Emilia Delizia would be delighted to organise a castle, food and wine tour for your group departing from Piacenza, Parma and Milan. For more information about the castles of the Piacenza/Parma area, please check our article below.
Piacenza and Parma’s Castles, a unique experience in Emilia Romagna.
Planning a holiday in Italy is always a delight with such a lot to look forward to! The Emilia Romagna region in North-Eastern Italy is home to the town of Parma, and we all know that Parma is the birthplace of some of Italy’s favourite exports, Parmesano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese) and Proscuitto di Parma (Parma Ham), but did you know that the province, (or duchy), of Parma and Piacenza is also home to more than 20 castles? Castles and fortresses are symbolic of the region; they are a constant reminder of the hundreds of years the region has been under siege by successive waves of marauding invaders intent upon destruction and mayhem; they are magical places to visit for adults and children alike and you should not miss the opportunity to include a few in your itinerary.
This area is acknowledged to be the best place to view some wonderful examples of the best-preserved castles in all of Italy, and they are relatively close together, making exploring easy. I will tell you a little about 3 of the castles:
Castello di Bardi. The fortress of Bardi is an excellent example of Military architecture and has stood for more than one thousand years. It was built for defence, but later (16th century) partially converted to an aristocratic residence. There is plenty to see, including the ancient patrol paths, the parade ground, the fortified towers and all you would expect to find in a structure dedicated to defence. The view from the towers is worth the climb, and you can also visit a Museum dedicated to the story of the ancient Valley-Dwelling Civilisation. The Castle is open from March to Nov and entrance is around €5.50 per adult.
Castello di Arquato is found in the little medieval town with the same name (Castell’Arquato) in the province of Piacenza. The Castle was built from 1342-1349, and was a strategic structure, designed for the defence of the area. The rectangular courtyard enclosure is dominated by the Tower (keep) composed of a series of small rooms built one on top of the other, and linked by a series of staircases leading to the very top. Once again, your climbing efforts will be rewarded by the views of the surrounding countryside. You can visit the castle all year round for €3.50 (If you plan to visit several castles, you can buy a discount ticket for €2.00 at the castle that will save you money at all the other castles in the region.)
Make sure to visit the Multimedia Museum of Medieval Life, then explore the pretty little town than spills down the hill and visit the 12th century church of Santa Maria to see some sculptures and frescoes dating from the 12th and 15th centuries.
Castello di Bobbio. Bobbio is a small town near Piacenza, mainly famous for its Abbey and its Christmas Eve Snail Festival! The castle, properly known as Malaspina Dal Verme Castle now lies within the city walls of the town. It was begun in 1304 on the hill overlooking the town and although it is no longer intact, it is still worth a visit. You will find ruins of the Bishops Tower, and another circular tower built on two levels; you can still see the ancient arrow slits on the battlements, now converted to windows. The interior has undergone several modifications but the original large barrel-vaulted main hall is still intact, as are some very old frescoes in the stairwell. The Castle is open all year round and it costs €2.00 to visit. The little town of Bobbio is a lovely place to spend a few hours and you should try to visit the Abbey while you are there.
Food and wine in the Piacenza province.
When all the sightseeing has made you hungry and thirsty, you will be delighted to find yourself in Emilia Romagna, the culinary capital of the country where good food and wine are the order of the day! You are certain to have tasted Parma Ham and Parmesan cheese, but here in Piacenza there are other specialities to try, namely the Coppa Piacentina, Salame Piacentino and Pancetta Piacentina; all of these are wonderful examples of cured meat from the region and have been awarded PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin).
Your meat platter is beautifully accompanied by a glass or two of Gutturnio wine from the hills of Piacenza; this mellow blend of red Barbera and Croatina grapes has recently been awarded DOC status – do not miss it! Salute!