Castle of Bianello
We are in the province of Reggio Emilia and we go to discover the streets, but above all the castles of Matilde di Canossa, one of the most powerful and influential people who lived during the Middle Ages.
At a time when women were considered inferior to men, Matilda came into contact with kings and princes, affirming her legacy as one of the most important and influential people of that period.
The first stop on our itinerary is the Castle of Bianello, in the municipality of Quattro Castella.
Built on a natural balcony on the first hills of the Reggio Apennines, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view, this castle is the only survivor of the four fortifications on the hills that give the name to the municipal territory.
Here, Matilda lived almost habitually and hosted Henry IV. And here again, in 1111 she was proclaimed by him imperial vicar (i.e. vice-queen, ed.) of Italy by Henry V.
Today it can only be visited with a guided tour of about 50 minutes.
Castle of Rossena
Get back on the motorhome and point the navigator towards the Castle of Rossena, still well preserved. A small staircase leads to the fort consisting of the central core of the inner tower and 21 rooms arranged on several levels. From the windows, let your gaze wander over the rolling hills, while inside the rooms look at 17th-18th century frescoes and Dutch-inspired ceramic friezes.
There is also the Torre di Rossenella, a watchtower that can be reached with a convenient path.
If your dream is to sleep in a castle, here you can realize it: today, the Castle of Rossena houses a hostel with 54 beds.
Castello di Canossa
Only ruins remain instead for the Castle of Canossa. We are less than 15 kilometers from the Castle of Rossena. The fortress, or rather, what remains of it, dominates the Val d 'Enza since 940, when it was built by the then Count of Mantua Adalberto Atto di Canossa.
The castle is open from Tuesday to Sunday with continuous hours and it is possible to book a guided tour to be agreed with the ticket office. The flagship is the small National Museum that is located right in the Castle and which houses a baptismal font of the twelfth century.
The itinerary continues in the province of Parma, to reach the Castle of Torrechiara, a fifteenth-century manor located on top of a panoramic rocky hill and the scene of a romantic courteous love story. It is worth a visit inside for its many frescoed rooms.
To sleep in a motorhome there is a rest area in Vico di Canossa, at the beginning of the path that leads to the Castle of Rossena and Canossa. We are in the heart of the Italian food valley, laute snacks await you.
Wake up early and leave for Polesine Zibello in the province of Parma, a few steps from the river Po.
Here, a must-see is the Antica Corte Pallavicina, a farm that houses a relais, a starred restaurant and the Museum of Culatello and masalén.
The exposed bricks are the stylistic figure of some of the most iconic monuments of Polesine Zibello, from the Palazzo Pallavicino with its beautiful portico to the Parish Church of Saints Gervaso and Protasio, in late Gothic style.
Is the big screen your passion? Find time for a stop at the “Il Cinematografo” Museum, in the former Convent of the Dominican Fathers, where more than 600 objects that have made the history of cinema are preserved.
From Polesine we continue towards the neighboring places of Verdi: Roncole Verdi, a hamlet of Busseto, and Villa Sant'Agata, places of the heart of Master Giuseppe Verdi, who was born there, lived there and developed his musical genius. The main square of the town and the Theatre, inaugurated in 1868, are also dedicated to the composer.
Continuing you will arrive at Castell'Arquato, known as "City of Wine" and renowned film set of some scenes of Ladyhawke. The medieval village, very well preserved, belongs to the 100 most beautiful villages in Italy, not stopping is a mortal sin.
Walking along its winding alleys, look up not to miss the crenellated walls of the Rocca Viscontea , the Palazzo del Podestà and the Palazzo-Museo Casa Stradivari, elegant with their "dovetail" tops.
San Pietro in Cerro
23 kilometers separate you from the next destination, the Castle of San Pietro in Cerro, in the province of Piacenza. Austere and compact on the outside, it will amaze you with the elegance of its cloisters. Attention, however: it is said that the fortress is still inhabited by the spirit of Agatha, a young woman who, after the death by hanging of the squire with whom she was in love, took her own life by throwing herself from the keep.
To stop by camper, after the visit, you can use the parking area in via Don Mezzadri in Monticelli d 'Ongina.
Castle of Gropparello
Time to dedicate to the little ones. Today we go to the Castle of Gropparello, a perfect break for those who are with the whole family thanks to the Fairytale Park, the first emotional park for children in Italy, where the Middle Ages are staged every day.
Castle you go, ghost you find. Here, infesting towers and halls is the ghost of Rosania, walled alive by her betrayed husband. It is said that, at night, in the corridors of the castle you can still hear the wailing and crying of the young woman.
Moving again you get to Bobbio, recognized since 2006 as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and in 2009 Borgo dei Borghi. To reach the center, you will have to cross the Ponte del Diavolo, on the Trebbia river: it is said that it was built by Lucifer himself to scare the monks of San Colombano to the point of preventing him from crossing. You, however, do not be intimidated by the legend: on the other hand, the fifteenth-century Duomo, the Malaspina Castle and the bobbiese macaroni await you, a delight for the palate.
If you are traveling in good weather, take a walk along the river. In summer you can swim between pools and small rapids.
Last stop is the city of Piacenza, with the Palazzo Farnese and the unfinished Visconti citadel, now home to the Civic Museums.
Before returning home, treat yourself to delicacies. The Coppa Piacenza, the Pancetta and the Salami Piacenza, the Provolone Valpadana, all DOP products that rewrite the concept of souvenirs.