Gualdo (near Massarosa)
The road to the village climbs through a dense, centuries old wood from which Gualdo takes its name (Waldum is the German word for wood). The village is mentioned in a document dated 1099, when a “villa” subject to the Jus of San martino, to which Massarosa still belonged, was situated here. In 1224 the church at Gualdo was attacked by the vassals of the lords of Montemagno; the pope humself had to intervene to bring an end to the dispute.
In 1266 the government of Gualdo declared its independence from the podestà of Massarosa and it drew up its own statute which represented the first important statement by a municipal body in the entire territory of Lucca. The village had a castle, of which very little remains, and it was probably situated where the church now stands. The church of saints Nicolao and Giusto is mentioned in documents of the 13th century, but it was replaced in the 16th century by the present building, which was enalrged in the 18th century in the baroque style and restored in 1912.
The village has preserved its medieval character, with narrow streets climbing up to the top of the hill on which the castle stood. There are many ancient stone houses with small doors and windows, and with a few elegant buildings situated between them. At the top of the mountain there is the small village square of splendid simplicity and harmony.