Where it is
This town is located in the middle of Pianura Padana, between Fiorenzuola d’Arda and Fidenza, along the Via Emilia, the road built by the Romans. During the Middle Ages, the Via Emilia became an important part of the Via Francigena, the road crossed by pilgrims. Ancient traces of the Via Francigena can still be seen today.
Why visit it
Alseno is well known for the Cistercian Abbey of Chiaravalle della Colomba located in this area. Founded in 1136 by the abbot Bernardo di Clairvaux, this abbey is a testament to the most noteworthy presence of Cistercian monks in this region as well as being an amazing medieval monument.
When to go and what to see
Early summer is the best period for a visit, when the whole town is involved in hosting the event “Infiorata” right in the Chiaravalle della Colomba Abbey.
In ancient times this place was named ”Senum” probably because of its sinuous location, from which “Senum” and “Alseno” are derived. The town became an ancient Landi fief; that’s the reason why the building upon a hill in the middle of the town is named Landi’s castle.
The first documentation about this Castle dates back to 1186, when its construction was commissioned by Siclerio dell’Andito (Landi) and Savino Vicedomino, members of the old municipal aristocracy. Apart from a short period of time, the Landi family kept the fortress, and was feudalized, in 1405 by the Visconti.
In the 18th century, the Landi family turned the building into a residential palace. In the 19th century the building, no longer Landi’s residential palace and in bad condition, became the property of the Sforza Fogliani family. Today the castle is a nursery school.
On the table
Cold cuts have always been very important to traditional cooking here. Coppa, salame and pancetta are three delicious Piacenza PDOs, but the less known “mariola” and “goletta” should also be considered and tasted. The typical humidity of the “Bassa” is then used to pack the Culaccia, the Piacenza version of Culatello.
Among the cheeses caciottine, Provolone Val Padana PDO and Grana Padano PDO stand out.
The real place to have fun is il Colle, near Colle San Giuseppe, a pool and a club: an oasis of relaxation and good cooking during the day, a disco and much more by night.
For the Corpus Domini celebration, during the first Sunday of June, it’s possible to admire in the Cistercian Abbey of Chiaravalle della Colomba, the magnificent floral carpet, also known as «infiorata», created by the monks with the help of young people of the town. In this way a millenarian tradition is perpetuated.
In the surroundings
The tourism itinerary through the region around Alseno must include Chiaravalle della Colomba Abbey and the medieval castle of Castelnuovo Fogliani (4 km). Fascinating medieval borough grown around the medieval Fortress, it was subsequently transformed into a villa, probably upon a project by Vanvitelli.
The fortress is a stately residence with a neoclassical façade and is surrounded by an imposing park. The complex, donated to the Holy Seat in 1925 by the latest Sforza Fogliani Duchess, is currently used on the occasion of workshops and conventions.
The interior has refined halls rich in precious paintings, including a fresco by Giuseppe Natali.
In Castelnuovo Fogliani, San Biagio Church may also be attributed to Vanvitelli. It was built during the half of the 18th century, to substitute a previously demolished church.