Routes in Bettola (2) - with Roberto Rossi
in Rigolo, direction Prato Barbieri
The visit today is one of the largest municipalities in the province of Piacenza by extension, second only to Ferriere, among the largest at the national level.
This is Bettola, so-called "door of Nure", as it is located at the point where the valley narrows, where the hills begin to replace the mountains.
Bettola is reached from Piacenza along the Provincial No. 654R, called the Nure, but it also comes from the side Trebbia and Val d'Arda, as well as by the lower Val Chero, through the streets of a completely different smoothness, but quite different charm.
The first passes to Passo del Cerro coming from Perino, the other two over the pass from Passo dei Guselli, after leaving Morfasso or Gropparello. My guide today is Mazzari Pietro, a former City Councillor and Deputy Mayor.
The appointment is in the great square of Bettola, dedicated to Christopher Columbus, whose statue stands at the center, to dominate the button heart of the country. On the one hand the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Quercia, nineteenth and beautifully crafted, with a very interesting interior. On the other hand, are concentrating shops and commercial activities which occur adjacent to the Town Hall.
And 'here that I meet with Mazzari and from here we begin the itinerary. We load in the car camera with tripod and the usual material useful for taking notes and we start crossing the bridge that divides the country in two. Leave it at the village of San Giovanni, one that is on the left of the Nure, to enter the village of San Bernardino that is then on the opposite side of the river.
We go from the center of Bettola and we head towards Prato Barbieri. On our right, while the road immediately begins to climb, a sweet and soft hill is covered with green plots of land that draw strange shapes, on which there are small groups of houses and religious buildings, among which is the church of Revigozzo, a time one of the parishes bettolesi, while the other was to Bramaiano.
We walk for a few minutes this part of the province, made recently replaced the previous overwhelmed by the landslide of 1978. After a few kilometers we see on the left the castle of Caminata, ancient structure with a front to all arches. A short visit and then set off in the direction Rigolo, indicating that it is on the right, immediately after passing the castle.
We follow this narrow but well paved that runs in the middle of a valley that leads to closed Groppo Ducale, while our goal forces us to turn again to the right for a dirt still easily walkable. A few kilometers and takes the paved road, apparently made by the Mountain Community, and we pass Cą Sonino, Country of excellence, recommended as a stop dining, at which we will stop returning.
So we reach Rigolo Church, a church that tells of events even recent, suspended between myth and reality. Around the fifteenth century, the area was the residence of the bishops of Pavia and had to develop a small colony that persisted over time. The large green lawn in front is held every year in mid-September, a country festival that always sees broad participation. The church is well recovered with a careful restoration work, as well as all the adjacent village. Some jobs are still going in the back of the church, where the family Callegari, owner of the farm Cą Sonino, has created rooms and studios that are flanked to the catering service.
Certainly a proposal accommodation very unique and impressive that we are confident will meet the approval of a niche tourism in search of places, environments and alternative contexts. We leave this beautiful village in stones and we continue to Rigolo Scoglio, only 400 meters. The structure of the houses is similar to the one just view, the view and the air you breathe from the top of these 500 mt. to share as well.
Nearby, along the river remain, there is a small votive chapel, where Mass is celebrated on the last Sunday of July.
We decide to go visit him when we will stop at Cą Sonino, because from there it is easier to reach. Here in Rigolo Scoglio the road ends and a sign indicates to fans of hiking a trail that leads to CAI Groppallo and then Farini and then return, loop, here at the starting point, with a few hours of walking. Let's go back to the car and we go back to Rigolo Church and, on the left, does not escape us this time another CAI, the 029 which, through woods full of chestnuts and mushrooms, leading to remain where we come along the paved road, flanked the course of the two rivers and remain Fontanavento.
Here, too, a few houses and the path, going down from Rigolo Church, goes to Farini, always fresh and through dense woods. A quick stop at the 4 or 5 houses Fontanavento, then take direction Bettola, getting closer to the next stage represented by the village of Groppo Ducale. We are almost 800 meters above sea level and welcomes us a nice wrought-iron sign indicating the castle and church.
"Here is held annually on the second Sunday of May, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima" - tells Mr. Alberici, homonymous trattoria, at which we stop for refreshment with a glass of dry white wine - and every time there was so many people - while his wife takes Alberici we need to drink - ... but today ... but it seems that he is recovering something, these holidays, traditions ... a bit 'of people in more he sees himself ... ".
After a cheers to good health, we sip the good white and greet the friendly proprietors to continue our visit. We face the last stage that we reach by climbing for another 200 meters. A few minutes above Groppo Ducale, we are in Costa, 895 meters, a farmhouse, Il Castagno and a B & B by the catchy name, welcoming, The Refuge of the Heart.
Overlooking this real natural balcony over the valley, we see Prato Barbieri which comes out in the middle between the green mountains and the blue of this beautiful sunny day. Resting to a fence, we are, me and Peter, in silence, abandoned for a few seconds with the look that blends with the horizon, fascinated by the roundness of this gentle land, with delicate shades that, especially at this time of the late afternoon, you stretches on the landscape to make it more attractive, more enchanted. It will only be a few minutes later we decide to return and to declare concluded this first route.