[Emilia Romagna Villages] Vigoleno: the fortified village
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Perched on a rocky spur on the ridge separating the Ongina Valley and the Stirone Valley, the small village of Vigoleno is one of the most striking and rich in history of Piacenza province.
The first historical testimonies of Vigoleno date back to 1141, when the village was outside the influence of Piacenza city and watching the road to Tuscany with defensive functions in the Appennino valleys. In 1200, the fortress passed into the hands of the Scotti family, which, rarely in Italy, would almost be the only Italian family to administer the village from the end of 300 to 1900. Today the Vigoleno country, which has maintained virtually intact its medieval origins, is part of the circuit of “Borghi più belli d’Italia” and was awarded by the Orange Flag by the Italian Touring Club.
Born as a defensive settlement Vigoleno today is a perfectly preserved example of low medieval urbanism; The first thing we recommend is therefore to walk through the boroughs of the village and in the Castle square, just to breathe bit of that ancient air that these places still manage to give.
There is also the Quadrangular Mastio that dominates the small village and in which is housed an information and photographic Museum on the history of Vigoleno; a good opportunity to explore the history and the affairs of the Emilia Romagna’s valleys. From the Mastio, then walk to the second tower of the Castle and we recommend you to enjoy the beautiful views of the valleys and the surrounding nature. Constructed in a decentralized position within the village is the Pieve di San Giorgio, a small church that dates back to the time of the foundation of the hamlet and is one of the most important examples of the sacred Romanesque architecture of Piacenza. The Vigoleno Village is also home of the Orsanti Museum, one of the few museums in the world that tells the story of the Osanti, nomadic and theatrical artists of Italy.
Spring: A walk through the ancient walkways to admire the panorama of the Apennines valley or a bike ride in the nearby Stirone Park, one of the many protected areas that are part of the Ducato of Parma e Piacenza Parks.
Summer: Walking in the hills can certainly relieve the warmth of the plain and cities, but we also recommend a car ride in the nearby villages. Some advice? The spas of Salsomaggiore, Castell’Arquato and the many Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza.
Autumn: Maybe not everyone knows that we are just in the area of wine production of Colli Piacentini and Vin Santo of Vigoleno DOC. If you are planning to go there in the autumn, you can not stop at one of the many wine cellars in the area.
Winter: the mist that hides the underlying valleys, walkways that look like they are building in the sky, the nature of the Apennine.
– The medieval “Dinner of the Vin Santo“, a wine tasting event organized every year in the first decade of August.
– The International Festival of Street Artists in Vernasca – Street Art Festival, which runs every year on 28, 29 and 30 July.
– Cantamaggio – Festival of songs and dances of the peasant tradition, which takes place in the nearby village of Vernasca, usually on April 30.
– Potato Celebration – Potato Celebration Day, which takes place on the third Sunday of September in Vezzolacca.
Vigoleno is located in the production area of Piacenza’s salami, but if you want some traditional and local advice, the Vin Santo of Vigoleno is actually produced according to an ancient tradition which determine its particular perfume from the soil characteristics, the sun exposure and the grapes used. The barrel conservation lasts at least 5 years and the gradation varies according to the vintages but can not be less than 18 degrees.
Paths and pilgrimage routes
The nearby Val Taro is part of the territory of Emilia Romagna crossed by “Via Francigena“, in particular from the stages connecting the towns of Piacenza and Siena.