Chero Valley is between Arda and Nure valleys, and includes the municipalities of Cadeo, Carpaneto Piacentino and Gropparello. It is traversed by Chero stream, which source is at Passo Guselli, in Morfasso jurisdiction at about 900 m above sea level. The stream flows through Carpaneto Piacentino and the Chero area, which is named after the stream itself. Chero stream then flows into Chiavenna stream between Roveleto and Cadeo.
The three focal points for anyone visiting Chero valley are: archeology, visits to castles and walks between gorges, and gastronomy. In the lower part of the valley, towards Castellana, vineyards dominate the environment. As we move upwards, the view opens on wood and the typical mountain landscape of Obolo and Groppovisdomo.
Chero valley preserves the archaeological remains of the Roman city of Veleia, now visible thanks to the intervention of Filippo di Borbone Duke of Parma halfway through the 18th century. The most important findings are on show in the Archaeological museum of Parma, but the whole archaeological Roman city can be visited with its forum, spas and the small museum in the Antiquarium. Reaching Veleia from Carpaneto up Chero stream, one can see the castles of Travazzano (a collapsed but still imposing fortress), Magnano (private castle), Badagnano (another imposing castle now a rural residence) and Olmeto (now housing a farming business). In Chero valley there are also the castles of Cerreto Landi (private property), Rezzano (several buildings once part of a single castle, today housing a farming business) and Zena (private property open for events and yoga sessions).
Chero valley is traversed on one side by Stirone and Piacenziano Regional Park, famous for its fossils. On the side overlooking Chero stream the clay sand contains fossils from a coastal environment, and give way to yellow sands probably related to beaches close to the sea. The time sequences can be dated to the middle-high Pliocene era, between 2.6 and 2.1 million years ago.
The whole Chero territory, together with Riglio valley, is historically rich of oil and natural gas, and is has been exploited since 1866. The peak was reached at the beginning of the 20th century, when an oil pipeline was built to take oil to Fiorenzuola. The cores were Montechino in Riglio valley and Veleia in Chero valley, with their 354 wells. Drilling was interrupted in 1950, when oil from Piacenza province could not compete with foreign oil, although it still retains its quality and can still be found in the area.
Carpaneto is the most important city of the valley, where two important food and wine events take place over the year. “GUT” Gutturnio Festival is dedicated to one of the most important red Doc wines in Italy; the other festival is dedicated to COPPA, the queen of all cured meats in Piacenza. Since the 17th century, Carpaneto has been an important agricultural centre. It is worth visiting its castle, with a long history that counts – in the 16th century – the raids of Pier Maria Scotti also known as Il Buso. The castle today hosts the Municipality offices, but it preserves a section from the old 15th century building, and a portico with granite and sandstone columns.