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The valleys of Piacenza

The Piacenza valleys offer many points of interest that are worth visiting. Enchanting medieval towns and a variety of landscapes: from "low" plain adjacent to the Po River, grown and processed hills to the rugged mountains. The Apennines, often little known and still wild, it is to be discovered. A land ready to tell the history. The most important valleys of Piacenza area are: Arda, Nure, Trebbia and Tidone.

Val D'arda
Castellarquato: strategically located on the foothills of Val d'Arda Valley, this medieval village is perched on the hill and dominates the passage. The old town is built on the left bank of the Arda river. It is about 30 km from Piacenza. The village is built according to the structure of the medieval villages. Originally it was a military castrum at the times of Roman colonization of the area. In imperial times it developed as a small rural town, thanks to the favorable position of dominance on the road network.
Vigoleno: this small village founded in the Upper Middle Ages, was built on an outcrop of limestone and sandstone, in a strategic position for the control and observation of the Po Valley. The origins of Vigoleno sink in Roman times: the name derives from the Latin Vicus Lyaeo, place consecrated to Bacchus for its exquisite wines. Vigoleno is indeed known for its namesake vin santo.
Geological reserve of Piacenziano: established in 1955, it has an area of 345 hectares and consists of 9 different stations located in the municipalities of Castell'Arquato, Lugagnano Val d'Arda, Gropparello, Vernasca and Carpaneto Piacentino. The exceptional wealth of fossils in this area, already known by Leonardo da Vinci (who mentioned it in the Leicester code), has led scholars to use the term Piacenziano Plan, with which it is now referred to the period of earth's history between 3.5 and 2.5 million years ago. In the reserve we can find various outcrops of paleontological with chasms, cliffs and ravines that surround a beautiful valley.
All over Castell’Arquato there are plenty of houses built with blocks of sandstone within which you can see fossilized shellfish, evidence of the presence of the sea in today's Po.


Val Nure
Located between Val Trebbia on the west and Val D'Arda on the east, this valley is worth a visit for its natural and landscape heritage and for the variety of its environments. The Val Nure is a succession of meadows and pastures, forests of beech and relict forests of mountain pine.
The large meadow basins, once occupied by lakes of glacial damming, characterizes the valley. This is the case of Lake Moo, whose lake basin is minimized, or climbing at altitude, the Great Lawn, populated during the summer of herds of horses and cattle grazing and carpeted with many blooms. Located at 1,298 m, lake Bino is of glacial origin, its name probably derives from "binus", being divided into two parts by a levee. In summer time while greatly reducing its size, it takes on a striking appearance thanks to the flowering of the yellow water lily.
The Val Nure is characterized by the presence of numbers mountains, the majestic Mount Ragola (1,712 m) is the highest peak with over 1,700 meters along the southern direction, followed in line, the Black Mountain (1,752 m) whose slopes lies its namesake lake, Mount Maggiorasca (1,799 m) and the Monte Bue (1777), from which peaks on a clear day you can see the sea. Farther north is the crest of 1,500 meters, that the unmistakable panettone Crociglia mountain (1,525 m) and Carevolo (1,542 m) to reach Groppo Rosso, through the Ciapa Smooth, whose unique name is linked to the characteristics of the western slope , smooth and almost vertical.
Particularly interesting from a historical point of view is the Way of the Abbots, also known as Via Francigena of the mountain: it is the Apennine section that during Upper Middle Ages linked the kingdom of the Lombards (whose capital was Pavia) with Tuscany towards Rome. It is a path in the early days of the Via Francigena, before the Lombard conquest of the Cisa, followed by the emergence of the track Francigena. The path is 125 km long and it links Bobbio to Pontremoli through the Trebbia and Nure valleys in the Piacenza area. It was used by the pilgrims and by the monks of St. Columbanus abbey to go to Rome, as well as by the abbey itself, since it was an economic power other than a religious and cultural hub.


Val Trebbia
The main town in Val Trebbia is Bobbio, famous for the Abbey of St. Columban and the Ponte Vecchio, or "hunchback", 280 meters long and 11 arches unequal between them. The Irish monk St. Columban arrived in Bobbio in 614, and here begins the monastic activity that brought the abbey to become in the Middle Ages, along with Cassino, the capital of the Italian culture. Today Bobbio, which keeps the appearance characteristics of the medieval village, holds some events of great interest such as, film festival directed by Marco Bellocchio and the Irish music festival.
The Trebbia river, one of the symbols of the Piacenza area, known and appreciated even outside the province for its limpid waters, is attended every summer by many swimmers. Slides winding through the narrow gorges of the valley, where the exposed rocks alternate with thick forests.
The meandering of S. Salvatore, between Bobbio and Marsaglia, consists of a series of loops that the Trebbia describes within the "sandstones S.Salvatore" spectacular alternation of sandstones, siltstones and clays derived from ancient sediments underwater. The context coincides with the area of geological outcrop called "tectonic window" of Bobbio, including the most recent morphological formations in the Apennines of Piacenza since emerged to orogenic uplift from 1.6 million years ago.
The erosive action of the river, capable of digging vertical rock layers keeping steep slopes and sinuous usually observed in rivers of the plains, it subsequently led to the succession of day rocks, almost like opening the pages of a book .
Val Boreca is one of the smaller valleys of Trebbia, crossed by the river and wedged between the high mountains of Piacenza and the Ligurian Apennines, riding to our province and that of Genoa. What characterizes the interest of the valley lies in its environmental heritage, one of the most intact in the Apennines, with chestnut and beech trees, as well as oak and hornbeam; large grasslands dominated by the peaks of Mount Lesima (the highest peak of all the Trebbia with its 1,724 meters), Monte Chiappo and Monte Carmo and Monte Alfeo.