Where it is
It is the main city centre of the Trebbia Valley and it lays on the left shore of the Trebbia river, at the feet of Mount Penice.
Not so far from Liguria, it enjoys the beneficial influence of the sea air, especially at its highest altitudes.
It stands in the centre of a large area called “L’appennino delle 4 province(The Apennine of the 4 provinces)”, where the mountains of the provinces of Piacenza, Genoa, Alessandria and Pavia meet.
Why visit it
Bobbio is famous for being a very important cultural centre since the early Middle Ages and it was called “the northern Montecassino” for the renowned fame of Saint Columbanus’s Abbey and its Scriptorium.
The Abbey was founded in 614 by the Irish monk Columbanus and was one of the main spiritual and religious centres of Italy.
In 1014, Bobbio also acquired the title of City, which was assigned by an imperial seal from King Henry II and became the Seat of the Bishop, maintaining its autonomy as a Diocese until the 1980s.
Bobbio retains still today its medieval flavour: narrow streets and houses made of stones. Together with suggestive natural landscapes of the valley, it makes Bobbio one of the main holiday destinations in the province of Piacenza.
Bobbio holds several awards: since 2005 the Bandiera Arancione of the Italian Touring Club, since 2006 it belongs to the “Most Beautiful Villages of Italy” and in 2019 it won the contest of Rai 3 Kilimangiaro broadcast, winning the title “Borgo dei Borghi 2019”.
When to go and what to see
All seasons are suitable for enjoying the medieval village for its landscapes characterized by the amazing background of the Trebbia Valley. Summer is the best season to see Bobbio in its surprising role as a summer holiday destination, with many bathers attracted by the cool and refreshing waters of the river and by the opportunity to enjoy the sun.
The unique Hunchbacked Bridge is the symbol of the town and its history is closely linked to the legend of Saint Columbanus and the Devil.
The San Colombano Abbey is a large complex but only some parts of it are open to the public. These include the hallway on the ground floor, the cloister, the Church, and the three museums. The Basilica encloses in the crypt the sarcophagus of the Saint and the wonderful XII century mosaic. The Abbey Museum preserves finds ranging from the first centuries of the Christian age until the middle of the sixteenth century; the City Museum offers the possibility of a multimedia experience on Bobbio’s history from the past till present times and the Mazzolini Museum, which consists of a collection of 872 works and 27 sculptures and shows a cross-section of the art of the second half of the 1900s including artists such as De Chirico, Fontana, Rosai and Giò Pomodoro.
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption built in 1075, and the suggestive Cathedral Square surrounded by stately mansions.
The Malaspina Castle which dominates the higher area of the village.
On the table
In the town and its surroundings, on the Route of wines and tastes of Piacenza hills, you can try local “maccaroni”, made with knitting needles and served with a slow-cooked meat sauce.
In April 2019 maccaroni and other products such as Bobbio-style snails, “bracchettone” (a local cold cut), almond cake and “croccante” (local dessert with almonds and honey), got the DE.CO. certification (a municipality certification) which attests the local origin and authenticity of each product.
In Bobbio and in the nearby areas there are many opportunities to practice sports in dedicated structures and outside.
Not far from the town there is a sports centre with football, tennis, volleyball, beach volley camps and an outdoor swimming pool.
During the summer, the area surrounding Bobbio offers many opportunities: for those who want to hike or simply admire the landscape there are a lot of trails with different levels of difficulty, for cyclists there are many kilometres of not busy paved roads and for those who practice mountain biking there are many mountain paths.
Not far from Coli town, in the pine forest of Saint Augustine, there is the Valtrebbia Adventure park that offers acrobatic paths up high and mountain bike rentals. During wintertime (from December to March), the ski resort on Mount Penice (km 12) offers slopes accessible at various levels thanks to artificial snow.
The town of Ceci is known for cross-country skiing and snowshoe rental, and it is equipped with a circular path 10 Km long.
Bobbio is renowned for the several local food & wine fairs that take place during the year: “festa del Pinolo” (in August),” festa del fungo e Tartufo” (in October) and Sagra della lumaca. In addition to local fairs, it is also famous for the Bobbio Film Festival (during summer) and for the Cinema School “Farecinema”, both curated by movie director Marco Bellocchio, whose family has its origins in Bobbio.
Many cultural initiatives enliven the city throughout the year, here are a few of them: Castello in fiore on the first weekend of June, the “Palio delle Contrade”, the secular contest between the village’s neighborhoods, with the picturesque parade in medieval clothes in the month of June, the Irish Music Festival in the month of July, Settimana della letteratura (Literature week)in August and many concerts of the Bobbio Classica during the summer.
Useful information and advice
For an amazing experience, it is possible to download the 2022 Bobbio Mon Amour free App, available for Android and iOS: inside there are suggestions on itineraries to follow, current events, accommodation, what to visit and where taste authentic local food. This tool accompanies the visitor to the discovery of characteristic places of Bobbio, thanks also to numerous Bluetooth beacons arranged along the streets of the city, also offering extra contents such as virtual reconstructions of some places or objects, now reduced to a few fragments.
In the surroundings
Ernest Hemingway described Trebbia Valley as the most beautiful valley in the whole world, there are lots of sightseeing on the river, such as in San Salvatore, where it’s also possible to take a dip.
In the very little village of Brugnello, built on a rock and all made of river stones Rosa Mazzolini was born; she is the one who donated her modern art Collection to Piacenza and Bobbio Diocesi.