San Romano in Garagnana is located in the center of a rich green valley in the territory of the Garfagnana and mid Serchio Valley. The village and its hamlets are the ideal destinations for those who love walks in nature and relaxing in mountainous environments. It's been inhabited since ancient times, with Ligurian and Roman artefacts found here, with San Romano long being the subject of contention.
In medieval times, the territory was divided into two feudal Lordships. The most important was in the north, that of the Gherardinghi, who ruled for a long time from their residence in the Verrucole Fortress, located on the hill of the hamlet of the same name and the focus point of almost all the history of the territory. To the south, there was the Lordship of the Counts of Bacciano, owners of a castle that was destroyed in the Renaissance period.
In the sixteenth century, the territory of San Romano in Garfagnana was under siege by the Florentines and then, after a short period of autonomy, it came under the rule of the Republic of Lucca. However, the struggles for the possession of these lands were destined to continue until the area passed under the rule of the Este family, under whom it remained until the unification of Italy.
In the heart of the village of San Romano, it's worth visiting the baroque church of San Romano Martire, inside which stands the large eighteenth-century organ surmounted by a statue of the saint. You can also find Palazzo Pelliccioni-Marazzini, with its charming arched terraces. Not far from the town is the sanctuary of the Madonna del Bosco. Every year, a religious festival is organized in the Sanctuary in which the whole community participates, when locals bring gifts to the Virgin in gratitude. The cult of the Madonna del Bosco is still very strong throughout San Romano and makes this small religious building worth a visit.
The most important monument of the municipality is the previously mentioned Verrucole Fortress. Well preserved and imposing, it has a remarkable polygonal tower and magnificent walls. The Fortress is also the heart of the action-packed Archeopark that can be accessed on foot along a mule track that climbs up from the town center. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by characters dressed in medieval clothes. Among the hamlets, is the medieval village of Naggio where you can see the chapel of Santa Croce from the early Middle Ages.
Nature lovers can venture along the paths of the Orecchiella Park, the Garfagnana nature reserve that's located in the municipality of San Romano. In the Visitor Center, you can admire the Naturalistic Museum and that of the Birds of Prey, where you can discover the unique characteristics of the territory. There's also a beautiful garden of mountain flowers, where you can walk among colorful mountain species, as well as see some enclosures where animals such as roe deer and brown bears are housed.
Not far from Fortezza della Verrucole is the Selva del Buffardello Adventure Park, that offers different routes through the trees for all ages. With walkways, suspended Tibetan bridges, balance games and obstacles to overcome, it's perfect for spending a day dedicated to sport, fun and the outdoors.
In San Romano as well as in other areas of Garfagnana and the Mid Serchio Valley, Garfagnana neccio (chestnut flour) IGP and Garfagnana Farro (spelt) IGP are produced, ingredients that you will find in many traditional dishes such as spelt soup and castagnaccio.