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Bolano is located on a spur of Mount Cornoviglio, on the border between the lower Vara Valley and the Magra Valley; it is precisely for this reason that the town has been disputed over the centuries; indeed, it represented a well known strategic town both for commercial exchanges as well as its position in military terms. For a long time, clerical powers influenced Bolano, obtaining excellent results. In particular, under the control of the Bishops of Luni, with whom the town managed to enjoy its own autonomy, distancing itself from the feudalism which, in the later periods, predominated over the municipalities of the Lunigiana area.
Subsequently, the urban layout of the town was more clearly defined through the realisation of town walls of a triangular design through which one enters by means of three entrances placed on three different sides of the town: the borgo vecchio, the borgo diritto and the poggio. In 1306, with the peace of Castelnuovo, the town was ceded to the Malaspina, with whom it faced an arduous moment until the 16th century. After various events and a revolt of the population, the town gave itself over to the Genoan republic, following the fortunes of the latter until the Unification of Italy. The municipality is part of the ComunitÓ Montana della Media e Bassa Val di Vara (Mountain Community of the Middle and Lower Vara Valley) and of the Montemarcello-Magra regional natural Park.
The territory can be divided into three residential areas: Bolano, which is the main town of the municipality and is the settlement which has maintained its importance and it medieval layout. Montebello is divided into the three zones di Cima, di Mezzo and di Fondo while Ceparana is the most densely populated and largest of the Municipality. The peacefulness and the green hillsides which surround the town lend an incomparable sensation of calm and relaxation. For culture enthusiasts, there a number of opportunities, starting from the village of Bolano itself which offers fabulous little alleyways and churches and as far as Montebello with its parish church, or Ceparana with its intriguing fortress.
The church of Santa Maria, in Roman-Gothic style is characterised by ancient architectural remains and by the copious use of marbles added around the 16th and the 17th century; subsequent to this period, the church was further enriched with portals and altars. Inside, there are still elements of the ancient temple like the columns of the organ. In addition, the Oratory of San Rocco, a conventual complex built at the end of the 1500's Initially, its function was as a family chapel for the religious requirements of the lords of the castle, but at the moment of the fall of the Malaspina family, it was ceded to the community of the Frati Minori who enlarged it and established themselves there, dedicating it to Saint Anthony of Padua. Ancient property of the Bishops of Luni, the Parish church of Saint Andrew of Montedivalli was probably composed of a complex of different buildings of which today remains only the parish church.
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