3 Bobbio


Infobox CityIT
img_coa =Bobbio-Stemma.png official_name = Comune di Bobbio
region = Emilia Romagna
province = Piacenza (PC)
elevation_m = 272
area_total_km2 = 106.5
population_as_of =
population_total = 3724
population_density_km2 = 35
timezone = CET, UTC+1
coordinates = coord|44|46|N|9|23|E
frazioni = Cassolo, Ceci, Dezza, Mezzano Scotti, Santa Maria, San Cristoforo, San Salvatore, Vaccarezza
telephone = 0523
postalcode = 29022
gentilic =Bobbiesi
saint = St. Columbanus
day = November 23
mayor = Roberto Pasquali (since June 13, 1999, now in his second term)
website = [http://www.comune.bobbio.pc.it www.comune.bobbio.pc.it]

Bobbio is a small town and commune in the province of Piacenza in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy. It is located in the Trebbia River valley southwest of the town Piacenza. There were also an abbey and a diocese of the same name. Bobbio is the administrative center of the Comunità Montana Appennino Piacentino.

Landscape and outskirts

Bobbio is 45 km. far from Piacenza and from there you can reach it taking the state road n. 45 that connect Piacenza to Genova. From Pavia you can reach Bobbio through the road n. 461 and Pass Penice.

From Bobbio taking the road to Piacenza in a few minute you can reach the "Barberino Orrido" a wonderful overhanging on the river Trebbia, following on the same direction you meet the village of Mezzano Scotti and a few kilometers after the little village called Perino. It is an ideal starting point for visiting the Perino Valley or the ancient characteristic villages of Aglio and Pradovera where are the remains of the old castle of Erbia.

On the same road but in direction Genova, 4 km. from Bobbio, there is San Salvatore a little village from where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the river meanders. A few kilometers upstream is Marsaglia and Brugnello with ancient "Church of Brugnello" overlooking the river Trebbia.

From Bobbio taking the state road n. 461 for Pavia after 12 km. you reach Passo Penice (m. 1145) where is a ski resort, on the top of the Mount Penice (m. 1460) there is the ancient "Virgin Penice Sanctuary" with a view of the territory;a few kilometers downhill, near Ceci, is a country cross ski run.

On the other side of the river at 10 km. from Bobbio is the village of Coli sited between beautiful pine woods and pasture fields.

The river Trebbia and the valley

The river Trebbia is the backbone of Bobbio and its territory. It springs in Liguria on Mount Prelà and covers 120 km. to reach the river Po. its waters are fresh, clean and run between stones and rocks outlining a twisting journey through wonderful overhanging and spectacular waterfalls.

The Trebbia valley is also one of the most interesting geological areas of all Italy and it is well known among international scholars.

On the river it is possible to practise a lot of sports: hiking, swim, canoeing, canyoning and fishing. In its water live trouts, balbels and chubs.

In summer time a lot of people come to sunbathe along its beaches.

The territory around Bobbio is characterized by the Apennines which, apart from outlining a splendid landscape, influence the climate granting cool air in summer time and protecting the town from cold winds and fog in winter. On the surrounding mountains you can find cultivated fields, pastures but also many woods where a lot of animals have their habitat (squirrel, dormouse, hedgehog, hare, badger, fox, wolf, wild boar, pheasant, partridge, and many birds) and where grow a great variety of trees and flowers (aromatic herbs, broom, beech, oak, pine, chestnut, spruce, larch).


Known to the ancients as Bobium or Ebovium, it underwent many settlements from the Neolithic Age up to the contemporary one. Several archaeological finds testify to the presence of Liguri, Boi (Gauls of Celtic origin) and from the fourteenth century B.C. the Romans.

But the history of Bobbio is tied to the existence of the Abbey founded in 614 by the Irish monk Saint Columbanus (It. Colombano), who received this district from the Longobard King "Agilulf".

Bobbio Abbey (see main article) increased its possessions and became one of the principal seats of culture and religion of Northern Italy and a center of learning during the Middle Ages, and was renowned for its famous Scriptorium and Library, in the 10th century there were 700 codes; but its decline in the 15th century led to the dispersal of the library. The monastery was officially suppressed by the French in 1803.

This monastery is in part the model for the great monastery in Umberto Eco's novel "The Name of the Rose".

In 1014 Bobbio was erected City and Episcopal See and surrounded by city walls and form the "Contea of Bobbio".

