” Del gran padre Alighier ti risovvenga,
Quando, ramingo dalla patria e caldo
D’ira e di bile ghibellina il petto,
Per l’itale vagò guaste contrade
Fuggendo il vincitor guelfo crudele,
Simile ad uom che va di porta in porta
Accattando la vita. “
Licciana Nardi is a town full of history. The district of Monti, where a beautiful castle stands on the hill, was once known as Venelia, a toponym of clear Ligurian-Apuan origin. The ancient centre was situated on a large plain where, unsurprisingly, a large group of statues menhir of Lunigiana was found. The phenomenon of these megalithic monuments began in the Copper Age.
The Middle Ages were glorious times as well, if it is true that Terrarossa coincides with the Rubra mentioned together with Pulica and Bibola in the Cosmography by the Anonymous from Ravenna, a geographer of the Byzantine era. Here, the splendid castle, which has always guarded the Via Francigena, still exerts its authority.
A third castle, precisely the Bastia castle, is said to belong to the Renaissance era even though its real origins have to be much more ancient, given that it was built on a high location to protect Licciana. One of the most famous stories linked to the castle (one of the most beautiful examples in the entire Lunigiana) is that of Annetta Malaspina, an incredibly charming woman whose beauty definitely had an impact on neoclassical poet Vincenzo Monti, who dedicated a poem of 130 verses to her (“Alla marchesa Anna Malaspina della Bastia”, “To the Marchioness Anna Malaspina of Bastia”, 1891). This noblewoman, who was married to Giovanni Malaspina, Marquis of Mulazzo, drew the attention of the court of Parma and, as a consequence, she was sent on a diplomatic mission to the court of France to win the attention of Louis XV. The cumbersome presence of a court lady like Madame Pompadour caused the plan to fail; however, this Parisian stay resulted in Annetta building a reputation of being a feisty woman as well as in a pension granted to her directly by the French court.
In the following Risorgimento era, in the mountain area of Lunigiana that includes the ancient Malpasso pass, today’s Lagastrello Pass, Anacarsi Nardi (1800-1844) was born. Born in the hamlet of Apella, above Tavernelle, this hero achieved glory in Corfù, following the unfortunate campaign led by the Bandiera Brothers. The splendid funeral monument, located in the historic centre of Licciana thanks to the masterful artistry of sculptor Angiolo del Santo from La Spezia, is a true masterpiece. In 1933, the surname of the patriot was added to the name of the municipality in his honour.
We should absolutely mention another great exponent of Italian patriotism who was born precisely in Licciana: Alceste De Ambris (1874-1934). He was the author of the Charter of Carnaro, the Constitution of Rijeka desired by d’Annunzio that greatly inspired the Constituent Fathers of the Republic. A crucial figure.