Where it is
Monticelli d’Ongina is located not far from the river Po on the road to Cremona; the area is famous for the cultivation of garlic.
Why visit it
A place away from the most popular tourist circuits, rich in cultural resources, particular
naturalistic environments and a gastronomic tradition linked to the territory and its history.
When to go and what to see
From spring until autumn it’s possible to catch the awakening of flora and fauna which characterise the local environment.
Monticelli D`Ongina is in an area in front of the River Po, famous for the cultivation of garlic.
An ancient Roman settlement, among its landmarks we must mention Pallavicino Casali Castle, with its chapel decorated by Bonifacio Bembo’s paintings, San Lorenzo Church, and the Ethnographic museum.
Nature lovers can’t miss a bicycle ride in the surrounding countryside and, above all, to the territory of “Serafini Island”, classified as a `Site of Community interest` for the beauty of the river environment and for the chance to see protected species of water birds.
The section along the Chiavenna stream in San Nazzaro and the entrance of the basin leading to the power plant are the best places for bird-watching.
It’s best attraction is the fortress Pallavicino Casali, with the chapel enriched by valuable frescoes by Bonifacio Bembo, the Collegiate Church of San Lorenzo, the Ethnographic Museum.
Along the main access road, the garlic monument is worthy of attention.
On the table
The ancient Jewish presence in the territory can still be read in some recipes: Jewish pasta, seasoned with tomato and strictly locally produced garlic, and Spongata cake. This is a sweet pastry filled with honey, walnuts, pine nuts, raisins and minced amaretti.
The tradition here is rich in dishes based on river fish and it’s linked to the Po valley custom of cooking ravioli filled with pumpkin and fried zucchini flowers. Not to be missed is the production of cured meats and products of Piacenza tradition.
The proximity to the river favors water sports such as rowing; a rowing company is located in the town.
There are two traditional festivals held in the town. In May the geranium fair and the first week of October the garlic fair.
In the surroundings
Not to be missed, for nature lovers, a bicycle excursion in the countryside and especially in the surrounding area of Serafini island, classified as a ‘Site of European Community Interest’ for the beauty of the river landscape and for the possibility of closely observing various protected species of waterfowl. The stretch that runs alongside the stream Chiavenna in San Nazzaro and the entrance to the basin of the hydroelectric plant- recently made navigable – is one of the most suitable places for bird watching, and both areas are enchanting.
Not far from the town on the riverside of the road to Caorso is the oasis “Pinedo Island” a privileged observatory on the nature.