Giandeto is, to this day, a hamlet divided into small villages, all part of Casina, a town of about 4500 citizens, located in the low mountain along the state road called Valico del Cerreto. Giandeto has a very ancient history that dates back to the Early Middle Ages.
Going through official documents, the name of Giandeto – from the latin glans, glandis, which means acorn, probably because these lands were rich of oak trees producing acorn – occurs already in 898 and in 1158, in a document of Pieve di Campiglia. At that time Giandeno was part of the feuds belonging to the powerful Canossa family, owners of the famous homonymous castle, not far from there.
Today, the small groups creating Giandeto are the districts named Casa Bonini, La Villa, Ca’ Mattioli, Casa Scolari, among others.
The most ancient center is definitely The Villa, with its Tower-house, that gives the name to the whole place.
The Tower-house – also known as House-tower – is an example of medieval construction, common of the Appennino Reggiano area. The Tower-house, both a public administration office and a civil residence, presents, from an architectural point of view, medieval characteristics, despite some structural changes occurred over time.
A big square tower, with walls having a 1-meter-long foundation – as those existing in coeval castles – is taller than 12 meters and is divided in 2 floors. The ground floor, very high, has a ceiling made of volterrana solida, while the first floor was once accessible across a small passage; through a moving staircase (retractable from the inside), local officials and notables were able to bring themselves to safety from a sudden attack. This was due to the fact that the defensive castle of Giandeto (whose first news date back to the year 950) was located on the Ripe mountains and was a half an hour walk from La Villa. A very long time in case of immediate need.
The Tower-house of La Villa, as well as the one belonging to another building of the hamlet, was at least 10-meters taller than what we see today, but it was lowered during the second half of XIX century, probably due to reasons of stability.