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Villafranca in Lunigiana

Description

Villafranca extends along the low valley of the Magra river, along the ancient Via Francigena. The place name derives from the compound of "villa" and "franca", having this latter the meaning of "free from taxation".
The village developed during the XI century and sice the beginning it was free by feudal ties, so to enjoy its municipal autonomy up to the XII-th century, when the Malaspina's powerful feudatories extended their influence on the whole territory of the Lunigiana.
Many remains of fortifications are still visible there, such as the Malnido castle, destroyed during the Second World War, the Malgrate castle and the Virgoletta one.
The church of Santa Maria Assunta was realised in the XII century along the Via Francigena, near a hospidal depending from the destroyed abbey of Linari.
The XI century Church of San Francesco and the Romanesque style small church of San Lorenzo are interesting too.
We also suggest to visit the Ethographical Museum of Lunigiana, housed in the buildingd of the XIV century mills, with agricultural and shepherds' equipment and craft tools, object of common, personal and domenstic use, magic-protective and religious objects from the territory, organized by themes and productive cycles.

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