The fortified village of Castello di Serravalle has ancient origins and still retains all its medieval charm intact today. Formed in defense of the exarchate of Ravenna against the barbarian invasions and razed to the ground by the Lombards in the eighth century. due to its strategic-military position, the village was rebuilt in the Middle Ages on the Roman foundations. In the 19th century he gave asylum to Charlemagne, on his way to Rome. Until 1109, a fiefdom of Matilde di Canossa, it was then bitterly disputed between the Ghibelline Modena and the Guelph Bologna. The dispute culminated in the battle of Zappolino, which saw the Bolognese defeated with over three thousand dead and as many prisoners.
Of the ancient fortification that gives the town its name, you can still admire the medieval entrance and the tower dating back to 1523, while the stately building, entirely built in terracotta close to the tower, has an eighteenth-century shape. The castle, adapted as a noble residence around the 16th century, was owned by the noble Boccadiferro family until the end of the 19th century. In the suggestive entrance hall, a sandstone bas-relief depicts the knight Iacopino from San Lorenzo in Collina, the famous Captain of the Mountain. The castle does not lack a touch of mystery. The souls of the cruel Boccadiferro’s wives still roam in the fortress: on May nights their ghosts go out to seek revenge, spreading a mysterious perfume in the village, while in the castle tower still echo the laments of Boccadiferro, in turn killed by the thirteenth and smarter wife. In the heart of the village, the thirteenth-century town hall was the seat of the magistracy of the Captain of the Western Mountain. Today it consists of a sixteenth-century bell tower and a beautiful loggia which leads to the Ecomuseum of the Hill and Wine.
The beautiful grandeur and secrets of the castle of Serravalle inspired in 1920 the composer from Lucca Gaetano Luporini (1865-1948), who set to music the opera entitled Love and death set right in the castle, with a libretto by Giuseppe Lipparini.
In the surroundings, just 2 km from the castle, the church of Sant’Apollinare is worth a stop, with frescoes by Guardassoni and Samoggia, which stands in the center of an enchanting plain surrounded by vineyards, which has always been a characteristic element of the valley’s territory. A destination for excursions on foot or by mountain bike are the badlands in the area between Castelletto, Bersagliera, Maiola and Tiola. Do not miss the itinerary of the tower-houses, rural stone nuclei characterized by the architectural element of the tower, whose role has been converted over time from defensive to productive functions (dovecote). The Case Rosse (15th and 16th century) and Case Bertù (16th century) in Zappolino, Casa Moretti (16th century) in Ponzano and the villages of Gavazzano, Tintoria and Cuzzano, along the Via Valle del Samoggia.