The Quilietti Family

Your Quilietti family heritage

BARGA and surrounding villages


 is but one of many of the villages which surrounds the town of Barga.   She lies on the road that leads from Barga to the Ponte di Campia.  This village is the home of the Quilietti, Conti, Brucciani and many more of our ancestral clans.   The Church records go way back to the 1600s when the little Church of St. Nicholi was built.

Map of the surrounding villages

The suburb of Castelvecchio is formed from the whole two villages, Castelveccho than Above and Castelvecchio of Under, the first one (the most ancient) known also as “Caproni”, from the name of an ancient present family already on the spot from the XIV century, according to some local historians it probably rose in Roman epoch and initially you would have been quoted as “Cascio Balbo”, name of Latin origin that Silvio Pieri great expert of history of the names, would make to go up again to the small installation on the spot of the farmer “Cassius Balbus.”
The place Cascio Balbo, that we find quoted for the first time in a 994 document, with which the Bishop Gherardo rented of the houses and of the earths to the noble family of the Ronaldinghis, suddenly disappears all of a sudden from the documents, for then to reappear some centuries later quoted with the name Castelvecchio, the village in medieval epoch you entertained a small fortification (he is thought to a tower) that with the arrival of the pestilences, cause of a sudden depopulation of the suburb lost its defensive function and slowly will go to downfall.Its church entitled to S.Nicolao, built in unknown epoch (the historian local A.Nardini hypothesizes both happened in concomitance of the destruction of the tower) in the part moreloft of the hill “Caproni”, after having also been united for a certain period Giovanni's Pascoli house today museumto the collegiate one of S.Cristoforo, it received the Baptismal Source in 1651.  
Castelvecchio of Under, today the principal nucleus of the suburb has a more modern origin, even if on the spot and to signal in medieval epoch, the existence of a Hospital “Pontis Populi”, founded in the XII century in proximity of the bridge upon the Serchio, thanks to some donations served as the noble of Cascio Balbo, Hospital that Pope Niccolò IV in 1292 it will subdue to that of S.Pellegrino in Alpe and that it will exist up to 1467
Ancient feud of the Ronaldinghis, Castelvecchio as the rest of the suburbs of the valley of the Serchio, in the XIII century ended under the jurisdiction lucchese, the lucchesis to administer they submitted him it to the Vicaria of Barga and when this last was voluntarily given to Florence, Castelvecchio followed her, November 8 th 1342 the Florentines accepted his subjugation, since then up to our days, the suburb will share the fate with Barga.
In 1895 on the hill of Caproni it settled an illustrious character, the poet Giovanni Pascoli, the Pascoli it stayed tied up to Castelvecchio up to his death (1912) and here it will find the inspiration of the last sonnets of his, later the suburb for thankfulness to the great poet and her poetic art, it will modify his name in Castelvecchio Pascoli.



A five minute drive from Barga is the hamlet of Catagnana dominated by the church of San Regolo. The drive up from the valley via several hairpin bends pass some lovely gardens and meadows of wild flowers. The sketch was done from the car due to rain again.

Cousin Richard Demarco's sketch of the village


A spell of good weather is forecast next week so a chance to work on the garden.


The records from the district go way back to 1610.   From this date the community was born around the church.

The Pieve of Sante Maria in Loppia

Nearby Loppia, in the district of Barga, the stream Loppora is crossed by a noteworthy footbridge with a hump-backed and slightly asymmetrical structure. The highest point of the road running along the bridge is not placed in its centre, and the ascent and descent are not the same length.
The peculiar bridge outline, whose asymmetry is similar to the impressive one of the Devil’s Bridge in Borgo a Mozzano, is due to the fact that the two stream banks are not levelled, and that the bridge follows the line of the road it was conceived for: the old road from Loppia to Filecchio.

The Bridge to Loppia

Supported by a round-headed arch, the sandstone bridge was built in the 14th century by local masons and underwent reconstruction in the 18th century. This is proved by the research study of Antonio Nardini of the section of Barga of the Istituto Storico Lucchese (Institute for Historical Research of Lucca).


Sommocolonia lies above Barga in the Appenine Mountains

Sommocolonia lies on a buttress of the Apennine, on the back of Barga. The landscape is represented by mountains gradually sloping down towards the alluvial plain where the main town lies; the slopes are terraced and cultivated and, higher up, covered by thick chestnut woods.

The village is built in concentric circles around the highest part where the tower stands; the church is inserted in this urban pattern, in the past filled with buildings, that has now grown thinner owing to the destruction caused by earthquakes and WWII bombings.

Of the wall curtain, originally double, only the highest portion under the tower remains today.

The castle of Sommocolonia, built high up in an inaccessible position, overlooked a good portion of the Serchio valley and was of great strategic importance for the defence of Barga; it also controlled historic roads across the Apennine.
The changes due to the destruction of great part of the ancient walls and the tower have not, however, completely cancelled the historic character of this ancient fortification whose ruins can still be fully appreciated today.

