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Bimbe in Viaggio

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Discovering Bobbio in the Trebbia Valley

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Bobbio is a village in the Trebbia Valley, located in the province of Piacenza at an altitude of 272 metres.

It is the most important centre in the valley as it is both a summer destination for tourism on the Trebbia River and a winter destination thanks to the ski resort on Mount Penice.

Bobbio is worth a visit for its historical centre and to taste the typical local cuisine, but also for its natural setting in the Trebbia Valley.

Defined by Ernest Hemingway as ‘the most beautiful valley in the world’, the Trebbia Valley is formed by the river of the same name that springs from the slopes of Mount Prelà, located south of Mount Antola.

Around Bobbio, one can find fabulous bathing ‘beaches’ in a rather wild natural environment, which are taken by storm in the summer.

The meanders of the Trebbia Valley
The meanders of the Trebbia Valley

Discovering Bobbio in the Trebbia Valley: what to see

cattedrale san colombano
bobbio what to see
bobbio what to see

Bobbio is a medieval town on the slopes of Mount Penice (1460m), founded in 614 by the Irish monk St Columba.

The latter dedicated his life to promoting education and knowledge: already in 982, more than 700 codices were preserved in the Scriptorium of the Abbey.

Strolling through the narrow cobbled streets of the village, one can admire the numerous civil and religious architectures present. such as the Romanesque-Gothic St. Columbanus Cathedral, the Abbey, the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin of Help and the Malaspina Castle.

A special mention goes to the famous Ponte Gobbo or Devil’s Bridge, symbol of the town of Bobbio.

What to see in Bobbio: Ponte Gobbo or Devil’s Bridge

Like the famous Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge) in Borgo a Mozzano, Bobbio ‘s Ponte Gobbo (Hunchback Bridge) is characterised by a humpback structure supported, however, by eleven stone arches – instead of four – of different height and width.

The crossing is for pedestrians only – it can also be crossed with a pushchair – and provides fabulous views of the village and surrounding valley.

bobbio what to see
Discovering Bobbio, in the Trebbia Valley
bobbio what to see
ponte del diavolo
ponte del diavolo
Discovering Bobbio, in the Trebbia Valley

Probably of Roman origin, the Gobbo Bridge was first documented in 1196. According to tradition, it was commissioned by Saint Columbanus from the Devil, who asked him in exchange for the soul of the first person to cross it.

Once the work was completed, the saint made a small, old and shabby dog cross the bridge, thus infuriating the Devil, who felt he was being mocked.

Before leaving, Lucifer kicked the bridge, causing it to take on the hunched and irregular shape that still characterises it today.

CURIOSITY – According to a recent study by researcher Carla Gori and confirmed by Studio Architetti Bellocchi of Piacenza, the Hunchback Bridge appears in the background of the Mona Lisa.

The theory is linked to the identification of the Mona Lisa with Bianca Giovanna Sforza, wife of Gian Galeazzo Sanseverino, commander of the Sforza army and lord of Bobbio.

Where to eat in Bobbio

Osteria Braceria Il Barone – For a quality lunch and an honest bill. Their specialities are meat, cold cuts and traditional Emilian first courses. Reservations recommended.

Paninoteca Senza Fretta – Recommended for a vegan salad or a nice gourmet sandwich; indoor or outdoor tables overlooking Piazza Duomo.

At the Parco Caduti della Resistenza, you can find benches where you can have a picnic and a nice playground for children.

Discovering Bobbio, in the Trebbia Valley: where to sleep


RELAIS SANT’AMBROGIO AGRITURISMO – Agriturismo surrounded by greenery, about ten minutes’ walk from the Ponte del Diavolo bridge. Family rooms, in-house restaurant and excellent breakfast included – Book here.

What to see around Bobbio

Along the course of the river Trebbia, you can find beautiful little beaches and lakes where you can swim in summer. The waters are clear and very cold. Go to article

Nature lovers can enjoy beautiful walks in the woods of the Apennines and short treks to see the course of the Trebbia River from above (e.g. at Brugnello).

You can go to see the Carlone thermal waterfalls by parking your car in San Cristoforo di Bobbio.

From here, in about half an hour, you reach the crossroads that leads left to the low waterfalls and right to the high waterfalls.

The trek in itself is not particularly demanding, but in the last section of the path leading to the low waterfalls, it is necessary to abseil with a rope, so it is not recommended for small children.

Trained hikers can walk the route from Bobbio to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria in Monte Penice at an altitude of 1460 metres, with a difference in altitude of 1200 metres.

The route is 20 km long and the estimated time of arrival is about 6h (5h to descend). The effort is amply repaid by the superb view from the square in front of the Sanctuary.

How to get to Bobbio

There is no motorway exit in Bobbio; the nearest exit is Piacenza Sud. From Genoa, you have to take state road 45, pass Torriglia and do more than an hour of bends.

Ideally, in my opinion, you should be able to stay a night in the area so that you can take your time getting around Bobbio but also its surroundings, which are definitely worth a stop.

From Voghera , Bobbio can be reached by state road 461 Passo del Penice (1h15).

Continue reading:

1. Grazzano Visconti

2. Vigoleno

3. Borgo a Mozzano

4. What to do in Assisi

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