Baiso (540 meters)
The name originates from the fact the area was the feudal possession
of the Da Baiso family. The municipality is located in a panoramic
area overlooking on one side the Tresainaro valley and on the other
the Secchia valley. The castle and church of San Lorenzo found in
Baiso date from the 12th century. In the municipality hamlets such
as Visignolo and Colombaia have fine examples of case a torre (tower
shaped houses) dating back to the 16th century. Today the production
of Parmigano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) is still the driving force
of the local economy although the production of ceramic tiles also
makes a contribution to the wealth of the area. It is not by accident
that clay quarries are found in the area, providing the raw materials
needed for the ceramics.
Busana (850 meters)
Dating back to Roman times, Busana was an area noted for water mills
and beautiful chestnut woods. The village of Cervarezza is renowned
as a thermal spa and is also home to the Parco Flora with the Santa
Lucia thermal springs. Every year a traditional pilgrimage takes place
at the end of July to the chapel of Santa Maria Maddalena, found on
the slopes of Mount Ventasso at 1,500 meters.
Carpineti (562 meters)
Steeped in the history of Queen
Matilda, her castle, recently restored and open to the public, looks
down from its hill onto the chestnut woods and the middle ranges of
the Apennines. The area is a haven for those seeking peace and tranquility.
The area is also of interest architecturally, having more than forty
tower shaped houses scattered in the many villages of the municipality
such as Romagano and Saccaggio. There is Marola, with its restored
Abbey which is well worth a visit and the Romanesque church of Saint
Carpineti is situated at the foot of the ridge which divides the Secchia
valley from the Tresinaro valley. In the last few decades it has become
an important health resort and tourist attraction.
Canossa (219 meters)
Canossa is historically the most important commune of the province,
it is the home of the medieval castle of Queen Matilde whose family
dominated the region from the 11th Century to midway through the 15th
Century. The castle is the focal point of the community and of great
interest to tourists. Recent excavation have revealed that what remains
of the castle, although still magnificent is just a portion of what
Henri IV saw as he waited three days in the open as a penance before
being granted an audience with Pope Gregory VII who revoked the order
of excommunication, mainly due to Matilde’s diplomacy. Close
by the castle of Canossa is another, Rossena, perched high on a volcanic
outcrop. Today the castle is also used as a hostel for small group
who wish live the ‘medieval experience’ The Rossenella
tower also forms part of the defence line created by the Queen Matilde
Incredibly there is also a Tibetan cultural centre in Votigno which
is worth visiting. The area is also know for its tower shaped houses,
old mills, small ancient churches and stone houses all of which draws
the more discerning of tourists every year.
Casina (574 meters)
Casina developed due to its proximity to the road used by the military
between Gaultieri and Aulla. The road nowadays is the SS63, which
is one of two roads that lead up to the mountains from the regional
capital Reggio Emilia. The area is rich in history having a number
of medieval castles: Leguigno, Paullo and Sarzano. In fact Casina
was first recorded in 958, as part of a defence system of the castle
of Sarzano. A jewel of Romanesque art is also located here; the oratory
of Santa Lucia. Romans, Celts and Etruscans all had settlements here.
The area is rightly recognised as one of the leading producers of
Parmesan cheese and the chestnut fair at the beginning of August is
also well worth a visit. The original mule tracks used for centuries
by pilgrims have in recent years been regenerated and now form a network
of walks which take the visitor through a world of medieval churches,
hamlets, castles and always with the Apennines as spectacular backdrop
to their journey. Casina is noted for its verdant plateaus with woods,
a beautiful resort in summer and close enough to Febbio for skiing
in the winter
Casina is ideally situated, 30 minutes by car to Reggio Emilia and
well served by local transport. Saturday is market day, which complements
the varied and interesting shops of the town.
Castelnovo Ne’ Monti
The town is recognised as the major town in the Reggiano Apennines.
It has a modern hospital, new well equipped schools and institutes
and attractive hotels. The level of services and the modern infrastructure
ensures that it can provide the most up to date technology, everything
from ADSL broadband to computer consultancy. However it still retains
its traditional industries such as Capanni’s bell foundry, famous
throughout the world for the quality of its products. The town has
recently reopened its theatre which also provides a first class cinema.
The jewel in the crown as far as Castelnovo né Monti is concerned
is the magnificent Bismantova plateau, a large sandstone plateau.
It forms the backdrop for the town and really captures the tranquil
beauty of the Apennine mountains. Minutes away from the ski resorts
of Appenninia, Ospitaletto, Ventasso and Febbio, it is an area which
boasts a rich diversity of flora and fauna and offers numerous facilities
and attractions: mountaineering, cycling, fishing, potholing, canoeing,
horse riding to name but a few.
Collagna (1000 meters)
Collagna first gets mentioned in 1153 as a refuge for the many pilgrims
traveling further south towards Rome. Today it welcomes visitors all
year round for skiing in the winter and for the myriad of sports and
leisure activities available in the summer. Or if you just feel like
taking a gentle stroll in the mountains that is catered for too!