Barga from Sommoncolonia

The Ancient Roman outpost, became one of the most strategically important areas in the arena of war sixteenth. Sommocolonia dominating the valley barghigiana and relying on a double turreted fortress walls (partially visible) was critical to the control of one of the most important trade routes to and from the Emilia-Romagna.

The history of autonomy sommocolona ended in 1530 when, as part of the war with Barga, the town capitulated after months of battles being almost razed to the ground. At this juncture stands of Captain Matthew Pieruccio de ‘Medici Captain Cockerel, for a variety of military operations and even leading the assault on the town of Barga.

During World War II , the December 26 of 1944 Sommocolonia was the scene of ‘” Operation Wintergewitter “, a limited offensive conducted on the Gothic Line forces Italo –German against the troops American (92nd Division “Buffalo”), supported by the partisans of the Eleventh zone.

There were over 150 casualties among the forces allied and 7 civilian deaths, and more than 50% of the buildings were destroyed by bombing. The last big bomb dropped by a U.S. aircraft was found unexploded near the Rocca in the 80s. The latest weapons, two hand grenades American Mk2, have been removed and detonated in July 2009, in the village “Campeglio.”

In January 2009 a large landslide has affected the southern part of the country, seriously endangering the stability of the four houses and fortress, as well as the termination of the Via Monte, which surrounds the castle. The restoration of the impaired viability and stability of the houses began almost immediately.

On 19 February 2010, a delegation of American soldiers from the base at Camp Darby (PI), visited the country and the places of battle, christmas 1944. Later they were hosted by the local village committee for refreshments and a visit to the small but very nice museum that collects war material found and the collective memory of Sommocolonia.

Barga at night twinkling away. From Sommoncolia.  Please look at the beautiful photographes from Massio Pia on this site

On 6 July 2010, the C.le Richard Neumeister of the 4th Battalion of Alpine, who launched the attack on December 26 Sommocolonia del’44 during the operation “Winter Storm”, he asked to visit the country and the small museum, accompanied by his family. When he reached the place, in reviewing those places, he cried. Then several delegations of American soldiers from the nearby American base at Camp Darby, went to Sommocolonia to visit the places of battle.

Sommocolonia is now part of Barga and the Barghiggiani are very proud of its historical background.   The homes, the very narrow street and the ancient walls indicate and confirm that this village was a mediaeval castle.   It is located on a hill to the right hand side of the Corsonna River which also runs through Loppia until it reaches the mighty Serchio.

Sommoncolonia was one of the eldest Roman outposts dating back many many centuries.  From the hill there were magnificent views all around stretching to the Apuan Alps and the Roman soldiers could keep an eye on any enemies who might make their way down the Serchio Valley towards mighty Roma.   It was during this occupation that the village was named Summa Colunia, or the Colony on the summit.

Jumping forward to the year 983 the castle fell into the hands of the Rolandinghi family and history tells us that Giovanni Rolandini held ten estates including Barga itself and he had absolute power over these lands and the people who lived there. The mighty  Rolandinghi Family paid Lucca with a tax of 20 silver coins every year.

Over the next few hundred years the castle changed hands eventually being taken over by the mighty Medici clan in the 1400s.  This mighty fighting clan controlled Tuscany and more importantly controlled the religion of Rome through their popes who were mostly members of the Medici family at this time.

More fights were to follow after the Medici fell and the French, Austrians as well as other Italian regions fought over the castle.

The Sommoncolonia tried often to take over Barga, or at least get rid of its power but failed to do so despite the heroic efforts of a Captain Galletto who eventually had to give up and run to Lombardy..  These skirmishes went on for many years until in 1550 when a treaty was drawn up that both communities unite and become a single entity.

The residents of the village for hundreds of years could only make their way down the valley through an old Roman Mule Track and sometimes residents of the village never left the small town, they lived their whole lives in the little area.




Albiano is nestled on the slopes of the Apuane Alps in the Serchio Valley in the Garfagana region of Tuscany.Albiano’s location, coupled with the surrounding colour, sights and sounds all contribute to make this spot a tranquil hamlet.Albiano can trace its roots back to the C10th when it housed the castle protecting its larger and more well known neighbour, the cathedral town of Barga.Between 1331 and 1859 Albiano owed its allegiance to the Florentine State. The majestic Pania mountain domineers the surrounding chestnut trees, grape vines and olive groves.Though physically beautiful this area is also steeped in culture. A popular trading route in Roman times, the nearby village of Castelvecchio Pascoli is also home to one of Italy’s most inspirational poets, Giovanni Pascoli.At La Terrazza we pride ourselves in using the freshest local ingredients, some such as Cinghialewhich can only be found in the surrounding Alps.






Leave a Reply