The city was in region of Liguria but in 1230 Piacenza conquered Bobbio and its dominion lasted until the 14th century when the Contea of Bobbio passed, before Malaspina government and then, under the government of the Visconti family under Ducato of Milan.

In 1387 the city passed at Dal Verme family and form the "Contea of Bobbio and Voghera"; in 1516 the area form the "Marchesato of Bobbio".

The town became part of Savoy in 1748 after the Wars of Succession and form the "Province of Bobbio".

In 1796 the French arrived in Italy and only four years later Napoleon suppressed the monastery and sold all its treasure.

From 1815 to 1859 Bobbio and its province was enclosed into the Dipartments of Genoa, then passed to Pavia and finally in 1923 to Piacenza.

On July 7, 1944, the partisan resistance in Italy conquered the town, form the "Republic of Bobbio" and self-governed it until it was crushed by the Germans on August 27, the same year.

The bishopric dates from 1014. On september 30 1986, the Diocese was suppressed and merged with Archdiocese of Genoa. Since 1989, Bobbio was united with Diocese of Piacenza to form the Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio.

Main sights

*The "Saint Columbanus Abbey": Open to the public the long ground floor corridor, the main cloister; the service yard; the "Abbey Museum", recently restored and enlarged, collects remarkable works and art objects of Roman, Medieval and Renaissance Age, and "Town Museum" is a sort of didactic journey, whose admittance is from the southern wing of the cloister, the only one that guards the original portico.

**"Saint Columbanus Basilica": it was built between 1456 and 1522 on the rest of the protoromanic church of the 10th century. Naves frescos are by "Bernardino Lanzani" from the town San Colombano al Lambro (1527); remarkable the precious wooden choir in gothic style dated 1488. In the "crypt": a 12th century flooring mosaic; Saint Columbanus marble sarcophagus made by "Giovanni de Patriarchi" (1480); two marble pluteos used as tombstones of "Saint Attala" and "Saint Bertulf" sepulchres; a beautiful 12th century wrought iron gate.

*The "Old Bridge": the 280 metre long "Ponte Vecchio" ("Old Bridge"), which spans the Trebbia by means of eleven unequal arches, is known to have existed before 1196 and may be of Roman origin. From its curious and irregularity shape it is commonly called the ‘Hunchback Bridge’; also the ‘Devil’s Bridge’ after many legends: the famous legend tells that it was built by the Devil in one night after he made a pact with Saint Columbanus who promised him the soul of the first passerby; but when the bridge was finished the Irish Saint sent a dog.The other legend is in which a man tricks Satan into rebuilding it over-night after it has been destroyed by a flood. In reality the bridge did need to be reconstructed after flood damage in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

*The "Malaspina-Dal Verme Castle": begun by Corradino Malaspina in 1304 on the hill overlooking the town, it remained for the duration of his rule a ghibelline stronghold. Today it remains the square-plan keep, two minor service towers and the defensive walls. By the castle affords a good view over the town and the surrounding countryside. In 1800, under the name of Castello Bobbium, the property and mark was purchased and owned by the Piccinini family of Emilia-Romagna until 1956 when the castle and land was ceded by the Piccinini to the Italian State.

*The "Park of the Castle": the big park under the castle.

*The Castellaro: the old historic quarter under the castle and the park.

*The "Cathedral": built in 1075, is the main religious edifice of the city. It has two majestic towers, which are original in the lower parts. The façade is from 1463 (date in which also a portico was demolished), with three portals in Gothic style. The cathedral presents modern decoration in the three naves and an eighteenth century decoration in the presbytery and on the transept dome. Through the right transept you can reach Saint John chapel where there is a splendid fresco of the second half of the 15th century representing the Annunciation. The crypt houses the sepulchres of the bishops of Bobbio, and the chapel of Saint Antonio Maria Gianelli, bishop of Bobbio.

On the right side is the "Palazzo Vescovile" ("Bishop's Palace", 11th century), partially renewed in 1448; there are also the garden of cathedral.

On the left side is the "Bobbio historical archives": sited into the premises of the "Old Seminary", founded in the mid of the 12th century, they keep precious parchements and fragments of ancient codes dated from 9th century to 15th century. Available on microfilm the reproduction of all documents referred to Bobbio.

