A trip to Gropparello, the beating heart of the Vezzeno Valley
Between the Chero and Riglio streams, 30 km from Piacenza, lies the small municipality of Gropparello, which is easily accessible by car along a scenic road through the hills of the Vezzeno Valley.
The landscape is characterised by vineyards and woods that lead you to the village, which is home to a castle and towers. The area has a very mild climate, meaning you can visit all year round, but during autumn it takes on a particularly unique charm thanks to the warm colours of the leaves that fill the surrounding forests.
What a beautiful castle!
The Gropparello Castle dates back to the 8th century and is famous for its strategic position that has made it unassailable over the centuries. Built on the top of a steep cliff to defend the route into the valley, today this fortress enchants all who visit.
After fifteen years of neglect, the castle was bought in 1994 by its current owners, who, in addition to making it their home, have turned it into a place that anyone can visit to appreciate local history and art.
With the Castle being Gropparello's main attraction, this small town in the Piacenza area is the perfect destination for family-friendly holidays. In fact, numerous activities are organised to involve even the youngest children and there are various different itineraries you can choose from, based on age group.
A jam-packed calendar of events
Gropparello is as small as it is full of life. Almost every month the Castle team organises themed parties, festivals and events. Most promote local products and activities with the aim of raising awareness of local traditions and customs.
The Fairytale Park is the ideal destination for nature walks and picnics. It has earned itself the title of an “emotional park”, due to the frequent historical re-enactments that are organised, during which you will find yourself catapulted into a fantasy world bursting with knights and magical creatures.
The Corsa dei Carretti takes place in early spring to kick-start the season. This activity challenges participating teams to speed down the steep road from the castle in carts.
The Festa dell'Allegria (Festival of Happiness) combines fun, music and sport and lasts for several days during the month of June. This charming event also offers you the opportunity to savour local specialities with food and wine tastings.
The Festa dell’Uva (Grape Festival) is held in September during harvest time. Children can take part in the crushing of the grapes, which always attracts plenty of eager participants.
The Bersani Nativity Scenes–life-size–run from 8 December to 6 January and are set up along the village streets of Bersani.
Splendid paintings also adorn the walls and doors of the houses: from Sleeping Beauty to Snow White, you can admire depictions of the most famous fairy tales. Of course, it is a magical place to visit at other times of the year too.
Finally, the Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori dei Colli Piacentini (Wine and Flavours Route of the Piacenza Hills) association promotes and organises tours to discover the food and wine delights of the area.
Sport and adventure
Unmissable outdoor activities in the area include the horseback riding, surrounded by the enchanting landscapes of the Gropparello area.
For the sportier visitors, there are trekking and mountain biking trails galore, with a variety of difficulty levels.
One of the easiest trails is the Rio Rosello Trail, a round trip that takes about an hour and a half and offers breathtaking views of the watercourse that will accompany you throughout your walk. The path is strewn with small fossils that often emerge from the water.
An alternative walk leads to the Riglio Waterfalls, which are small but impressive.
If you have always wanted to spend a night in a castle, you can do just that in Gropparello by booking the suite at the Torre del Barbagianni.
This gives you the unique opportunity to stay in the village for a few more hours and delight your palate with typical local dishes: from game to mushrooms, from wines to cheeses, the area offers a broad choice of delicious products.
We recommend pisarei e faso, chisolini, tortelli alla piacentina and bortellina, all paired with a fantastic local wine.
A local peculiarity is the fact that they eat so many snacks that these often replace dinner!
Boredom is not an option! Nearby, you can find other small villages, castles and bell towers that make the landscape even more impressive.
These include the Castle of Montechino, the castles of Tavasca and Veggiola, now converted into villas, and the Castle of Sariano. Undeniable beauty!