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Home Apennines and Nature The Po river in the lowlands Along the river Po and Piacenza's 'Bassa' (lowlands)

Along the river Po and Piacenza's 'Bassa' (lowlands)

The Po River slowly flows for one hundred kilometres across the territory of Piacenza and marks its Northern border joining history and landscape in an age-old combination and a typically ‘Padanian’ identity thanks to the charm of extraordinary river locations with their own atmosphere, culture and natural environments.

 

Winter on the Po

 

The ‘Bassa’ (low Padana Valley) is a unique environment including the Eastern side of the Po River in the province of Piacenza and is characterised by fascinating autumn fogs as well as peculiar bright, sunny days. An unmatched landscape, with a magic atmosphere beyond time or space.


Along its banks, besides the castles and the rows of poplars, visitors can find a mix of history, traditions and tastes regarding nature, the solid and hospitable ‘Emilian’ way of life, good food and wine, music, and singing, as well as passed on, genuine traditions.


A place where the traveller may go along the ’Strada del Po e dei Sapori della Bassa Piacentina’ (The Road of the Po and the Flavours of the “Bassa piacentina” - lowlands) (www.stradadelpo.it) and get lost among excellent cured meats and cheeses. These can be enjoyed after visiting a castle or the centre of a town or after biking along the river banks or listening to a traditional local “fola” told by a zealous innkeeper.


Monticelli - Pallavicino CastleThe trail starts from Caorso, protected by a fortress which is today the headquarters of the Municipality, and continues on to Monticelli d’Ongina, a typical river town with a central part wholly made of arcades and dominated by the Pallavicino Castle. The castle is enriched by a small ,precious chapel frescoed by Bembo and contains the Aquarium and Po Ethnographic Museum.


The next stop is Castelvetro, a typical Low Padana Valley town with the 18th century San Giovanni Battista church which welcomes visitors and where a 16th century painting of the Assumption of Mary by Vincenzo Campi can be admired.


Going across a rural landscape scattered with farms and their open yards as well as big and small estates,  you will reach Villanova sull’Arda and then Sant’Agata where you may see Villa Verdi, where the Master Verdi himself lived from adulthood to the last years of his life; the interior of the villa has original furniture, is packed full of memorabilia, and welcomes the visitor starting from the large and luxurious romantic park, designed by the composer himself.


Going past the Verdian sites you will reach San Pietro in Cerro, where the well preserved massive castle, with its many richly furnished rooms, is the setting of the innovative MIM (Museum in Motion) dedicated to modern art, with more than five hundred works by contemporary Italian and foreign artists.


After Besenzone, a little town whose stately mansions confirm a flourishing farming tradition, the next stop is Cortemaggiore, an ideal Renaissance town with its perfect rectangular plan, upon specific request of Pallavicino, and the wonderful Santa Maria delle Grazie Collegiate Church, the Franciscan monastery and the remarkable Santissima Annunziata church. We suggest stopping by the famous antiques market, held every first Sunday of the month from February to December.


It is possible to sail along this part of the river, being lulled, amid nature and traditions, by the slow flow of the river.

From the dock in S. Nazzaro di Monticelli, the motorboat Calpurnia will take you on a short excursion and you’ll be able to have lunch in a typical ‘trattoria’ along the river; or you might sail for the whole day, stopping in Roncarolo, near Caorso, a river town full of stories, traditions and legends connected to the Po River.


In both cases, you’ll sail past the wonderful Oasi De Pinedo, where many animal species live, among which, for example, the Red Heron, the Western Marsh Harrier and Lateste’s frog. (www.piacenzaturismi.net)

Or you may leave on Sunday with the motorboat Rigoletto. When the water level is high enough, besides sailing past Polesine Parmense, Gerre de' Caprioli and Cremona, it reaches Parco Fluviale di Isola Giarola (Giarona Island’s River Park) located in the Flood Plain near Villanova sull'Arda. (www.vapensieroviaggi.com)


Here several opportunities are available: a bicycle ride after renting the bike here or a horse riding excursion, a guided, ecological-environmental excursion enabling one to enjoy the beauty of the park; or a life trail to keep fit,  or recreational fishing or even bird-watching. Without forgetting to have a snack in the picnic area or to taste local products in the typical restaurants and ‘trattorie’.


For more info:

Local site: Piacenza

Last modified Jun 29, 2017

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