In the hills behind the village of Benabbio lie the ruins of Castle Benabbio. One afternoon, we took a walk to the top of the village and found the path that would take us there.
There were intriguing reminders of the past as we made our way further up the hill.
We left the village behind
and the views across the valley and village were breathtaking.
Within the castle walls is the ancient church of San Michele, founded in 1218.
It is thought to be the first parish church of Benabbio but ceased religious activities after the dismantling of the defenses of the castle in 1334.
In 1855, the old medieval cemetery was used to bury the 44 victims of a cholera epidemic. There is a plaque, in their memory, on the outside wall of the church.
The castle has been the site of archeological excavations for years, with many important finds. Some parts of the walls remain intact.
The castle was owned by the Lupari family who swore to the City of Lucca to guard the Apennines against enemy invasion.
When war broke out between the Florentines and Lucchesi in 1334, Lupo Lupari deceived the Lucchese who, in turn, travelled to Benabbio to punish Lupo. They claimed the castle and the Lupari family fled to Bologna. However, legend has it that Lupo is buried in a tunnel accessible from the existing well.