A stroll through history at Corte Brugnatella
When the fog cloaks this valley, the village of Corte Brugnatella seems to emerge from the mists of time. It is located in the Alta Val Trebbia, along the Ligurian Apennines.
The village lies within the enchanting area known as the Appennino delle 4 Province where the mountains of the provinces of Genoa, Piacenza, Pavia and Alessandria meet.
The long history of Corte Brugnatella
The commune extends from the Val Trebbia to the Val d’Aveto, a tributary of the Trebbia. Today, the main centre is in the village of Marsaglia.
The commune’s name comes from the Brugnatelli family which founded it in the 9th century and ruled over these lands until the end of the 14th century, residing in the stronghold of Brugnello.
Marsaglia – a village between two valleys
The centre of Marsaglia is located at the confluence of two rivers and their respective valleys, which connect the plain to the sea. From the very beginning, this has been a centre of strategic importance both for trade and as a place of rest for pilgrims travelling through the area.
Some of these trails can still be followed, along the historic oil, wood and salt routes. If you drive out of the village on Statale 45, you can reach Genoa by crossing the Passo della Scoffera. If you turn off along Statale 586 towards Val d’Aveto, you will reach Chiavari instead.
Bathing in the Trebbia
The stretch of river in Marsaglia can boast some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. The landscape is magnificent, almost fairytale-like, and the large number of pools allow you to dive in and enjoy an invigorating swim.
You can also experience the thrills of kayaking and canyoning. At a gentler pace, stroll along the river to enjoy a walk in nature. From here, several routes lead to the surrounding hamlets.
Autumn in Corte Brugnatella
The area is pleasant at any time of year, but autumn is the best time to enjoy the magic of the landscape. If you love mushrooms and chestnuts, the bounty from the local forests is plentiful.
Fans of fishing can indulge in their favourite hobby on the riverbank. There is a splendid walk between Marsaglia and Bobbio, where the river carves through the mountain, creating an impressive canyon.
The village of Brugnello
If you haven’t heard enough reasons for visiting Corte Brugnatella yet, add the delightful village of Brugnello to your list.
It is located on a spur of rock overlooking the valley. Continue to the back of the small church of Santi Cosma e Damiano. Looking out from behind the apse you will have a breathtaking view of the loops of the azure river below.
Another beautiful vantage point is San Salvatore. From here, the river seems to take the shape of an elephant. The locals named it Surus, after Hannibal’s elephant.
Return to the centre of Marsaglia to lose yourself in the cobbled streets winding between stone houses with slate roofs. Then stop at a trattoria for lunch: traditional cuisine from Emilia-Romagna is served here.
The most important festivities held in Corte Brugnatella are dedicated to St Joseph and St Rita. If you are visiting on 14 August, don’t miss the Festa al Campo di Ozzola.
Marsaglia hosts the Festa del Salamino (Salami Festival) on 1 and 2 November.
Calendimaggio (May Day) is another very popular festival. Traditionally, a choir goes from house to house wishing the occupants a happy spring and in return receives a gift of eggs.
A tour of the surroundings
The hamlet of Pieve di Montarsolo is famous for the monastic cell of St Columbanus. Also not to be missed is the Church of San Giacomo, which dates back to the 9th century.
Not far away, in Ozzola, are the remains of a very old church, built from the rubble of an even older castle. Today, you can visit the 15th-century Church of Sant’Antonio.