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Val d’Arda

Val d’Arda has a unique geological and natural heritage to be explored by foot, by bike or on horseback: the medieval villages of Castell’Arquato and Vigoleno, on top of hills full of vineyards, and Veleja Romana archaeological site. A landscape to be discovered while tasting “Colli Piacentini” wines, cured meats and delicious stuffed pasta!

The valley of the Arda stream is the most eastern area of Piacenza. The Arda river has its source in the highest part of the Apennines in the municipality of Morfasso. It forms the artificial lake of Mignano before flowing past Lugagnano Val d’Arda and Castell’Arquato into the plain and joining the Po River.

  In the Middle Ages the valley was one of the routes connected to the ancient road to Rome, Via Francigena, which continued towards Pontremoli to join the main road to Rome through Morfasso. The valley now contains swathes of unspoilt natural environment in the south, thanks to the great amphitheatre of mountains which prevented easy transport connections but preserved its natural heritage.

A landscape offering endless beautiful views, rivers, woods and geological formations, together with traces of history, such as the Roman Veleja archaeological site, villages, castles and signs left by the pilgrims who used to make the ascent from the Vernasca parish church to the Abbey of Valtolla, sadly now lost to us.

You can travel along the paths by any non-motorised means – on foot, by bike or on horseback – discovering ancient hills and gullies, fossils from the Piacenzian period, vineyards and woods. All these landscapes will bring you back in touch with nature, restoring balance and well-being.

The medieval villages of Castell’Arquato and Vigoleno are perfectly preserved and offer a wealth of cultural activities; in Castell’Arquato you can visit the Rocca Viscontea, Museo della Collegiata, G. Cortesi Geological Museum and the Museo Illica; in Vigoleno you can visit the Museo degli Orsanti to learn about the migrants from the late 19th century who sought their fortune in Europe as wandering bear trainers.

You certainly won’t want to miss out on sampling the typical food and wine products of Piacenza: a good glass of “Colli Piacentini” wine pairs perfectly with excellent cured meats (such as coppa, pancetta or salame) and tasty specialties like the anolini or tortelli pasta dishes and the unique pisarei and fasò (dumplings in a rich bean sauce).

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