Along the road that leads from Piacenza to Castell’Arquato, not far from Gropparello, lies the district of Carpaneto Piacentino, spread out between the fertile plain and the hills covered with vineyards and woods.
It would appear that the origins of Carpaneto go back to Roman times, when there was perhaps a connection with Veleia, an important Roman municipium that is now an archaeological site open to visitors.
In the Middle Ages the village of Carpaneto was the scene of clashes between tGuelphs and Ghibellines, and belonged to important families, including the Anguissola and the Scotti.
Today in the area of Carpaneto the traditions of agriculture and wine-making are still strong, and various farms and estates are associated with the Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori dei Colli Piacentini – the Piacenza Wine Road.
Spring and autumn, climate and nature, are the best times to admire the countryside, the hills and woods of the district with their wealth of flowers and colours.
Worth visiting are: the Castle, today the Town Hall, with a series of paintings by the Futurist artist BOT ( Barbieri Osvaldo il Terribile), and the parish church of Santi Fermo e Rustico.
An excursion into the world of fossils: part of the municipality of Carpaneto (near Badagnano and along the Carbonaro stream) forms part of the Riserva Naturale Geologica del Piacenziano – the Piacentian Geological Natural Reserve.
Cured meats or salumi, cheese, meat and wine produced in the district of Carpaneto.
There the Coppa Piacentina D.O.P and the red wine Gutturnio D.O.C stand out, both with a special festival and events dedicated to them. A typical menu would of course include the classic dishes of Piacenza tortelli, pisarei and anolini.
A circular "green route" has been created by the local associations of hikers and bikers, starting from Carpaneto and reaching the hills nearby, clad with vines, and the eroded area of the calanchi that forms part of the Piacenziano geological reserve.
The Spring Fair in April
At the end of August /beginning of September the traditional Festa della Coppa Piacentina D.O.P. (Carpaneto is the centre of the area where this typical cured meat of Piacenza had its origins. This PDO product is made from the neck muscles of the pig).
Innumerable towers, castles and villas (Badagnano, Travazzano, Olmeto, Celleri, Torre Confalonieri, Ciriano, Magnano, Rezzano, to mention but a few) enhance the landscape and contribute interest to excursions in the plain or in the hills among the vineyards.
In the rural villagge of Zena is an imposing Castle, dating back to the Middle Ages though much altered over the centuries. The Castello di Zena is today a private home but is a venue for weddings and events and is occasionally open to visitors.
Particularly impressive to see are the church of Santa Maria Assunta at Travazzano and the hermitage of Sant’Espedito near Badagnano.