Parma (18 km)
Where it is
This is a little village on a hill near Langhirano, at about 18 km from Parma and not far from the Apennines and it rises about 80 metres above the valley floor. Its particular position on a hill dominates the nearby valley where the Parma river flows between the town and the adjacent mountain.
This beautiful little village is famous for its castle built between 1448 and 1460 by the nobleman Pier Maria Rossi and is considered one of the better preserved of the Province, with extraordinary frescoes in the Camera d?'Oro and grotesques by Cesare Baglione dating back to the end of the 16th century.
Where to visit and what to see
In the spring, nearby hills and woods are in bloom and make the view from the Castle out over all the valley unforgettable.
The Torrechiara Castle is an important example of 15th century architecture and even if it is on a hill, it presents the typical regular design of a plains castle: the original structure has remained intact since the castle was not only conceived as a fortification but also as a residence for accommodating a noble court.
The compromise between its military function and its residential function kept it from undergoing the structural changes and additions common to many buildings built as fortresses and subsequently modified to be made into noble residences at the end of feudal fighting. The castle has three rings of walls and four angular towers.
On the banks of the Parma River, the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria della Neve was founded by Pier Maria Rossi for his son Ugolino, incorporating a preexisting Romanesque church, altered and decorated with a terracotta cornice of late Gothic taste and a rose window in an eccentric position on the hut-shaped façade.
Both the sacristy and the bell tower are of the 17th century and the interior has a single nave with only two chapels. In the refectory, restorations have uncovered 18th century medallions with realistic landscapes and fantastic architecture and in the antique capitulary room there are lunettes with biblical scenes. The lovely belvedere is also of the 18th century, with a fine railing in a wrought iron and frescoes.
In the Abbey there is a bee keeping workshop with the sale of honey and royal jelly but also herbal teas, creams and other products, all made using ancient herbalist traditions and recipes of the Historical Pharmacy of the Monastery of Saint John Evangelist of Parma.
A romantic tour among the quiet hills of Torrechiara with tastings, exciting visits, and ancient music for a unique Valentine's day is recommended. In summertime not to miss the Torrechiara Festival, dedicated to the soprano Renata Tebaldi, one of the most famous lyric singers of the 20th century.
Placed at the mouth of the Parma River valley, there is the town of Langhirano with its Ham Museum. Housed in the ex Foro Boario a splendid example of rural architecture built in 1928, used for the trading of livestock, the Ham Museum takes visitors on a journey, in order to discover the reasons why and how Langhirano has become the homeland of a real masterpiece: the Parma Ham.
Strada al Castello, 10
43013 Langhirano (PR)
Tel. ++39 0521-355009
Fax ++39 0521-355821
Opening: Open troughout the year
How to reach
Urban & extra-urban line TEP Parma
Parma - Langhirano
From Parma (19 km), follow Via Langhirano direction south or South ring road exit 15 Via Langhirano.
Last update: 31/01/2013