Emilia Romagna Slow | Autumn excursions in Val Tidone
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The end of summer is the perfect season to extend the summer enthusiasm and enjoy a weekend in open air: temperatures are still pleasant and tempting to leave for adventures towards unusual destinations, better if surrounded by the Italian countryside. So here are some ideas to discover the hills of Piacenza, already famous for the production of prestigious wines and the amazing nature that surrounds them!
Autumn excursions in Val Tidone – Trekking and Mountain Bike
The Val Tidone is also an excellent destination for all those who like to slowly enjoy the beauties of nature and offers the opportunity to make excursions of all levels of difficulty.
There are many marked trails that you can travel on foot or by mountain bike. Among the many, we suggest the CAI Path 209 from which you can climb the ancient “Rocca d’Olgisio” and admire some of the natural caves in the surroundings.
For trekking enthusiasts, we recommend the “Sentiero del Tidone“, a 69 km long hiking route that, surrounded by nature, runs along the stream from the source on the mountains to the mouth in the Po. The Sentiero del Tidone is a path that flows through two regions (Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy), two provinces and many municipalities it is thus possible to admire the many natural beauties that Val Tidone gives us.
For MTB enthusiast we suggest instead the 150 km of marked and tabulated paths that you can travel independently without fear of getting lost. The routes are all structured in a ring, winding between the 200 meters asl of Pianello Val Tidone and the 800 meters asl of Monte Aldone, crossing suggestive points of the Piacenza Apennines such as Val Chiarone and Val Luretta.
It is also possible to rent the MTB on site (advance booking required) and take part in guided tours.
Autumn excursions in Val Tidone – by Car
Another way to discover the amazing Val Tidone is to drive along its mountains and hills by car.
Because of its strategic position between the Po Valley and Lombardy, Val Tidone has been a border and transit place since ancient times; a function testified by the findings of the Roman age, the numerous castles and ancient roads that passed through the valley. The valley, wide and sunny, with meadows and soft hills planted with orchards and vineyards, woods and pine forests in the highest part, promises quiet and relaxation and it is ideal for nature excursions.
The route, to discover the flavors and aromas of this valley, starts from Castel San Giovanni. In the 14th century, in the center of the town, the Collegiate Church of San Giovanni was built in Gothic-Lombard style, later enriched with Baroque stuccoes. The nearby church of San Rocco dates back to 1476, while the renaissance Santa Maria in Torricelle was built in 1576. Nearby Villa Braghieri Albesani, a late seventeenth-century building, is surrounded by a park full of old trees.
From Castel San Giovanni, through the road that leads to Crete, passing through Luzzano and Vicobarone, admiring the sinuous hills from the ordered vineyards, you can get to Ziano Piacentino: its territory, between the province of Piacenza and that of Pavia, is rich in food and wine traditions. Among these, a dish from Pisarei and Faso ‘is not to be missed: it is an ancient Emilian recipe, handed down from generation to generation, consisting of small gnocchi of flour and breadcrumbs seasoned with beans, lard, onion, and tomato.
From Ziano Piacentino, in a few minutes, you can stop at Borgonovo Val Tidone, just the time to visit the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Gothic-Lombard style. Driving along the state road 412, admiring vineyards that cover the hillside humps and following the sinuousness with precision, you get finally to Pianello Val Tidone, located in an area already inhabited in Roman times; the findings surfaced in the surrounding countryside are preserved in the Archaeological Museum housed in a part of the castle. Not far away, perched on a rocky outcrop stands the Rocca d’Olgisio, already documented in the eleventh century.
The main road leads to the village of Nibbiano: in this small hamlet, some elements of the ancient castle are recognizable into the surrounding rural houses, such as the tower, at the entrance to the town, and the small square with a porticoed structure. From Nibbiano in a few minutes, you can get to Caminata, a small fortified village, which seems to derive its name from the narrow secret paths that cross it. Part of these secret passages is still visible along with the towers, stone houses, and ancient medieval shops. Returning to Pianello Val Tidone, you can reach Piozzano, whose territory is fundamental to admire the landscape before crossing the Val Luretta: here the view is lost on very landscapes suggestive.
The autumn excursions in Val Tidone cannot be complete if you do not focus on the many gastronomic goodnesses that are produced here: meats, stuffed pasta, and game are the products of excellence of this valley, along with many other small productions that are worth to discover.