Where it is
Coli is a small mountain centre placed in a panoramic, quiet and sunny position, overlooking the high valley of Trebbia in the Province of Piacenza.
It’s surrounded by nature, pine forests and chestnut woods and located on a promontory between the valley of the Curiasca stream and the slopes of Mount Saint Augustine.
Why visit it
Coli lays on an area of great historical and landscape interest: the 8 churches in its territory, the ruins of two castles and houses made of stones are its historical and artistic heritage.
It is rich in springs: from the pastures of the nearby mount Aserei, the Curiasca stream crosses the homonymous valley until it joins the river Trebbia.
With the foundation of Saint Columbanus Monastery in 614, the town became a flourishing monastic cell.
From a political point of view, since the XIII century, it was first under the domination of the Grassi family, who built a castle in the town of Magrini, now collapsed into the creek below, and then another castle was built in Faraneto, where the Grassi family moved after giving the first castle to Nicelli’s family, who exercised their power over the valley since 1441.
When to go and what to see
It is possible to admire Coli in all four seasons for its wonderful natural landscape.
The season when it becomes more lively and a holiday destination is the summer.
The walk to Saint Michael’s cave of Coli.
It is possible to reach the cave starting from the town square, following the course of the Curiasca stream (walk n. 141 CAI – Italian Alpine Clup).
The story tells that Saint Columbanus, already old, after laying the foundations of the monastery, chose the cave as the place where to spend spent most of his time and, in the end, there he died. The legend says that his remains were found in his bed in the Bobbio monastery.
On Coli’s square stands the church dedicated to Saints Vito, Modesto and Crescenzia, built in the XVIII century on the riuns of a former pre-columbanian church of the X century.
The Crux Michaelica (cross of Saint Michael) of the IX century is inside the church and it comes from the now collapsed Saint Michael’s Church, which was close to the Curiasca stream and to Saint Michael’s cave.
On the table
In the area many restaurants offer classic Emilian Apennine menus enriched with local products and game.
The presence of farms that produce organic products also allows the purchase of genuine products on site.
During summer there are many events such as the “Focaccia farcita fair”, the “Cotechino and white wine fair” (which takes place in Perino), which offer to tourists and inhabitants the opportunity to taste typical procucts and D. O. C. Wines of the valley.
The area is suitable for outdoor sports.
There is a sports centre, not so far from the main square, made up of a football pitch used also for rugby, a pitch for five-a-side football or tennis, an outdoor swimming pool and a covered bocciodrome.
There are many possibilities to go trekking on marked paths (Italian Alpine Club website), to practice mountain biking, and downhill biking, thanks to sloping paths.
Many tracks are also in Saint Augustine’s pine forest; starting from the equipped area in Moiarda’s Lake that gently leads up, it possible to see breath-taking views over the entire high and middle Val Trebbia.
Since 2013 the Valtrebbia Adventure Park has been operating by Saint Augustine’s pine forest and it offers acrobatic paths and mountain bike rental.
Close to the small centre, for experienced hikers and pilgrims, there is a part of the Abbots’ Way, the ancient way used by monks and rediscovered by passionate scholars. The Road of the Abbots starts from Pavia, passes through Bobbio and leads to Pontremoli (PR), where it is possible to continue to Rome following the Via Francigena.
The Local Association and the Sports Club organize fairs that are special dates for loyal tourists and inhabitants.
The first one is the “Festa dell’Allegria” (happiness party), which takes place on the weekend between 5th and 10th August, two dancing evenings with grilled meat dinners, held in the area of the sports centre of Coli.
The famous “Festa di Sant’Agostino “, a typical mountain festival at high altitude, takes place on the last Sunday of August coinciding with or preceding the 28th, near the Sanctuary dedicated to the saint. Packed lunch in the woods surrounding the Sanctuary, mountain songs, dining options and little markets are protagonists of this happening. In the morning the Holy Mass with a procession.
On the third Sunday of October, the “Festival of typical products of the Mountain” is held in the central square of Coli. That’s not only Coli’s main fair but also a feast of the mountain: there are several exhibitors and local sellers of organic products, ideal for those who want to buy the products of the Apennines, in particular mushrooms and chestnuts. In the afternoon there are usually events dedicated to songs and folk traditions of the mountains.
In the surroundings
The small village of Peli stands not far from Coli, with its perched houses and the church of Saint Medardo overlooking a hill from which you can enjoy an amazing view. It is also an important place for partisans, because it was the headquarters of a partisan command led by Emilio Canzi, who is buried in the nearby cemetery.
Situated on State Road n. 45, which starts from Piacenza and leads to Genoa, there is the town of Perino, one of the most populous centres of the municipality. There, the weekly market is held. Not far from Perino, following the street to Mount Armelio there is the tower of Macerato, the remains of an ancient castle, which in the XI century belonged to Saint Paul’s Monastery in Mezzano and was then given to the peasants of the place.