Why are there so many castles in Lunigiana?

A view of part of our inspiring landscape by Ciao Lunigiana

A view of part of our inspiring landscape by Ciao Lunigiana

One of the characteristics of Lunigiana, the beautiful area of Tuscany, Italy, that surrounds The Watermill is the ancient castle to be seen everywhere: perched on hilltops, commanding passes through the mountains, dominating walled towns.

We go to paint one of them, the castle of the Counts of Malaspina at nearby Verrucola on a location excursion during our painting holidays.

VerrucOLA CASTLE AND BRIDGE

But why are there so many of them: some 160 within Lunigiana’s (rather indistinct) boundaries? I am grateful to James Martin, a writer, photographer and blogger, who’s been living part-time in Lunigiana) and writes about the experience at Wandering Italy and on the Wandering Italy Blog. Please click on the names to see them.

James says: “The sheer number of small castles comes about from a rather odd deviation in medieval inheritance practices. The long-ruling Malaspina family chose to pass wealth to all male heirs rather than subscribe to the more common practice of funnelling everything to the eldest male. This, in short, led to numerous smaller castles rather than a few powerfully large ones, and this distribution of power meant lower “taxes” for passage between territories, and thus cheaper and less dangerous access to the major port of La Spezia for traders coming from outside the region. The big boys liked this set of conditions, so the Lunigiana was protected from stronger forces by a happy equilibrium; everyone protected the poor Lunigiana from everyone else because you didn’t have to battle for passage.”

Sound like a good policy to me!

Here’s another castle you’ll see during your week at the mill. This one is called L’Aquila, The Eagle.

Aquila castle

So come and join us – and paint a castle or two. We’d love to welcome you on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled courses next year.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

Mike Willdridge’s sketch of the castle of Verrucola, where we go to paint on Mondays

If you book before 31 December 2015 there’s a £75 per person discount on each of our fabulous 2016 painting holidays. Courses are filling fast (some 90 places already taken), so now is the time to book – and receive the Early Bird bonus.

Here’s the full list of our inspiring 2016 painting tutors, with links to more details about them – and  more of their stunning pictures. .

 Painting by Janie Pirie, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.14 May to 21 May 2016

Janie Pirie Painting plants with coloured pencils.

Please click here to learn more about Janie, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

Sarah lisianthus4 June to 11 June 2016 and 11 June to 18 June 2016

Sarah Yeoman Watercolours

Please click here to learn more about Sarah, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

Painting by Sandra Strohshein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.18 June to 25 June 2016

Sandra Strohschein Watercolours

Please click here to learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.25 June to 2 July 2016

Lea Nixon Watercolours

Please click here to learn more about Lea, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

Painting by Terry Jarvis, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.2 July to 9 July 2016

Terry Jarvis Watercolours

Please click here to learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.9 July to 16 July 2016

Amanda Brett Watercolours

Please click here to learn more about Amanda, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

KeithHornblower_Venice-GrandCanalFromTheRialto28x38cm13 August to 20 August 2016

Keith Hornblower Watercolours

Please click here to learn more about Keith, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

27 August to 3 September 2016

Mike Willdridge Watercolours, oils and acrylics, drawing, sketching

Please click here to learn more about Mike, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

Painting by Sarah Spencer, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.3 September to 10 September 2016

Sarah Spencer Oils and acrylics, drawing

Please click here to learn more about Sarah, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

Painting by Lisa Fu, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.24 September to 1 October 2016

Lisa Fu Watercolours

Please click here to learn more about Lisa, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.1 October to 8 October 2016

Lea Nixon Watercolours

Please click here to learn more about Lea, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

David Lucca anfiteatro8 October to 15 October 2016

David Taylor Watercolours

Please click here to learn more about David, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

*** Why not bring your non-painting partner as well? There’s a generous £200 discount for him/her if they share a room with you  — and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities suggestions by clicking here.

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