The castle of Piagnaro was built at the beginning of the eleventh century. The fortress had functions of defense and control of the communications routes to the Apennines, including the Via Francigena. It was destroyed several times by imperial troops and by the same inhabitants of Pontremoli for internal discords. It was repeatedly rebuilt for its strategic position. The castle allowed to dominate the mountain passes of Bratello and Cisa, of fundamental importance for the medieval commercial routes. Over the centuries, the fortress undergoes continuous attacks with consequent reconstructions, together with restoration, reconstruction and updating of the defensive structure.
The castle, however, is used for military purposes until 1790, when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo, handed over the last cannon to the Commune to merge the bronze and create the civic bell. In the following years it was used as seat of military governors and again as barracks until the early years of the Kingdom of Italy, then until the second half of the nineteenth century, after which it was used as a home for poor families. In the early twentieth century it is considered a sort of ghetto, avoided by most of the population and only from 1975 the rooms on the ground level host the Museum of the Stele Statues of Lunigiana. On the museum’s opening, the castle has been completely restored inside and out.
The castel of Piagnaro is included into “Water and Stone of Lunigiana” experience.