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Villafranca in Lunigiana

 

“Contribuì generosamente alla guerra di liberazione con la partecipazione di molti suoi giovani ai primi nuclei partigiani, offrendo splendido esempio di spirito di sacrificio ed elette virtù civiche.” (1940 – 1945)

e io vi giuro, s’io di sopra vada,
che vostra gente onrata non si sfregia
del pregio de la borsa e de la spada:
uso e natura sì la privilegia
che, perché il capo reo il mondo torca,
sola va dritta e ’l mal cammin dispregia.
(Pur VIII 127-132)

Following the division of the Malaspina family by Corrado Malaspina the Old in 1221 also Villafranca, together with Mulazzo and Giovagallo was part of the Ghibelline line of the Spino Secco. The land became a marquisate after a later division operated by the children of the Old in 1266.

The castle of Malnido, a distinctive structure on a rock where Bagnone and Magra rivers meet was almost integral up to the time of the bombing of WWII. There are now only sad ruins and we hope we shall be able to restore, at least partly.

Villafranca like Pontremoli and Sarzana developed along the Via Francigena (already mentioned in Sigerico’s itinerary date 990) as crossed in a straight line.

In 1294 Corrado II the Young to distinguish him from the the Old, as Dante wrote, died prematurely and his children did not posess a full political ability, so true that Franceschino from Mulazzo signed also for them the power of attorney for the agreement (Peace of Castelnuovo) on 6th October 1306.

Canto VIII of the Purgatory, geared on the figure of the marquis of Villafranca, is defined by Centro Lunigianese di Studi Danteschi as the Canto Lunigianese by excellence. The famous conversation between Dante and Corrado in the Antipurgatory ended with a superb praise on behalf of the poet to the whole Ghibelline branch of the Malaspina.

Also Boccaccio was fascinated by the stories of the court in Villafranca and as a great seeker of memories for his Trattatello in laude di Dante (treatise in praise of Dante) he wanted to honour Corrado the Young by placing him and his daughter Spina as protagonists in one of the longest stories of his Decamerone.

We know that Corrado freed Sarzana twice from the attempt of dominion by Pisa but there are no documents to confirm this. During two campaigns he met Nino Visconti, enemy in life and expiation fellow in the Purgatory. A recent study seems to assume a likely relationship between the marquis of Villafranca and Nino Visconti through Nino’s daughter Giovanna (recalled by her father in Purgatory VIII, 70-72). It is said she should have got married to Corradino di Villafranca mentioned in the Act of Peace of Castelnuovo. Corrado was at fist in the fight against the bishop-count of Luni, but later we find him in the attempt to reach a lasting peace.

On 8th May 1281 in Orvieto an arbitration award freed him from an excommunication for the return to the curia of the territories usurped by the wicked Enrico da Fucecchio.

The remains of Corrado are probably in the crypt of the small Malaspina church of San Nicolò in Malnido (Villafranca) recently uncovered in an archeological excavation.

In 1285 Moroello II  sister – vapour of Val di Magra married by proxy the son of the count of Donoratico,  a sad protagonist in Inferno XXXIII.

The event, supported by a historical document, testifies the important ties of the Malaspina with the powerful Gherardesca family.

The sacred site of Malnido has now a park called Parco Didattico Dantesco, with a valuable monument to Dante Alighieri.

e io vi giuro, s’io di sopra vada,
che vostra gente onrata non si sfregia
del pregio de la borsa e de la spada:
uso e natura sì la privilegia
che, perché il capo reo il mondo torca,
sola va dritta e ’l mal cammin dispregia.
(Pur VIII 127-132)

Following the division of the Malaspina family by Corrado Malaspina the Old in 1221 also Villafranca, together with Mulazzo and Giovagallo was part of the Ghibelline line of the Spino Secco. The land became a marquisate after a later division operated by the children of the Old in 1266.
The castle of Malnido, a distinctive structure on a rock where Bagnone and Magra rivers meet was almost integral up to the time of the bombing of WWII. There are now only sad ruins and we hope we shall be able to restore, at least partly.
Villafranca like Pontremoli and Sarzana developed along the Via Francigena (already mentioned in Sigerico’s itinerary date 990) as crossed in a straight line.

Villafranca in Lunigiana

In 1294 Corrado II the Young to distinguish him from the the Old, as Dante wrote, died prematurely and his children did not posess a full political ability, so true that Franceschino from Mulazzo signed also for them the power of attorney for the agreement (Peace of Castelnuovo) on 6th October 1306.

Canto VIII of the Purgatory, geared on the figure of the marquis of Villafranca, is defined by Centro Lunigianese di Studi Danteschi as the Canto Lunigianese by excellence. The famous conversation between Dante and Corrado in the Antipurgatory ended with a superb praise on behalf of the poet to the whole Ghibelline branch of the Malaspina.

Also Boccaccio was fascinated by the stories of the court in Villafranca and as a great seeker of memories for his Trattatello in laude di Dante (treatise in praise of Dante) he wanted to honour Corrado the Young by placing him and his daughter Spina as protagonists in one of the longest stories of his Decamerone.

We know that Corrado freed Sarzana twice from the attempt of dominion by Pisa but there are no documents to confirm this. During two campaigns he met Nino Visconti, enemy in life and expiation fellow in the Purgatory. A recent study seems to assume a likely relationship between the marquis of Villafranca and Nino Visconti through Nino’s daughter Giovanna (recalled by her father in Purgatory VIII, 70-72). It is said she should have got married to Corradino di Villafranca mentioned in the Act of Peace of Castelnuovo. Corrado was at fist in the fight against the bishop-count of Luni, but later we find him in the attempt to reach a lasting peace.

On 8th May 1281 in Orvieto an arbitration award freed him from an excommunication for the return to the curia of the territories usurped by the wicked Enrico da Fucecchio.

The remains of Corrado are probably in the crypt of the small Malaspina church of San Nicolò in Malnido (Villafranca) recently uncovered in an archeological excavation.

In 1285 Moroello II  sister – vapour of Val di Magra married by proxy the son of the count of Donoratico,  a sad protagonist in Inferno XXXIII.

The event, supported by a historical document, testifies the important ties of the Malaspina with the powerful Gherardesca family.

The sacred site of Malnido has now a park called Parco Didattico Dantesco, with a valuable monument to Dante Alighieri.

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