The most important village in the Trebbia Valley, it is on the left bank of the Trebbia River, at the feet of Mount Penice. Very close to Liguria, it is beneficially affected by the sea, above all at the highest altitudes.
In the High Middle Ages Bobbio, considered a town since 1014, according to an imperial decree by Frederick II, was one of the main centres for religious culture and also a cosmopolitan art, culture and science centre.
What remains of the past, besides the codes preserved in the Archives of Bobbio, is the medieval atmosphere in the borough, made of alleys, stone houses, stately palaces, all developed around the Monastery, as well as the suggestive views of the valley. All this contributes to its fame among tourists. Bobbio has also been awarded an Orange Flag by ‘Touring Club Italiano’.
All seasons are good to appreciate this medieval borough, mainly from a naturalistic point of view, thanks to the picturesque background of the Trebbia Valley. However, mainly during the summer, Bobbio may be seen as a real, though unusual, bathing resort, with lots of bathers attracted by the cool and refreshing river waters and by the chance to enjoy the sun.
The original crooked profile of Ponte Gobbo (the hunchback bridge), one of the symbols of Bobbio, connected to the legend of Saint Columba and his fight with Satan, welcomes visitors as does the Abbey dedicated to the Irish saint, who arrived here and left and unforgettable mark.
The Abbey museum, located on the premises of the Monastery where Bobbio Scriptorium and Library once were, preserves remains ranging from the beginning of the Christian Age to the first half of the 16th century. On the other hand, the Town Museum offers the chance, thanks to multimedia stations, to plunge into the partially lost past of monasteries and amanuensis art.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, already in existence in 1075, and Saint Columba’s Abbey, where the Saint’s sarcophagus and a wonderful floor mosaic are preserved, along with Malaspina Castle, dominate the upper part of the town, another fundamental part of the visit.
You can’t leave Bobbio in the summer without first going along the Ponte Gobbo and stopping by one of the bars in the centre, enjoying a walk and the cool air, which is always a relief in the heat of the summer.
Both in the village and in the surrounding areas, which are all along the Gourmet Food and Wine Trail of Colli Piacentini, you may taste Bobbio’s macaroni, still prepared using a knitting needle and seasoned with a tomato and mushroom sauce. Not to mention the typical salty ring-shaped biscuits sold in the bakeries of the borough. And in autumn all local restaurants serve local escargot, prepared according to the complicated recipe of this area.
On Mount Penice (15 Km far), a skiing complex bearing the same name offers several ski slopes. Thanks to artificial snow, the ski resort is open from December to May. Moreover, in nearby Ceci (11 Km away) there is also a cross country ski trail.
And for those who love horseback riding, near Bobbio there is Ippovia della provincia di Piacenza (Horse Bridle Way of the Province of Piacenza) along a well marked path and with several rest areas.
Besides the several fairs connected to the local food and wine tradition, like the Mushroom and Truffle exhibition (October) and the Escargot Festival (December), Bobbio has become famous thanks to the Bobbio Film Festival (summertime) and for ‘Farecinema Workshop’, both organised by the director Marco Bellocchio, whose family comes from the borough.
Not far from the village, in San Salvatore (about 6 km away), the bends of the river Trebbia increase and create fascinating rivulets. Furthermore, the beautiful and ancient village of Brugnello, with its stone houses and church, dominates the river from a rock.
In Travo (20 km away), Parco Archeologico Villaggio Neolitico (Neolithic Village) is worth a visit, during which one can admire prehistoric remains discovered during the excavations carried out in the area since 1995.