In Rivalta, through alleys and castles, in search of the ghost
Rivalta is a green hamlet in Gazzola not far from Piacenza, located within the Parco Regionale Fluviale del Trebbia.
The park’s most precious jewel is the Borgo di Rivalta, home to one of the most beautiful castles in the Piacenza area.
The Castello di Rivalta
Since the 14th century, the fortified citadel in Rivalta has been the residence of the counts Zanardi Landi.
The castle is now part of the circuit of the Castelli of the Duchy of Parma, Piacenza and Pontremoli and houses the Museo di Arte Sacra and Museo del Costume Militare museums.
The view of the valley from the castle is amazing at any time of year. A breathtaking fireworks display is added on New Year’s Eve.
The fortifications date back to the 11th century when the Malaspina family lived here, but the Landi have owned the castle since the 14th century. At the end of the 19th century, it passed to the counts Zanardi Landi, another branch of the powerful Landi family. The family continues to live in the castle, surrounded by magnificent parklands.
During your visit you can see the original furnishings dating back to the 1500s and a magnificent hall of arms commemorating the Battle of Lepanto. Climb the tower for a view of the valley and the hills.
Also stop by the Church of San Martino with its wooden ceiling. It dates back to the 1400s and houses works by the painter Ferrante di Bologna.
The castle ghost
No self-respecting castle would be without a ghost.
Rivalta is home to the ghost of the cook Giuseppe, who, according to legend, still roams the kitchens and also shows up from time to time in the hall of arms.
Among the alleys of Rivalta
For a different perspective on the castle, take a walk through the alleys of the village. You can’t help but catch glimpses of the tower with its tall spire which dominates the landscape.
On the opposite bank are the castles of Montechiaro and Rivergaro, which together with the castles of Statto and Rivalta controlled access to the valley along the Caminus Ianuae – an ancient thoroughfare that connected the area to the Ligurian Sea.
The Albergo Diffuso
An Albergo Diffuso guesthouse called Residenza Torre San Martino was recently opened in Rivalta.
It is located in one of the village buildings and offers 10 charming rooms with period furniture, four-poster beds, silks and velvets, paintings and historical prints.
The Albergo Diffuso also includes cottages – historic rural dwellings restored and furnished with period furniture under fascinating wooden ceilings.
How to have fun in Rivalta
Rivalta is anything but a sleepy village only offering lazy walks.
Just over a mile away, along the river, is the Croara Country Club, a golf course 18-hole course in an idyllic natural setting.
In the surrounding area there are numerous trails for walking, horse riding or cycling.
And at the end of the day, treat yourself to a trip to the wellness centre.
A stroll in the surroundings
The neo-medieval village of Grazzano Visconti is located 10 miles from the village of Rivalta in the Nure Valley. About 18 miles along the scenic Statale 4, you’ll find Bobbio, where you can see the Ponte Gobbo bridge and the Abbey of St Columbanus.
The Castello di Agazzano is located in the Val Luretta, 4 miles away. From here you can continue to Rocca d’Olgisio, passing through vineyard-covered hills.
There is a magnificent view of the Apennines from the castle.