Castelvetro di Modena means Grasparossa, which is the most precious variety of Lambrusco that is cultivated along with Trebbiano vines, used in the making of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
Castelvetro is immersed in the gently rolling landscape, its town has Etruscan origins and it is characterized by the presence of six medieval towers, including the Clock Tower and the Prison Tower, and by the so-called Piazza della Dama with its checkerboard pavement of black and white blocks.
Some notable buildings are Palazzo Comunale and Palazzo Rinaldi; the Church is located in the historical centre as well as Palazzo Rangoni, which in 1564 hosted Torquato Tasso, the poet to whom historical re-enactments are still dedicated and performed every year in September. In the hamlet of Levizzano there is the homonymous Castle which consists in a defensive wall and the so-called Matildic Tower. On the ground floor of the Castle, Rosso Graspa is located, a museum dedicated to wine and rural society, full of evidence of local agricultural life. Immersed in the green landscape, there are also the Sanctuary of Puianello and San Michele Arcangelo Oratory, with their breathtaking view of the hills. Castelvetro di Modena is a member of the National Association of Città del Vino (Wine Cities) and is in possession of the Italian Touring Club’s Bandiera Arancione (Orange Flag).
Golden Yarns at the Palace
A permanent exposition of 16th century-style clothes testifying to the close tie between Castelvetro and the Renaissance period, in the same atmosphere that surrounded the young poet Torquato Tasso at the Rangoni court.
Municipal Vinegar Cellar
Upon entering the access door, you are greeted by the aroma of vinegar that is fermenting and maturing in “vasselli” (barrels). The Acetaia houses two batteries of seven barrels, each of successively smaller sizes, for reasons strictly related to the production of the Traditional Balsamic vinegar of Modena (ABTM). The casks are made of different woods like oak, chestnut, ash, acacia and cherry.
In the rich tradition of local food and other products, Castelvetro offers opportunities to taste the Province of Modena’s best-known specialties: PDO (protected designation of origin) and PGI (protected geographical indication) balsamic vinegar, PDO Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, zampone and cotechino (dishes made from a mixture of ground pork flavored with herbs and spices and stuffed into the hollowed-out lower-leg of a hog), and fresh filled pastas (tortellini in broth or the larger “tortelloni”), as well as gnocco fritto (pastries something like a deep-fried dumpling), crescentine (a round, flat bread, flavored with spices and generally eaten with cold cuts, cheese, or spreads), borlengo (a thin flatbread), and calzagatti (pan-fried polenta), accompanied naturally by a fine glass of Lambrusco Grasparossa.
A local specialty, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro di Modena has developed a rich and complex story during its thousand-year history. The local climate, soil, wild herbs, water, the exposure of fields to the sun, the wind, the slope of the vineyards, and annual rainfall all confer special characteristics to Lambrusco grapes and to the fine wine that comes from them.
TASTE NATURE CULTURE – from March to November
From spring to autumn, tours to experience the charm of an ancient village surrounded by the beautiful hills of Lambrusco Grasparossa. Guided tours, exhibitions, tastings of food and wine traditional products, nature walks to discover an authentic landscape among the beautiful hills of Castelvetro di Modena flowered fields, aromatic essences and vineyards.
GRASPALONGA – May
The taste of truly good food, among the hills of Lambrusco Grasparossa, through the picturesque cycling routes of Castelvetro: an easy bike circuit suitable for both adults and children requiring no particular expertise, with tasting stops at wineries and farms.
MERCURDO – BIENNIAL “BIZARRE” FESTIVAL – June (odd years)
Right in the centre of the ancient Castelvetro you will be able to see shows, performances and exhibitions devoted to everything that is “bizarre”. Buy unusual and strange objects from accurately selected stands.
QUALITY WINE TASTINGS… UNDER A SKY FULL OF STARS – August
This appointment gathers food and wine excellence in a night devoted to tasting and stargazing. Local wineries will present their top products and restaurants will offer gourmet delicacies. This event is promoted by the National Wine Cities Association and Italian Wine Tourism Movement.
