It’s finally Sunday. Is it impossible to go to the beach because of queues on Ligurian highways? Holidays over and wallet drier than rivers or streams?
No drama. For everyone here is a nice idea for a hit and run out of town. Take in the morning, leave and come back to sleep comfortably in your bed in the evening. Tested by the Albese author Mauro Rivettigenuine guarantee seal!
First step: let’s set up Google Maps on Bobbio. Just over two hours from Alba. The method is very simple. Arrival in Asti, beep from Telepass and then A21 up to Tortona then take SS461. Following the arrows to Bobbio is child’s play.
At the beginning, the panorama is the classic one of the Po valley. Fields, villages in the same way. Go, shed. More fields. Ok, but where are we going? Keep calm, at a certain point the asphalt joins the Trebbia river and the landscape becomes much nicer. A wide, very green valley, lined with hills and slopes, opens up in front of the windshield.
The river glitters parallel to the road and it becomes easy to spot several bathers on its banks as well. After a mixture of curves and wonder, you will arrive at the city of Bobbio, a small town with 3 thousand inhabitants. The historic center has kept the characteristics of the medieval village intact (think Bobbio won the Borgo dei borghi competition in 2019).
Walking through a dense network of narrow cobbled streets, it is possible to admire old buildings and churches with great charm. How not to mention the monastery of San Colombano, founded by the Irish monk of the same name who came to Italy to arrive in Rome, the cradle of Christianity.
Leaning towards the monastery, there is also the City Museum, which very precisely traces the development of the current city center around the monastery over the course of more than a thousand years. Other interesting places are the Duomo and the Malaspina Castle which was the stronghold of the Guelphs during the fight against the Ghibellines in Piacenza.
History and culture are always mixed with the need to put your feet under the table. The area has a wide selection of typical dishes. From the delicious fried dumplings to the more elaborate macaroni all bobbiese, passing through the stewed snails, or, again, the bobbiese rice cake with vegetables, rice, egg and cheese. Everything is washed down with Piacenza wines (red gutturnio or ortrugo, if you prefer white).
Or you can taste the typical Batarò from Val Tidone. An oval and thin sandwich, cooked in a wood oven, perfect to fill with Piacenza salami, coppa and pancetta. An excellence that has the scent of lost time. Believe me, a treat!
Well refreshed, we’re ready for the icing on the cake … next stop Trebbia! When you leave the town of Bobbio, you can go down to the river to sunbathe, soak your feet or just take a nice refreshing bath.
Perhaps in the shadow of the characteristic Gobbo Bridge, also called Ponte Vecchio or Ponte del Diavolo. Legend has it that it was San Colombano who wanted to join the two banks of the river. The devil offered himself to help him by building a bridge in one night, provided he had the soul of the first person to cross it in exchange. San Colombano accepted and the devil built the bridge with the help of a group of devils of different height and build, each of whom erected his part in a personal way and differently from the others, giving the bridge its characteristic hump and irregularity.
In the morning the saint kept his word, but justifying himself with the observation that the bridge had not been built according to the rules, he deceived the devil by allowing an animal to pass first (some say it was a dog, others a bear).
The excursion ends with a relaxing walk in the hills on the opposite side of the bridge from the village. There are many itineraries that can be organized for more challenging hikes based in Bobbio. One above all: San Cristoforo and Carlone waterfalls.
But it’s time to take the car and go home, regenerated by this wonderful made in Italy experience. “Today I crossed the world’s most beautiful valley”: some sources claim that Hemingway wrote this thought after crossing the Trebbia Valley.