A dip into the Middle Ages and the Reinassance with the most beautiful villages of Italy located in Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia
In the year 2020 the village of Montechiarugolo (Parma) was added to the list "The most beautiful villages of Italy" and it's only the latest recognition to a land rich in history and memory that knows how to preserve its jewels. Surrounded by the nature of Tuscan- Emilian Appennines, or located on the banks of the Po river, a series of fascinating spots becomes an inspiration for an authentic time travel trough some of the most beautiful villages of Italy, that preserve intact and clear signs of the past written on the stones of the streets, buildings and castels in the provinces of Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia.
As it often happens for those villages that seem preserved intact in a medieval bell jar, Montechiarugolo grew around its majestic castle. The promotion among the few Italian municipalities able to promote its own historical, urban and architectural heritage, does justice to this place whose charm is undeniable, founded around 10th century, and haunted, according to the legend, by the ghost of the fairy Bema.
According to documents, Compiano was fortified in the 11th century and together with the village of Bardi has a short history of institutional territorial state, probably due to the nature of defensive bulwark of upper Val Taro. Useless to say, in this setting, the true protagonist in this village is the castle, proudly built on a rocky outcrop, designed as an invincible fortress, where noble palaces and tower houses are alternated in a architectural competition to dominate the hilly streets. All around, the protective fortress walls, in a plant, whose focus is the square with a panoramic view over the valley.
In a interweaving of roads and alleys full of history and legends, the village of Bobbio is bound to the story of San Colombano Abbey, a majestic building in Late Gothic and Reinassance style, founded by order of the abbot Agilulfo at the beginning of the 7th century, preserves the amazing decorative painting by Bernardino Lanzani from San Colombano al Lambro. Immersed in the lush and metamorphic natural setting of Val Trebbia, the "Village of villages" also shows elegant civic symbols such as Malaspina Castle and the Old Bridge, a true architectural jewel, a charming and multilayered monument to human genius.
Strolling along the streets of Castell'Arquato means to forget the present and travel back in time, for the views and architectures seem unchanged through centuries. Member of the club "most beautiful villages of Italy", hometown of librettist Luigi Illica, built on a hill with a square on the top, where you find Palazzo del Podestà and Collegiata: the baptismal font and the west porch testify several works that took place throughout time. Rocca Viscontea and Torrione Farnese let you remember the great past of House Sforza, which was also on the big screen in some scenes of the film "Lady Hawke".
With a mixture of different styles, between Baroque and Reinassance, Pieve di San Giorgio is one of those emblematic architectures that explain the reason why the village of Vigoleno has been listed among the "most beautiful villages of Italy". The surrounding crenellated walls seem to hug and protect the ancient elegance of a panoramic centre dominaring Val Stirone, with a square tower of its legendary castle, where the duchess Maria Ruspoli Grammont Hugo hosted famous people such as Gabriele D'Annunzio, Max Ernst and Jean Cocteau.
Gualtieri (Reggio Emilia)
Located close to the left side of the Po River, Gualtieri shows its medieval origins but in particular its amazing development during Reinassance, which is visibile in the scenographic square designed by Giovan Battista Aleotti, where you find The Clock Tower, Collegiata di Santa Maria della Neve and Palazzo Bentivoglio. The latter hosts surprising halls such as Sala dei Giganti (the Giants' hall) and Sala di Icaro (Icarus' hall) hosting stage costumes made by the taylor Umberto Tirelli and paintings by artists such as De Chirico and Guttuso, and Antonio Ligabue Museum, dedicated to one of the most famous Italian naive painters, who lived in Gualtieri for most part of its artistic period and died in 1965.