Zuccarello, a charming and unique place in the world, was founded in 1248 under the watchful eye of the ruins of the Del Carretto castle, which even today continues to watch over the territory from on high.
This village is special because it still preserves its medieval atmosphere. There are antique-style shops with gates and side doors with small windows. There is not much to see in Zuccarello, apart from a medieval bridge across the Neva stream and the ruins of Ilaria Castle.
Today Zuccarello is also known as “the village of Ilaria del Carretto”, and in 1960 Zuccarello became famous after a picture of the medieval bridge over the Neva appeared on the cover of Time newspaper.
The statue of Ilaria del Carretto greets tourists, located right at the entrance to the village. According to history, Ilaria del Carretto was a very beautiful woman who died in 1400 during a childbirth, grieving her death her husband Jacopo sculpted her sarcophagus which became a masterpiece known all over the world.
Today the sarcophagus is kept in the cathedral of Lucca and is the masterpiece of Jacopo della Quercia.
The ruins of Ilaria del Carretto Castle can be reached from Via del Castello, from where the site starts to climb up the cliff.
The site can be covered in just 20 minutes, and from here you can see the entire panorama of the village and its surroundings.
The walk to the Castle was a real adventure for us: firstly because we were not prepared to climb to such a height, so we were not equipped from home with the right footwear and secondly, it was the first experience of its kind for Jessica, who was very enthusiastic at first, but after half the walk she got tired and wanted to go back.
In the end, our enthusiasm and good mood helped us to reach the top, from where we could see the most beautiful views nature has to offer. And we were very happy. Up there we were just us on top of the world!
Our disappointment was to find the castle gates closed, as the visit is by appointment only and for a large number of tourists.
On the way down we chose the longest but best road, as it was asphalted and without slip hazards. And on this route there are many superb views of the whole area! Oh, and lots of blackberries!