Between the provinces of Pavia and Piacenza, between Emilia Romagna and Lombardy a rich land of quiet and beauty expands. It is Val Tidone, which comes to its travelers as an unexpected surprise, where we rediscover the authentic taste of Italy less well known. Val Tidone is made of silence, hills, forests, vineyards and castles.
We selected the 10 things not to miss in this valley to discover its landscapes, understand the history, taste flavors and perfumes.
1. Visit the Rocca d’Olgisio
It is the most ancient fortress of Piacenza, and probably the most impressive due to its architecture and its dominant position on the Val Tidone. The complex is guarded by six beautiful city walls and complements its medieval and Renaissance structures. Nearby you can visit several natural caves that dot the area, used by primitive man as habitation and burial sites.
2. Take the Mill Road in Val Tidone
Along the Tidone river there is a road that tells us about the tradition of millers, their jobs, the development of these places. The Mill Road along the middle and upper Val Tidone and is dotted with almost fifty mills, some dating back to the year 1000. Some of them still have got the old working equipment.
3. Walk along the Path of Tidone
On foot, by bike, but also on horseback. Walk along the river Tidone means immerse yourself in the scenic beauty, so varied and impressive, of Val Tidone following an unusual route from the confluence of the Po to the source of the Tidone. The Tidone Trail is 69 km long and crosses two regions: Emilia Romagna and Lombardy.
4. Discover the Lake Trebecco and the Molato Dyke
Just down the Path of Tidone, a few kilometers from the source, there is a spectacular feat of engineering, the dam of Molato that creates an artificial reservoir. It is a century-old dam, almost swallowed up by the green. It was built in 1920 and still bears the marks of that historical period.
5. Sleep in an organic farm among the hills
You wake up with the smell of homemade cakes and leavened bread with sourdough and freshly ground wheat, served along with various homemade jams. The stone farmhouse is an oasis of silence, occasionally interrupted by the chirping of the nightingale or the roar of the Tidone stream. On the brow of a hill, this beautiful organic farm and powered by green energy it is surrounded by lush nature and is the ideal place to detox physically and spiritually.
6. Trace the history in the Archaeological Museum of Val Tidone
In the basement of the beautiful Municipal Fortress of Pianello Val Tidone you can reconstruct the past of the valley thanks to the many findings preserved in this interesting museum. So you can discover the prehistoric era, Roman era and until the Middle Ages. The entrance to the museum is free.
7. Take part to Valtidone Wine Fest
Every September, on weekends, you can taste aromas, flavors and nuances of fine wines during the largest wine festival in the Vicenza. In the picturesque resort of Val Tidone you will be able to know the Orturgo, Malvasia, Gutturnio and indigenous sweet wines accompanied by concerts, dinners, guided tours and other events.
8. Relax at the Alpine Garden of Pietra Corva
At 950m above sea level, on the slopes of Monte Pietra di Corvo, there is a beautiful botanical garden, perfect for a relaxing day in nature, among blacks pine, the Fritillaria meleagris snake’s head fritillary and rare plants from all over the world.
9. Taste the Piacenza wine
Val Tidone has a great culinary tradition, varied and delicious. Perhaps the best representation of this tradition lies in the wines, especially in the DOC Gutturnio, Ortrugo and Colli Piacentini, but also Barbera Valtidone IGT, red wine by delicate shades and scents; perfect with the typical flavors of Piacenza.
10. Visit the nativity scene of Strà Sanctuary
For more than 30 years for the Christmas holidays in Val Tidone a beautiful animated nativity scene take life in an area of about 20 square meters. It is built with recycled materials and its special feature are the 27 mechanical movements that animate the characters: the child lift from the cradle, Mary leans towards him, a blacksmith working on a tool, the laundress working on the wash house, a woman cooking, a man roasts a pig.
History, nature, castles and typical products will complete a journey through picturesque locations and fabulous views, in a corner of authentic Italy.