Where it is
It is located in the high Trebbia Valley, on the Ligurian Apennines along the State road 45 and about 60 km from Genoa, which makes it – together with Zerba – the Emilian municipality closest to the Liguria region and bordering Piedmont. It lays in the middle of a large area called “The Apennine of the four Provinces”, where the mountains of the provinces of Piacenza, Genoa, Alessandria and Pavia meet.
Why visit it
The municipal territory between Trebbia and Boreca Valleys is characterized by a greater cultural autonomy than the territories of the Piacenza Apennines. In fact, Ottone is only 5 km from the border with Liguria – thus it has shared its tradition and history – as evidenced by the long domination of the Doria family over the village and the painted facades of churches and palaces that are located a bit everywhere, along the way to Genoa.
The Church of Saint Bartholomew has very ancient origins: founded as a monastic cell at the time of Saint Columbanus, it has a beautiful romanesque bell tower. Located near the cemetery in a position overlooking the valley, it retains a timeless charm.
Worth a visit are the Church of Saint Marziano, in perfect Genoese baroque style (XVIII century), and the nineteenth-century Oratory of Saint Rocco which impresses tourists with its majestic dome, the largest in the entire Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio.
The Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art is located in some rooms of the Town Hall, which preserves furnishings and liturgical furnishings from the churches of the territory and from private individuals, dating from the XIV to the XX century. Among the most interesting pieces, the vestments with the coat of arms of the Doria and the bronze bell of Saint Bartholomew, forged in 1355.
The Malaspina Castle (privately owned) is located at the highest point of the village and bears this name in memory of the first lords of Ottone. It was the headquarters of the Doria family until 1797.
You cannot leave Ottone without first seeing the historic Mill of Doria Princes., today privately owned.
On the table
Trattorias and restaurants offer typical Ligurian and mountain cuisine, with very varied menus and rich in specialties: potato dumplings with pesto, pansotti (local pasta with ricotta cheese and walnuts, tortelli pasta made with chestnut flour with porcini mushrooms, stuffed cabbage, “Genoese cima” (beef stuffed with vegetables), polenta with game, wild boar ribs, truffle rice and typical Ligurian focaccia bread with cheese.
The area around Ottone is full of trails for trekking and the essential excursions to do are those to Dego Mount (1427 m), to Alfeo Mount (1651 s.l.m.) and to Cariseto Pass (1077), where it is possible to visit the Castle where Frederick Barbarossa stayed.
In addition to the Flower Festival (in mid July), on 24th August and in the following days, Ottone celebrates the anniversary of the patron Saint Bartholomew with stalls, games for children and many initiatives.
Other events of great interest are the feast of Our Lady of Health (September) and the Apennines Festival, which the village of Ottone has become a fixed destination for.
In the surroundings
Not far from Ottone there is the village of Bobbio, one of the most beautiful in Italy and known for the importance of the monastery of Saint Columbanus.
For those who want to take a dip in history surrounded by unspoilt landscape and rich in wild animals (foxes, wolves, wild boar, squirrels and vipers), in Boreca Valley there are countries such as Tartago, Zerba, Vesimo, Artana that can boast in their respective place names the traces of the passage of Hannibal, during the famous battle of the Trebbia (218 B.C.).