtower which was part of the fortified system of the ancient Este fortress in which the church is situated.

The origin of the fort itself is mediaeval. During the war events that occurred in the 13 C and the 14 C, it was an important garrison on the left bank of the Serchio. The structure has almost vertical walls built with river stone, a walkway for the patrol, with small defensive slits for small-caliber firearms, which runs almost entirely along the walls and is closed by two towers placed to guard the entrance to the village and the hills overlooking the town.
The current structure, however, is the result of a 15 C intervention in which this village made an act of dedication to the Este family. In particular, it is in the period between 1467 and 1474 that there were structural changes to the Rocca, to meet the new defensive needs due on the one hand to the introduction of firearms and on the other to the proximity to the border line between the new Este territories and the Lucca domains.
During the 1500s the Rocca was abandoned and chosen by a band of brigands as a base for raids beyond the border while in 1614, due to the conflicts between Lucca and Modena, a conservative intervention was required as it was in poor condition , assigned to the military architect Pasio Pasi, a project which, however, was not completely completed due to the cessation of belligerence by Lupinaia.

Church of Sant'Andrea in the remians of the Rocca of Ceserana
Church of Sant’Andrea in the remians of the Rocca of Ceserana
Apse of the Church of Sant'Andrea in Ceserana
Apse of the Church of Sant’Andrea in Ceserana
Apse of the Church of Sant'Andrea at Ceserana
Apse decoration of the Church of Sant’Andrea at Ceserana