Collagna is the gateway to Tuscany. From Collagna the road (SS63)
leads you through the awesome panoramas of the Gigante National Park,
passing lakes Scuro and Cerretano on the way to the Cerreto pass and
Tuscany. The area is noted for majestic mountain ranges such as La
Nuda and Casarolo and by the sublime beauty of the valleys such as
Fonti di Secchia, Riarbero and Schiocchi.
Ligonchio (1100 meters)
Ligonchio is the highest municipality in the region, on the road to
the Pradarena pass, which like the Cerreto pass has been used by travelers
for millennia. Ligonchio most important resource is water from which
hydro electricity is generated, many of the centres have closed in
recent years but one or two still remain open. One of the most noted
hamlets of the municipality is Ospitaletto, reputedly founded as a
hospital for pilgrims by Queen Matilde di Canossa. Ospitaletto is
now an excellent family orientated ski resort. Some of the most interesting
hiking trails and itineraries start from Ligonchio, the ones leading
to the Ozola Forest, Sara Meadows and to the Lavvacchiello falls are
Ramiseto (865 meters)
The third mountain pass that takes the visitor into Tuscany is the
Passo del Lagastrello, found on the right bank of the River Enza in
the municipality of Ramiseto. The area offers visitors the chance
to undertake wonderful excursions to Mount Succiso or Mount Acuto,
Mount Ventasso or Lake Calamone. Mount Ventasso is a popular and picturesque
ski resort and well worth a visit.
Locally the buildings are typical of the mountains, in stone with
many having marble. The marble probably came from Mass Carrara across
the Emilian –Tuscan border, brought by the stonecutters who
took refuge here and who passed down their skills from generation
Toano (842 meters)
Toano is a natural marvel, lying on the ridge, which separates the
Dolo and Secchia valley. First mentioned in 907 but it was when it
became Queen Matilde’s property in the second half of the 11th
Century that it developed apace in terms of agriculture and architecture.
The church of Queen Matilde’s castle, dedicated to Santa Maria,
is one of the finest and best preserved religious buildings of the
whole Apennine territory. Much more recently, the Ceccatis, renowned
local wood artists, carved a magnificent wooden alter inside the chapel
of the Madonna della Neve in Cavola, the municipalities largest village.
A mineral water spring at Quara was known and used by the Romans.
Other points of interest in the area is the nice bell tower at Corneto
and the excellent stone relief in the church of S. Michele Arcangeloin
Massa depicting the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
There is also an annual competition in Toano called ‘Ruzzolo’,
completing a course while throwing a large round disc by means of
a rope, the winner is the one who completes the course in the least
number of throws!
The area is also noted for its beautiful Apennines woods with their
fields of bluebells while the snow capped peaks of Mount Cusna and
Mount Prampa offer a tranquility and natural beauty that is truly
breathtaking. The ski slopes of Febbio are a short distance and the
area has many family run Pizzerias and restaurants where gastronomic
delights await you
Vetto D’Enza (442
Of Roman origin, Vetto owes its name to the Latin term vectus which
means transported or lead, probably due to its important position
in the road network of the day. The Enza shingle on the banks of the
Enza river is used as a weekend ‘beach’ by the locals
and the remains of the medieval Pontaccio bridge is still to be seen.
The hamlet of Castellaro is worth a visit to see the 15th Century
tower shaped house.
Viano (138 meters )
Viano is the municipality closes to the plain and the River Po basin.
The area is notable for Nirano where miniature volcanoes throw out
mud and hydrocarbons. Agriculture and the production of ceramics.
Villa Minozzo (800 meters)
The largest municipality in the region stretching from the Secchio
valley to the top of Mount Cusna which at 2121 meters is the highest
peak in the Apennines. Documents start to mention Villa Minozzo in
the 9th Century and over the centuries it passed from the hands of
one noble family to another.
The municipality has many facets worth noting: the church at Minozzo
is one of the oldest in the municipality, the hamlets of Civago, Gazzano,
Febbio, Roncopianigi and Monteorsaro are dedicated to both winter
and summer tourism, due largely to the resort at Freebie and Civago
and the opportunities for excursions to the Abetina Reale, where your
journey can be broken by eating lunch at the wonderful restaurant
there. Abetina Reale also provides camping facilities next to a waterfall
which, in the summer, is popular for obvious reasons. At Gova the
arched Cadignano bridge dates from the 17th century, while the mountain
refuge of Signor Battisti is an unique experience in itself.
At a lower level the Triassic Secchio valley is a rich environment
of caves, thermal springs, such as those found at Poiano and lush
grazing which is why the area is at the very heart of Parmesan cheese
production. The municipality is made up of four valleys: the Dolo,
Asta, Lucola and Rio Re’s, the unpolluted environments of these
valleys, the rich diversity of the flora and fauna and the snow capped
mountains makes this a first class location for people who enjoy active
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