[Villages #inEmiliaRomagna] Brescello, Don Camillo and Peppone’s village
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
“Once upon a time there was a small village called Brescello.We continue the story always the same and always different, because the story of the priest Don Camillo and of the mayor Peppone is always the same: Brescello seen from the right is the village of Don Camillo, seen from the left is the town of Peppone, seen from above is of the people who quarrel without ever being enemies, so much so that the conscience always has the last word. “- from Il Compagno Don Camillo, by Giovannino Guareschi
Brescello was built by the population of Cenomani and later conquered by the Romans, who
renamed it Brixellum. It was destroyed by the Lombards after the fall of the Roman Empire. It then passed under the Byzantine domination and, later, under that of the Estensi, which lasted until 1859. Geographically it is located in the Po Valley, in the province of Reggio Emilia, about 27 km from the capital and on the banks of the river Enza.
Brescello, though, is best known as the place where all the adventures of Don Camillo and Peppone are set and is a must for lovers of villages and literature.
The places of Don Camillo and Peppone
Brescello is small and evocative and survived numerous floods and battles, which unfortunately have erased many of the evocative buildings of the Estense and previous era. The village encloses the evocative Piazza Matteotti, the beating heart of the village life.
Even more suggestive is to retrace the places of the saga of the Piccolo Mondo, the one of Don Camillo and Peppone.
Giovannino Guareschi has given a place in Italian literature to this small village in Emilia, immortalizing what was Italy after World War II in all its contradictions. The perennial ideological clash between Comrade Communist Peppone and the intransigent priest Don Camillo is the real star of Guareschi’s novels and movies.
The buildings and the locations of the films can be visited: from the house where Peppone shows his newborn son, to the railway station, to the Virgin Mary’s statue shown in one of the first films. Even the symbolic objects of the set can be visited: the locomotive, the bell that falls on Peppone, the tank and a bust sculpted as a tribute to Giovannino Guareschi. The community of Brescello is committed to enhancing its literary part, perhaps the most famous, but activities and beauty in the village are not lacking.
What to see
Brescello is also characterized by two interesting festivals aimed at enhancing the territory. The first of these is the Festival Mondo Piccolo Cinematografico, a place of valorization and narration of the province. The second is the historical festival Brixellum Romanorum, a roman revocation.
Brescello is in an excellent position, equidistant from two capitals of the via Emilia: Parma and Reggio Emilia. This makes it possible to visit both the Castelli area of Parma and Piacenza as well as that of the Piccole Capitali del Po. This last itinerary is highly recommended for bicycle lovers.
What to eat in Brescello
Brescello’s culinary tradition is distinguished by traditional country dishes but rich in flavor.
Among the main courses stand out the great pasta classics: cappelletti, tortelli and tortelloni and fresh pasta. The second courses are mainly based on red meat, but roast meats of guinea fowl, pheasant and rabbit are also noteworthy. The single courses are born from the culinary (and geographic) intersection of Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia. They are nourishing and simple: polenta and melted cheeses (in particular Parmigiano Reggiano) are not missing, along with fried dumplings and hams. The typical dessert of Brescello is the spongata, a soft cake, ideal accompanied by a glass of Lambrusco or sweet Moscato.