Where it is
This small medieval village is located along the river Trebbia, a few kilometers from Piacenza, facing the hillsides covered with vineyards.
Why visit it
The fortified borough surrounds the castle, and still has its original medieval structure. The watchtower dating back to the 11th century welcomes visitors, who can can find cafes and restaurants here, and interesting places to visit such as the parish church of S. Martin of the 15th century and the castle built in the Middle Ages.
When to go and what to see
Every season is a good one to visit Rivalta. A special moment is New Year’s Eve.
Room with a view
Recently the hotel Residenza San Martino has opened in one of the ancient buildings of the town. There are 10 rooms furnished with precious cloth, original paintings, and ancient furniture. Some cottages also belong to this hotel and are painted using the typical colours of the local farmhouses, with wooden roofs and ancient furniture.
Strolling through the small streets of the town you can have a glance at the castle tower, crowned by an unusual roof, which dominated the river.
The castles of Rivalta, Statto, and the castles placed on the opposite bank of the river Trebbia, Montechiaro and Rivergaro, were located here in fact to watch over the entrance into the Trebbia Valley of the ancient Caminus Ianuae, an important road of communication going towards Genova and the sea.
The fort dates back to the 11th century; it belonged to Malaspina’s family and in the 14th century became a Landi property and then it passed in the late 19th century to the Earls Zanardi Landi. The rich manor, still a private property, is surrounded by a magnificent park, and has had among its usual guests the British royal family. The castle is open to visitors. It’s associated with the Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza.
You have here the chance to admire many rooms with the original furniture from the 16th to 19th century or to visit the room dedicated to the Lepanto battle, in which many local noble families took part, as well as have an incredible view from the top of the tower over the plain of the river Po and the hills.
Also in this castle there is a ghost: the cook Giuseppe apparently wanders from the kitchen to the weapon room.
On the table
In the restaurants of Rivalta, the wooden framed roofs and the ancient chimneys create the right atmosphere for visitors to taste traditional meals such as: tortelli con la coda, pasta wrapped round ricotta and spinach and twisted at the ends, pissarei e fasö, small pasta with beans, anolini, pasta stuffed with meat, cured meats with a secret name, salame, coppa and pancetta piacentina PDO. roasted pork and beef, all washed down by the wines of the Colli piacentini, especially the celebrated Gutturnio Doc.
Rivalta is located along the road Gourmet Food and Wine Trail of Colli Piacentini.
The golf course of Croara Country Club is only 2 km away from here, and offers 18 holes perfectly maintained, overlooking the fascinating scenery of the river, with technical fairways, bordered by oak, chestnut and poplar trees.
In the village there is a wellness center.
In the surroundings there are cycling routes and paths for horseback riding.
It’s also possible to play golf at Croara Country Club.
Useful information and advice
The village is completely closed to traffic, so there is a free car and bus park at the entrance. The streets are covered with cobblestones.
In the surroundings
In the nearby Nure Valley you can reach the fascinating new-medieval village of Grazzano Visconti (17km). Driving the panoramic road SS 45 of the Trebbia, you can reach in about half an hour Bobbio (30km) where you can visit the church that belonged to Saint Columba’s Abbey and see the Ponte Gobbo (hunchback bridge).
In the near Luretta Valley there is the Castle of Agazzano (7km) and from here you can drive towards Pianello Val Tidone (20km) through the hillsides covered with vineyards of the Tidone Valley, and finally reach the Rocca d’Olgisio (26 km), a fortress placed on the top of the hill from where you can have one of the best views over the Apennines. All those castles can be visited and are associated with the “Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza“.