LIVING DRAUGHTS GAME – September (even years)
The “Dama Vivente” (living draughts game) is an amazing draughts game played in the square with living characters in Renaissance-style costumes. During this biennial event, the audience can admire the historical parade, shows with soldiers, archers, acrobats, funambulists, waders and musicians, parading through the streets of the village.
A HISTORICAL REENACTMENT OF A RENAISSANCE BANQUET – September (odd years)
This historical commemoration remembers the celebration dedicated to the poet Torquato Tasso holed up in Castelvetro in 1564 at the court of the Rangone marquis, lords of these lands, and consists in a rich Renaissance banquet, which can be joined only by wearing Renaissance-style costumes. Musicians, fire-eaters, gypsies and dances from the past entertain the guests during the feast.
GRAPE AND LAMBRUSCO GRASPAROSSA DI CASTELVETRO WINE FESTIVAL – September
This historical event aims to enhance and strengthen the agricultural vocation of Castelvetro’s territory enriching the history and characteristics of its main product: Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro which will also be the main topic of the event through the alleys and squares of the ancient village. You will find itineraries to discover the places that create it, guided tasting sessions and a wide choice of stands offering traditional delicacies. Finally, a parade of carts dedicated to Bacchus will close the event.
POETRY FESTIVAL – last weekend of September
A four-day festival dedicated to poetry in Castelvetro as well as other villages between Modena and Vignola. Shows and meetings with international guests among which: poets, actors, musicians and other artists that will captivate the audience with the charm of poetry.
ORANGE FLAG VILLAGES DAY – October
Tourist and cultural event with the Italian villages certified by the Italian Touring Club with the quality label “Orange Flags”. Discover the Welcoming Italian Villages, with guided tours, tastings and live music.
CHRISTMAS TIME IN CASTELVETRO – December
During the weekends before Christmas the medieval centre and the shops of Castelvetro will be enlivened by an evocative Christmas atmosphere with light and Nativity scenes. You will find also entertainment for both adults and children.
HOW TO ARRIVE
Modena Train Station www.trenitalia.com
Modena Sud Motorway Exit
From Modena Sud A1 motorway exit, turn right towards Modena, going ahead 100 metres turn left towards Castelvetro, then follow the directions going through the towns of San Vito and Castelnuovo Rangone.
Bus line Modena–Castelvetro: LINEA 740
Bus line Castelvetro–Vignola: LINEA 640
Castle of Levizzano Rangone
The Castle of Levizzano Rangone consists of a defensive wall that includes the Matildic Tower, protecting the entrance. The so-called Bishops’ Rooms, with their wooden ceiling and Renaissance frescoes, date back to the 16th century; the loggia on the main floor offers a magnificent view of the hills dotted with vineyards.
Rosso Graspa Wine and Rural Society Museum – ground floor of the Castle of Levizzano Rangone, via Celestino Cavedoni, Levizzano Rangone
Rosso graspa is a museum dedicated to the history and the culture of our territory and to its excellent product: Lambrusco Grasparossa. Extraordinary photographic evidence, drawings and agricultural tools bring the visitor through a narration that develops in working cycles (the Path of Grapes, the Path of Land, the Path of Wood) and in detailed stations that offer the tourist a clear and captivating reading key making for an exciting experience, thanks also to the presence of auditory clips that bring back the voices and sounds of the past.
San Michele Arcangelo Oratory
The Oratory, a Romanesque jewel, dates to the second half of the 12th century and has an austere and minimal architectural style, with remnants of external decoration on the facade and main entrance. Inside the building, the only ornament is a fresco representing six saints.
Sanctuary of Puianello
The Sanctuary of Puianello was built in 1716 upon request of Marquise Teresa Rangoni and it was dedicated to Our Lady of Heath. The building features a Baroque style with a Latin cross layout and hosts valuable pieces of art, including a painting thought to be a work of painter Giacomo Cavedoni.