The Trebbia Valley is a valley in the Ligurian Apennines, located south-west of the province of Piacenza.
It is formed by the river Trebbia , which has its source on the slopes of Monte Prelà, in the municipality of Torriglia.
Over the years, the flow of its waters has eroded the rock of the valley floor, creating narrow meanders that, when observed from above, are truly scenic.
Rich in fish fauna, the waters of the Trebbia flow for 110 kilometres from the Ligurian borders to the river Po and, along the way, they wedge into these deep gorges, forming enchanting loops and small lakes.
Ernest Hemingway called the Val Trebbia ‘the most beautiful valley in the world‘ and indeed it is a marvel. Let’s go and discover it!
The Trebbia Valley: what to see
The best way to visit the Trebbia Valley is to get in your car (or even better, on a motorbike, if you are travelling as a couple) and proceed along the state road that leads from Piacenza to Torriglia, stopping off at the numerous points of interest.
At the roadside, you will find small parking areas where you can pull over to observe the panorama from above and take photos.
The most scenic stretch is certainly the one from Bobbio to Ponte Organasco, in the direction of Genoa, where the Trebbia river meanders.
Already from the road, you can admire some wonderful views. If you want to get to know this surprising valley more closely, you can visit its villages and take nature walks.
In fine weather, you can also go down to the river, which is swimmable, and take a swim in its clear (and cold) waters.
Points of interest along the Trebbia Valley
There are many points of interest in the Trebbia Valley that are worth a stop. The valley is a marvellous destination in all seasons but, certainly, for visiting its villages and going for walks, the mid-seasons are ideal.
Summer is very hot but perfect for bathing in the crystal-clear waters of the Trebbia. See the dedicated article here.
Below is a short list of the most important attractions to visit in the Trebbia Valley.
Bobbio is the most important centre in the Trebbia Valley. With its medieval architecture, Bobbio, situated at the foot of Monte Penice, is a village to be discovered, starting with its monastery and the Ponte del Diavolo or Ponte Gobbo bridge. Go to full article
If Bobbio is the most important centre in the Trebbia Valley, Brugnello is certainly the most picturesque village.
It is a small village perched on a rocky spur at an altitude of 464 metres. From the road coming from Bobbio, you can see its small church looming high in the sky!
To reach Brugnello, from the SS45 you must take the panoramic road that climbs for 2 kilometres, along which you will find some very special sculptures built in stone.
Just after the sign indicating the beginning of the village, there is a small playground on the right, where you can park your car.
The village of Brugnello is a little gem: the little houses are made of stone and are characterised by doors and shutters inlaid in wood and flowered balconies. The 11 inhabitants who live there keep it alive with care and love.
From the car park, walk calmly down the village’s only alley and in about ten minutes you will reach the Church of Cosma and Damiano, the little church that can be admired from the state road.
Built in the 14th century, the church has a painted Baroque façade while the rest of the building is in stone, like the village.
It is situated at the top of the village and from its churchyard you can enjoy an exceptional view of the Trebbia Valley.
Just below, in fact, the river flows in magnificent meanders drawing curves that take the name of Meandri di Brugnello.
Inside the village, there is the Rocca Rosa restaurant where you can eat typical and revisited dishes.
For walkers, several hiking trails start from the village of Brugnello, such as the 3.4-kilometre path to Confiente, or the 7.7-kilometre path to Bobbio.
Surus, the Trebbia Elephant
The Trebbia Elephant is a spectacular mountain formation that takes on the appearance of an elephant’s back between the bends of the Trebbia River.
This landscape was first captured by photographer Paolo Guglielmetti who, in 2009, immortalised it in a famous shot , giving it international fame.
The Trebbia Elephant was linked to the Battle of the Trebbia, in which the Roman army clashed with the Carthaginian army.
Following the battle, the only surviving elephant of Hannibal’s expedition was Surus, and the Trebbia Elephant was renamed after him.
You can observe it in the stretch between Confiente and Rovaiola.
Cerignale panoramic road
Cerignale is a village of medieval origin, located between the Trebbia and Aveto Valleys. It is surrounded by a beautiful forest of hazel, chestnut and beech trees, and is a destination for relaxing walks in the countryside.
The provincial road that branches off from state road 45 in the direction of Chiavari, is called la Panoramica because it offers an exceptional view of the meandering Trebbia river. In fact, it is located in an elevated position, at an altitude of almost 1,000 metres .
If you have time, it is worth making a small diversions along the Panoramica to admire the panorama below and to visit, along its route, some beautiful hamlets such as Cerignale and Carisasca, with the parish church erected on the promontory and established in 1744.
Another stop you cannot miss if you are travelling through the Trebbia Valley is Montebruno, a small village located along the left bank of the Trebbia River.
Of particular interest is the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Montebruno with the adjacent Museum of Peasant Culture.
Not to be missed is a visit to the Antico Forno a Legna Da Carlo where you can find many sweet (my favourite are the baci di dama) and savoury specialities.
Where to sleep in the Trebbia Valley
For those arriving from afar, a good base for exploring the Trebbia Valley could be Bobbio or, on the opposite side of the valley, Torriglia, which is also worth a visit to taste its famous canestrelli (u canestrellettu).
4. Mount Antola