An easy cycle path (ideal for beginners) around Salsomaggiore and Tabiano Hills.
This path is 35 km long on the paved street and it runs through the most suggestive places of this territory.
The path starts in Salsomaggiore; if you arrive in this city by car we suggest you park in the free car parking in Lavoro Street.
Salsomaggiore Terme is known for its waters’ properties and thanks to this natural treasure, around the middle of the XIX century the first spa building was built in the city.
Don’t forget to take a look at Berzieri thermal building, Palazzo dei Congressi (in the XIX century it was the Grand Hotel des Thermes) and Parco Mazzini. Here you can’t ignore the railway station and the Tommasini Civic Court built at the beginning of the XIX century.
By bike you have to ride along Marconi Street and here the street starts to rise towards Tabiano. At the top of the hill you must pause to admire the landscape and, if you want, you can make a little detour and visit the medieval village with its castle (Tabiano Castello).
In this small medieval village today it is possible to stay and visit the Castle built in the Middle Ages by the powerful marquises Pallavicino to control the Via Francigena and the salt wells in the area.
Once you’ve left Tabiano, continuing on the road to Fidenza, you will find the locality of Cabriolo where you can visit the parish Church dedicated to Saint Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury who belonged to the Order of the Templars.
This parish church was built in the XII century along “Via Francigena”, the famous route of pilgrimage that connects pilgrims from Western Europe to Rome.
From the municipal road to Banzola, just past the center of Pieve di Cusignano, a demanding climb begins between fields and vineyards that leads to the town of Montemanulo, where an oratory has stood for at least two hundred and fifty years.
Despite repeated renovations, the current structure of the Pieve reveals the original plan. The ancient church was divided into three naves, concluded by brick faces, decorated with frames, lowered and resting on large pillars, eight of which have been brought back to their original freshness of lines with the complete removal of the eighteenth-century walls that concealed their shapes. The restoration brought to light the round columns made of split river stones, surmounted by capitals rebuilt during the restoration, in terracotta.
From the city center of Salsomaggiore ride along via Milano towards Contignaco. After about 4 km you have to turn into via Fornacchia.
The church dedicated to Saint Vittore preserves in its inside an altarpiece that shows Virgin Mary, the Holy Child and Saint Vittore painted in 1731 by Giovan Battista Tagliasacchi.
The church preserves also a wooden statue of Saint Joseph dated to the XVIII century.
The church was built from scratch between 1955 and 1957 after the original church’s breakdown happened in 1949.
The project used was made by the architect Giuseppe Botti. This new project was based on simple architectural lines and a romanic appeal connected to the surviving medieval bell tower.
Running across the road that goes to Pellegrino and near Salsomaggiore city center there’s Saint John the Baptist parish church.
This is a romanic parish church built in the XII century; in the XIV century it was fortified to withstand assaults.
Between 1781 and 1789 it was transformed following the baroque style.
Starting from Popolo square ride along Dante street, then turn to the left and go along Milano street. Continue in Patrioti street and after 3 km turn to the right and follow the directions for Contignaco castle.
This castle was built around the XI century by Alberto Pallavicino.
The main tower, still well preserved today, goes back to 1030. The castle was Pallavicino’s manor until 1315 when the family Aldigheri from Parma conquered it because they wanted to control some of the saltworks in this territory.
Aldigheri from Parma lived in this castle until 1537 then the ancient castle changed its owners many times and was also rebuilt several times.