Vigoleno is a delightful medieval village that stands at an altitude of 350 metres.
From the small promontory on which it is situated, you can enjoy a fabulous panorama of the surrounding hills.
We are located in the Piacenza hills, halfway between the provinces of Piacenza and Parma.
The medieval fortification of rare beauty, which has come down to us intact, earned Vigoleno its nomination as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy in 2002.
We were in Vigoleno on the occasion of the wedding of dear friends, who celebrated no less than inside the castle.
So how could we not take the opportunity to discover this splendid little village and its surroundings, perhaps staying for the whole weekend?
Between Kings and Queens at Vigoleno Castle: what to see
Main square and fountain
The village of Vigoleno is small but very characteristic.
Through the fortified gate, you enter the cobbled stone alleyways that lead to the main square where you can admire the ancient 16th-centuryfountain .
An important meeting place at the time, even today the square is of great importance as it hosts various events organised throughout the year.
It may be curious to know that among the stones that make up the narrow streets of the village, one can see the remains of marine fossils .
This is because, at one time, in the surrounding areas from which the sandstone rock that makes up the walls comes, the sea arrived.
Church of San Giorgio
Also very impressive is the Church of San Giorgio, where weddings are celebrated.
Built around the second half of the 12th century, the church has undergone several renovations over the years.
However, it remains one of the best-preserved examples of romantic architecture in the Piacenza area.
Inside, you can find the painting of St George slaying the dragon, symbol of good triumphing over evil.
We continue our tour of the village with a visit to the castle , which is, without a doubt, the real star of Vigoleno.
Vigoleno Castle probably owes part of its fame to the cinema, as in 1985 it was chosen as the set for the film Ladyhawke, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Rutger Hauer.
But its origin is very ancient; it is thought to have been built as far back as the 10th century BC.
Being located at a strategic point along the Via Francigena, it was initially used as a military base, changing hands several times over the years until it came into the hands of Duchess Maria Ruspoli de Gramont , who transformed it into a cultural salon.
At the dawn of the 1900s, it hosted such important figures as Gabriele d’Annunzio and Max Ernst.
Today, the castle is a venue for exhibitions and events.
Visiting Vigoleno Castle: entrance fee
There are two routes to visit the castle:
patrol walkway (the Mastio) which is free and costs €4.00 (€3.00 for children aged 6-11);
tour of the inner rooms, which is guided and costs € 6.50 (including the free visit to the Mastio).
The view from the Mastio is obviously breathtaking!
We conclude our visit to the village of Vigoleno with the Orsanti Museum.
Between Kings and Queens at Vigoleno Castle: Orsanti Museum
The Orsanti were pedlars, who lived between 1700 and 1800, who entertained the population through shows with domesticated animals.
The museum tour takes place inside Casa Tanzi, a historic building in Vigoleno, and tells the story of these performers through a collection of their props.
Clothes, musical instruments, puppets and even a stuffed brown bear that, together with other animals such as monkeys, parrots and camels, accompanied the Orsanti in their performances.
Prices at the Orsanti Museum
Adult ticket: € 4.00
Child ticket 6-11 years: € 3.00
There are also combined tickets with the Castle.
For information and bookings, please contact 39 3297503774.
When to go to Vigoleno
A visit to Vigoleno is worthwhile in any season , but the village certainly offers its best in summer with its open-air musical events, and in winter with its Christmas cribs.
The village is open all year round and admission is free.
Where to park in Vigoleno
Two car parks are available outside the Vigoleno walls. The first is very close but really very small, while the second is about a hundred metres from the entrance and is larger.
There are also five free camper van spaces in the Rio delle Noci car park. The area is not equipped but it is possible to park there at no extra cost.