That Salsomaggiore Terme is an outpost of health has not been a secret for at least a century.
However, only the locals and the habitué of the town are aware of more particular itineraries, such as the Giro della Lucciola, which already from the name, borrowed from that of a historic restaurant now closed, suggests a certain familiarity with the territory.
After a morning spent at the thermal center, with a pair of trainers on, we leave from Piazza Berzieri, right in front of the legendary thermal complex, to head towards the Francani Sports Center. Here the slope begins to grow, the plain rises and the journey forgets the city character to immerse yourself in the hills, conquer the town of Marzano and touch the summit, from which there is a splendid view that also embraces the Castle of Contignaco, Fortezza degli Aldighieri.
The ring shape of the route allows you to continue and descend towards Salsomaggiore, caught behind the post office building and back again in the profile of the Thermae Berzieri.
Located in the heart of Salsomaggiore Terme, the building, symbol of the city, is the work of the Tuscan architects Ugo Giusti and Giulio Bernardini and was inaugurated on May 27, 1923. The internationally renowned florentine painter and decorator Galileo Chini (1873-1956) took care of the apparatus decorations of this building, in which evident elements of Chinese oriental, Islamic and Hindu culture emerge, which Chini learned from his previous experiences in the oriental world.
Inside, a monumental marble staircase leads to the first floor, where you can admire a splendid diptych, the work of Chini himself and depicting autumn and spring, seasons traditionally chosen for thermal treatments. On the counter-façade, the "Triptych of Hygieia", painted by the artist Giuseppe Moroni (1888-1959), recalls the function of the building dedicated to the cult of water and health.
The Berzieri Thermae overlook the homonymous square, recently renovated to a design by the architect Emilio Faroldi. It is characterized by a minimal structure, with stone materials of Brazilian origin, inhomogeneous both in color and due to the presence of inserts with fossil figures. The metal material of some containment and furniture elements is in line with the eclectic architecture, while the fountain has geometries that allude to a grand piano and recalls the thermal vocation of the city. The square hosts two works by Giorgio Milani: the first is a trapezoidal wedge emerging from the fountain; the other, on the east side, is composed of a pavement poetary with words and phrases related to the town, in the center of which you can admire a small salamander, symbol of Salsomaggiore Terme.
Outside, sharpen your eyes and look for:
Contignaco Castle was built around the 11th century by Adalberto Pallavicino; it seems that the main tower, over 30 meters high and still well preserved today, dates to 1030. Initially a fief of the Pallavicino family, in 1315 it was conquered by the Aldighieri family of Parma to control some salt pans in the area. The Aldighieri of Parma (later called "di Contignaco") held it until 1537; subsequently the castle changed its owner several times and was also rebuilt several times.
The castle is surrounded by splendid specimens of oaks, cedars, cypresses and laurels. There is a majestic centuries-old oak, with a trunk over two meters in diameter, located at the entrance. Today the manor is home to a farm that produces wine.
Returning towards Salsomaggiore, the walk ends in front of the Postelegraphic Building, or Palazzo delle Poste of Salsomaggiore Terme, in Piazzale Giustizia, within a green area owned by the municipality on the top of a slight hill that favors the grandeur of the building.
Designed in 1933 by architect Renzo Beretta and engineer Dino Torelli, the building is linear and sober in shape, in a modernized classic style, with a wide entrance staircase.
The elements that characterize the facade, concentrated in the structure of the central body, are three large openings with semicircular marble columns that support the cornice and confer celebratory grandeur. The main floor, very bright, houses the halls of the counters that welcome the public.