[Emilia Romagna Villages] Castelvetro di Modena, among towers and vineyards


[Emilia Romagna Villages] Castelvetro di Modena, among towers and vineyards

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Castelvetro di Modena is a small and picturesque village in the heart of Emilia-Romagna, between Modena and Bologna. Its profile, characterized by towers, stands out on the fertile countryside, rich in vineyards. The territory has a strong wine-growing vocation, so that since 1994 Castelvetro is one of the Wine Cities. Since 2003 it is also one of the villages of the Bandiere Arancioni [Orange Flags], the certification that the Italian Touring Club attributes to quality tourism sights.

To know

Born as Etruscan settlement, around 150 BC the Roman legions created a military camp, a Castrum; the name of the comes precisely from this, from the union of the Latin terms Castrum and Vetus, to mean old camp.
In medieval times the feud passed under the dominion of the Marquis Bonifacio of Tuscany and, at his death, of his famous daughter Matilda of Tuscany. A few years after the disappearance of the GranContessa [GreatCountess], Castelvetro was annexed to the Municipality of Modena and, when the war between Guelphs and Ghibellines turned on, the village -that was affiliate to the Ghibelline faction- was besieged and destroyed by the Pope’s Guelph soldiers. The feud was then granted to Jacopino Rangone, whose family remained owner until the modern era.

To see

An itinerary to discover Castelvetro can only start from the heart of the village, Piazza Roma, from which you can enjoy a splendid view over the valley. Rinaldi Palace, the Clock Tower, the Prisons Tower and the Town Hall also overlook on the Square. Perhaps not everyone knows that the square was built in a relatively recent period, when the buildings in the North part of the Castle -except the Towers- were demolished, and then it was paved with its special chessboard flooring. In September it hosts the re-enactment of the Living Checkers.

Not to miss also the Castle of Levizzano Rangone, erected as defensive bulwark against the Hungarians and belonged to the Marquis Bonifacio of Tuscany, father of the GreatCountess Matilda. The ancient structure was made up of a defensive wall, with the so-called “Matildic Tower” in the centre. The Tower, squared-shape, also had the function of command place, being the Lord’s residence. In 1342 the castle passed to the Rangone Family, which gave to the Castle a primary connotation of noble residence, and kept it under his property until the Napoleonic conquest.
Between the nineteenth and twentieth century, when it became the property of the Municipality of Castelvetro, the Castle was the subject of some important restorations. Among these interventions, which have involved about the 70% of the entire building, the restoration of the Bishop’s Rooms, with the recuperation of the ancient wooden ceilings and the frescos with knightly scenes.

To do

– a visit to the Municipal Acetaia, created for the will of the Tasters Masters of the local community of Consorteria of Modena’s Balsamic Vinegar. The Acetaia is born in 2002 to promote the knowledge of Modena’s “black gold” and represents an important first approach to this DOP product; it houses two batteries of 7 barrels each and a set of objects related to vinegar’s culture, including some tragni, traditional enamelled terracotta pots to retain vinegar. In order to discover the productive process alive, a tasting visit to one of the local Acetaie is recommended.
– a tasting visit to one of the cellars of the territory, to discover the Lambrusco Grasparossa of Castelvetro DOP in all its declinations.
– a visit to the permanent exhibition Fili d’Oro a Palazzo [Golden Yarns at the Palace], which collects a set of Renaissance-style dresses owned by the Dama Vivente Association.


In May, the Graspalonga Gourmet, a weekend full of nature, sport and wine: an easy route by bike with tasting stages on the territory.
In June Mercurdo, the Market of Absurd: shows and exhibitions dedicated to the theme of absurd and a market of strange and unusual objects.
In August Calici di Stelle [Glasses of Stars], a weekend of tastings and observation of falling stars.
In September, Dama Vivente [Living Checkers] (in the even years) or Festa a Castello [Festival at the Castle] (in odd years), the historic event that recalls the festivities that Marquises Rangone dedicated to poet Torquato Tasso when he seeked refuge in Castelvetro.
Also in September the Lambrusco Grasparossa Festival, the event celebrating the prince product of the territory with shows, tastings, markets and the traditional parade of Bacco Floats.

Food and Wine

In addition to the mentioned Lambrusco Grasparossa, the territory offers the opportunity to enjoy many DOP products, such as Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Parmigiano Reggiano and Modena Ham.
Castelvetro stands between Modena and Bologna, so among the traditional recipes there are tortellini in broth and the other typical fresh pasta shapes (such as tagliatelle and tortelloni), crescentine modenesi (also known as tigelle, a bread to taste filled with salami and cheeses), rabbit alla Cacciatora (with tomato and onion), borlenghi and the cherry pie.

Paths and pilgrimage routes

Castelvetro is starting point of the Western Via Romea Nonantolana, which leads to the Croce Arcana Pass with an itinerary of about 72 km.

The headline [Emilia Romagna Villages] is based on the partnership of the Associations Borghi più belli d’Italia, Bandiere Arancioni, Borghi autentici d’Italia.

More info on: comune.castelvetro-di-modena.mo.it – visitcastelvetro.it


My roots are in Bologna but I love traveling, both physically and with imagination, thanks to books and movies. Communication and crowdsourcing are my bread and butter.

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