*"Saint Francis' church and Monastery": built according to the unrefined 13th century Saint Francis style. The monastery maintained the original shape while the church was rebuilt at the beginning of the 18th century in baroque style. Worth of mention is the beautiful inner cloister with squat pillars that substain four crossvault covered spans on each side and over which runs a wooden loggia with precious medieval capitals columns.

*"Saint Lawrence church": built probably in the 12th century it was enlarged during the 17th century. Still visible on the left side are parts of the ancient building while on the right outer wall are two tablets also from the previous church.

*The "Virgin Mary's Help Sanctuary": it encloses the remains of the 15th century church decorated with a "miraculous" image of the Virgin Mary. In 1611 it was said to have dripped sweat from the forehead. It was given the present baroque classical style in 1641.

Two museums are located within the abbey complex, one devoted to the abbey and one to the town. Among the exhibits is a much admired carved ivory "bucket" of the fourth century AD.

*The "Abbey Museum": It collects remarkable works and art objects of Roman, Medieval and Renaissance Age. Of Roman period: the "Cocceia" family sarcophagus, four cinerary urns, a pagan altar dedicated to Diana and an alabaster "Hydra" dating back to 3rd century. Other note worthy pieces are the longobard stones, the "Saint Cumiano" tombstone (8th century), tin votive ampullae, the "Orpheus ivory shrine" and the wrougth silver Saint Colunbanus bust. In the picture gallery a "polyptyc" by "Luini" representing the Assumption.
*The "Town Museum": sited in the ancient refectory and service room, is a didactic journey yhrough the history of Bobbio and can be a sort of introduction to all the other historical places of the town. The first section is dedicated to the life and works of the Irish Saint, while the second section looks at the monastic complex from an architectonic point of view, on a "computer" runs a program for a virtual visit of the building, but it is also about the famous "Scriptorium" that made Bobbio the greatest cultural centre of northern Italy. The dressing made of light and transparent supports completed by multimedial means is parfectly integrated with the monumental space of the monastery and its educational aim.

*The "monastery of Santa Chiara" and "Palazzo Comunale".

*The ex "Saint Nicolas' Church".

*The ancient "Palaces Bobbiensis": Malaspina, Tamburelli, Olmi, Alcarini (with the Teodolinda house), Calvi, etc.

*The Therm of Bobbio.

*The Carlone Valley with "the thermal waterfall" with thermal springs near the ancient middle ages village "San Cristoforo" and the old escursonistic "Sentiero medioevale per il Santuario del Monte Penice": 5 km. from Bobbio.

Thermal springs

In the outskirts of Bobbio there are many water sprigs rich in sodium chloride, bromine and iodine. When their curative properties where not known these waters were exploited to obtain salt. Indeed, already during the Longobard Age, the army leader "Sundrarit" enjoyed the income of the salt-works sited on the right side of the river Trebbia. Now in San Martino, 1.5 km. from the centre of the town, the spa building "Therm of Bobbio", first opened in July 1904, is being restaured. In June 2010 it will see the creation of a modern health clinic and a beauty farm where diseases of the respiratory system and dermatological ones will be treated.

Gastronomy and local products

The local gastronomy is influenced by the different traditions of the near regions: Liguria, Piemonte, Lombardia and Emilia.

But naturally there are local speciality such as the famous "snails of Bobbio" that from survive food have become a much sougt-after course for the Christmas Eve or the celebrated "maccheroni" hand made pasta done with the aid of the knitting needle and served with a tasty beef stew sauce.

Among dessert the glamorous "almonds cakes" or "the Croccante", a sort of almond sweetmeat.

In the right season it is possible to taste the flavoured products of the surrounding woods such as mushrooms and truffles.

And last but not least the numerous locally produced "wines" all of excellent quality. Tradition says that were the same monks arrived with Saint Columbanus who started the growing of the vine after it was abandoned during the dark age of Middleage.

Twin cities

*Flagicon|Austria - Ybbs an der Donau, Austria
*flagicon|Ireland - Navan, Ireland

ee also

Manuscripts written in Bobbio:
*Bobbio Jerome
*Bobbio Orosius

External links

* [http://www.comune.bobbio.pc.it/ Bobbio homepage (in Italian)]
* [http://www.cmbobbio.pc.it/sezione.asp?idse=1 A brief History (in Italian)] from the site of the Comunità Montana Appennino Piacentino
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02605b.htm Catholic Encyclopedia article on Bobbio]

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