Where is it
Cerignale is located in the high Trebbia Valley, in a basin on the slopes of Monte delle Tane (m. 1198), which creates a natural watershed between the Trebbia and Aveto Valleys.
It is possible to get there along the State Road 45 Piacenza-Genoa or the Provincial Road 586 Marsaglia-Chiavari.
In addition to Cerignale, other villages nestled on terraces of the surrounding mountains are part of the municipality.
All these settlements are part of a large area called “The Four Apennine Provinces”, where the mountains of the provinces of Piacenza, Genoa, Alessandria and Pavia meet and are culturally common areas.
Why visit it
The wealth of the surrounding nature, the sense of freedom, the history and the work of enhancement made in recent years, make Cerignale a significant stop for a trip out of town in Val Trebbia for one or more days.
Cerignale was not always the main centre; in the medieval period and immediately after, Cariseto had an important defensive role with its Castle.
In the XII century, it was Frederick Barbarossa himself who took refuge there, escorted by some members of the Malaspina family and he then appointed them feudal lords of the area.
Later Cerignale passed to the Fieschi family and then to the Doria family.
When to go and what to see
All seasons are good times to be in the mountains which are beautiful and change colors as the time passes, like a picture; it is even more beautiful because close to the mountain there is an easy access to two rivers with fresh and clear waters, Trebbia and Aveto.
In summer Cerignale is very populated by tourists and, during the year, some hamlets are frequented assiduously in the weekend by the families, that have their origins there but work elsewhere.
Do not miss
Cerignale is the first and only “carbon free” municipality in the Trebbia Valley.
In the stone paved alleys of the ancient village, canals have been built, in which the water of the aqueduct flows to produce clean energy through a small hydroelectric power station that can be visited. In the evening the spotlights inside the canals light the streets and create a suggestive atmosphere.
Around the village there are many fountains, even a fountain dedicated to Saint Francis and to his poem “Laudato sii” and there is a still working double wheel mill.
You can walk in “Good bread square”, so called because of the presence of the municipal oven, and walk through the entire city route from “Rights and Tolerance Square”, the “Peace Fountain”, the great manifesto on emigration, until you reach the “Barbetti cattleshed”, which is now a space for exhibitions and other cultural activities.
With a short walk it is possible to reach Saint Lawrence Church, built in the XVI century and restructured in a later period.
On the table
In the high Trebbia Valley, Ligurian influences are beginning to be felt on the typical cuisine.
Restaurants offer ‘gnocchi’ (potato dumplings), pasta with pesto, tripe with local beans, the “cori pin” (stuffed cabbages), the “cima” (beef stuffed with vegetables), roast or stewed wild boar, chestnut cake, “croccante” (local dessert with almonds and honey) and “u bunetto”( ‘bonet’, a chocolate pudding).
This type of mountain is an outdoor gym.
There are no dedicated structures but many outdoor sports can be done here.
There are many trails for hiking and several trails being built, such as the project to connect the towns here via the old mule trails so they can be used for mountain biking.
In winter, snowshoe outings are organized or you can also go canoeing or swimming in the Trebbia and Aveto rivers in the summer.
Many events take place in August.
There are exhibitions in the “Barbetti cattleshed” and conferences in the “Rights and Tolerance Square”. There are also recurring festivals such as “Festa delle Aie” on 13th August and the “Transumanza Letteraria” organised by two brave booksellers from Piacenza.
Another traditional festival animated by pipers, accordion players and bagpipes, with dances, is held on the last Sunday of October.
The village of Ponte Organasco is worth a visit, as it derives its name from the characteristic Roman bridge that collapsed in 1923 and was replaced with one in reinforced concrete. The village is medieval and is located at the crossroads between Piacenza, Pavia and Genoa.
Going up the village of Cerignale, the walk on the watershed ridge of the two valleys is really suggestive, in fact you can see on one side the Aveto and on the other the waters of the river Trebbia framed by both imposing and imaginative natural rock sculptures.