Two days in Val Nure between nature and taste

Colli piacentini at the table and on a stroll

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An itinerary that combines a gastronomic tour of typical Piacenza products and an excursion into the nature of the Val Nure, Piacenza's most unspoiled valley.

Even the poorest materials give great satisfaction in the kitchen, if well processed and presented. Among the various types of stuffed pasta typical of Piacenza, the most special form is the tortello con la coda, which originated in Vigolzone in honor of the arrival of the poet Francesco Petrarca
Going up the Nure Valley, the taste stops not to be missed are: Albarola, where you can taste fig pie; Bettola for its fried bortellina; and Farini, to savor potato pie.

All around, the landscape changes, going from the flat area that is home to the village of Grazzano Visconti to the very first high ground with the industrial archaeology of Ponte dell'Olio, all the way to the Upper Nure Valley, full of paths, ancient lakes and woods, where you can enjoy long walks and splendid views, far from the city chaos.

  • Length
    48 hours
  • Interests
    Food Valley
  • Target
  • First stop - Grazzano Visconti Grazzano Visconti

    Leaving the city of Piacenza and taking the Nure Valley, a first stop that is a must is Grazzano Visconti.

    This village is the brainchild of Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone, who inherited a castle of 14th-century origin and transformed it into an eclectic setting, surrounding it with a true medieval, neo-Gothic-style village.

    Strolling through the cobblestone streets of the village allows one to take a dip into the past, which takes one back to the fashions of the early 20th century and the intrigues of a very numerous family, painted by Giuseppe himself under the Institution building. Among the sons appears the most illustrious, director Luchino Visconti.

  • Second stop - Vigolzone Vigolzone

    We then set off again toward Vigolzone, in search of an osteria that offers tortello con la coda. Once under the rule of the Anguissola family, the castle was home to the poet Francesco Petrarca. 

    It is said that the noble Bernardo Anguissola ordered his maids, in his honor, to make the stuffed pastry dumplings prettier. Thus was born the typical weaving of these particular tortelli, which even today can only be made by hand. The filling is made with ricotta and herbs, while for the sauce you can choose between butter and sage or mushroom sauce.

    As a dessert, in the right season you can ask for the fig cake from Albarola, a small village that is located a short distance from the town and hosts in its territory a remarkable country villa and one of the wineries that produce DOC Colli Piacentini.

  • Third stop - Bettola Bettola

    At the end of lunch, we set off south again. A bridge over the Nure stream leads to Ponte dell'Olio, where a local example of industrial archaeology is preserved: the old Cementi Rossi furnaces.

    Continuing on we reach the next stop, Bettola. This town, lively especially during the summer, has a monument to Christopher Columbus in its square. In fact, it is believed that the famous explorer's family originated from Bettola itself.
    There is in the township the Christopher Columbus Tower, which can be visited by appointment, while nearby, climbing up the hill is an imposing keep attributable to the ducal family of Piacenza, the Farnese.

    Bettola is also a stop to look for satisfactions for the palate, because it is the home of the bortellina bettolese, a kind of pancake made from water and flour that looks like a golden and crispy "puffy", excellent to accompany cured meats and cheeses. Try it as an appetizer during dinner, before a good night's sleep.

  • Fourth stop - Farini Farini

    In the morning we head back to the hills and in Farini it is a must to try the typical potato pie.

    According to tradition, on the day dedicated to San Savino, potatoes bruised during the harvest were boiled and mashed. This was then combined with sautéed lard, butter, onions and some grated cheese. With the filling a pastry was stuffed then baked in the oven.

    The product is suitable as an appetizer or snack, but it is also an excellent take-away food to enjoy during a picnic.

  • Fifth stop - Monte Aserei excursion Farini

    It is now time for a hike on foot. From Farini you take the road to the hamlet of Mareto. You leave your car here and set off on a hiking loop (of intermediate difficulty) around Mount Aserei: about 11 kilometers, to be tackled equipped with a map, water and appropriate clothing.

    The CAI reference trails are 027 and 151. From Mareto continue to the town of Fontanone, where the actual loop begins. For the ascent you continue westward, heading toward Cima Liscaro, while for the return you proceed in an easterly direction.

    From the top of Mount Aserei (1432 m) you can admire both the Nure and Trebbia valleys: the spectacle is particularly fascinating in spring, when the pastures are in bloom. The meadows used for grazing also offer adequate space for a lunch stop.

    For details of the route, consult the visitpiacenza website and the dedicated printed guides, on sale in the area.
    Having reached the end of the walk, it is time to return regenerated toward home, looking forward to planning the next excursion to the Piacenza hills.

Last update 03/04/2024

Information offices

IAT Grazzano Visconti, Val Nure & Val Chero
Viale del Castello, 2 - Vigolzone (PC)
+ 39 0523 870997 Opening: seasonal

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