Located near Piacenza, in Emilia Romagna, only 100 km south of Milan (1.5 hrs drive), Castell’Arquato is a perfect day trip for culture and food lovers. Stunning views of the Arda Valley and fascinating history makes Castell’Arquato one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Italy. Its stone towers and cobblestoned alleys, surrounded by vineyards and lush hills, date back to the VIII Century AD.
What to visit in Castell’Arquato
Built in 1342, the Rocca Viscontea still dominates the valley. The majestic fortress is open to visitors (5€ entry fee) and the ascent to its tower offers great panoramas and fascinating exhibitions narrating the past of the village and its inhabitants.
Leaving the Rocca behind, a gorgeous plaza – Piazza Monumentale – will open in front of you. On the left, the Collegiata, a church that dates back to 758 AD and definitely worth a visit (the entrance is free). In front of you, the Palazzo del Podestà built in 1292. These three buildings symbolise the three faces of medieval power. The Rocca, standing for the military force; the Collegiata representing the church influence; the Palazzo del Podestà revealing the political might.
Where to eat in Castell’Arquato
The area of Castell’Arquato offers some amazing food and wine experieces. Try the traditional anolini, the fried gnocchi or the board of cheese and cold meats – typical Italian super tasty meal. It won’t let you down! And if the board comes with fried chisolini, you’ve won the lottery. We stopped at La Sosta: not a real restaurant, no table service, no fancy tables, but wow! The food was really good, trust an Italian 😉 1 board (20€) was even too much for the two of us. Fancy a (special) glass of wine? Ask for Vin Santo. Produced in the near Vigoleno, another marvellous castle-village, this sweet amber dessert wine is a nectar. Once you try it you will not live without it!
How to arrive at Castell’Arquato
Coming from North, South and West: highway A1, exit Fiorenzuola d’Arda;
Coming from East: highway A21, exit Piacenza Est;
Alternative panoramic routes: from North – SP4; from South – SP4; from East – SP6.
There is no train station in Castell’Arquato, the closest train stations are Fiorenzuola d’Arda (10 km) and Piacenza (34 km). Here you will find private and public bus’ departing many times a day. Alternatively you can call a taxi.