On 18 June 1944, the partisans led by Armando (Mario Ricci) occupied the Castle and created the Montefiorino Liberated Zone, one of the most important episodes of this kind during the Italian partisan struggle. For the first time after a twenty-year dictatorship, the people of the seven municipalities (Frassinoro, Montefiorino, Palagano, Polinago and Prignano in the province of Modena and Ligonchio, Toano and Villa Minozzo in that of Reggio Emilia) were able to elect their local authority representatives, although only heads of households had the vote; what’s more, Allied missions chose the area as their base for attacks on the supply convoys travelling along the Abetone (12) and Cerreto Pass (63) highways. The German assault which began on 30 July 1944 led to the fall of the Liberated Zone within two days, aborting the arrival of an Italian parachute battalion, planned for 2 August. The German action took the partisans by surprise, but in spite of the objective difficulties in communications between the various units, they managed to break away, some towards the Reggio mountains, some into Tuscany and others towards the Abetone road, in the Modena mountains. Montefiorino, including the Castle, was torched.
After mentioning that during the German assault the Allies had blown up the weapons dumps, Armando explained that the partisans had kept their weapons:
Armando [Mario Ricci]