In the heart of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, the Tassobbio valley is a territory that stands out for its geo-morphological characteristics and biodiversity: about 100 square kilometers, fascinating and almost unknown. A valley rich in woods, meadows, waterfalls and springs, medieval villages and castles, archaeological remains. Looking down on the course of Tassobbio you see that it draws an anomalous S, with a stretch that seems to go "against the tide", from the plain towards the mountain: a peculiar consequence of the phenomenon of "river capture" that gave rise to the valley.
Included in the UNESCO Mab Reserve of the Apennines, the territory offers many itineraries between nature and history to be covered by car, but also on foot thanks to the dense network of CAI trails, or by bike, with trails dedicated to mtb.
The valley can be reached from different directions, as the Tassobbio torrent rises near Marola, in the municipality of Carpineti, and flows parallel to the Apennine chain until it flows into the Enza river, in the municipality of Vetto.
You can explore the valley along the SS 63 from Reggio Emilia to Casina, using the Castle of Sarzano as a starting point.
For those who arrive in Val d'Enza along the SS 513, the Tassobbio Valley is full of pine woods, with picturesque historic villages.
The first day we explore the western part of the Valley.
Driving along the SS 513 we turn at Compiano di Canossa to climb among dense woods up to the medieval villages of Piagnolo and Scalucchia, which preserve ancient stone buildings.
Near the village you can visit, surrounded by unspoilt nature, the waterfall of Rio Tassaro, a jump of water of 7 meters embedded in a narrow gorge where the sun never beats.
Continuing, you will arrive at Crovara, site of an ancient castle now reduced to ruins. A place full of atmosphere, with its church overlooking the void and a small museum that tells the life of the place.
A short distance away, nestled in the woods, is the pre-historic site of Monte Lulseto, unique in its kind in this area: it is a sanctuary consisting of rocks engraved in various ways to perform ancient rituals.
Continue for a couple of kilometers, until the small village of Legoreccio, with its fifteenth-century tower house of the Terzi family, the medieval border between Parma and Reggio Emilia. Then you reach Pineto, where three medieval houses of the Counts Da Palude are still visible, in the smallest of which the prisons are still almost intact.
At this point it is a must to stop and have lunch in one of the local restaurants, there are several and all make homemade and traditional cuisine; the tortelli are the masters, as well as desserts with recipes handed down from generations.
The second day starts from the Sarzano Castle , a medieval fortress located on a hill above the village of Casina, a strategic point to control the territory in the past, and still today a crossroads of paths and roads. The Castle can be reached about 2 km after turning for Casina at the junction of the SS63; owned by the municipality, it is restored and open to the public; inside the small village there is also a restaurant with rooms.
From here you can start on foot, by bike or by car going down to the village of Cortogno, ancient and famous for the production of high quality Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. From Cortogno continue the roads and paths to explore the valley bottom, or to go up to Monchio delle Olle and other ancient villages of the valley.
Another interesting glimpse of Val Tassobbio is located among the hills in the municipality of Casina. Along the SS63 junction of Migliara you have the opportunity to admire an ancient landscape, with small villages, churches and oratories immersed in the fields of fodder cultivated by the farms that produce Parmigiano Reggiano.
Leguigno, with its perfectly preserved castle and Pianzo, with the medieval Church of Santa Maria, are two places worth visiting. Both formerly owned by the Fogliani family of Reggio Emilia, the Castle of Leguigno is now private property and cannot be visited inside, while the thirteenth-century Church of Santa Maria is today one of the places protected by the FAI because it preserves some details of great historical and architectural value.