In Italy there are many walled towns that are worth a visit. I wrote about one of them, Brisighella, some weeks ago.
Today, I’d like to talk one of the many beautiful Italian walled towns: Castell’Arquato.
Castell’Arquato is one of the most wonderful Italian walled towns in the province of Piacenza, in Emilia-Romagna.
Time there almost seems to have stopped.
Some of the things to visit in Castell’Arquato are the Visconti fortress and the Church of St. Maria Assunta.
Visconti fortress was built in 1342 over a pre-existing building. In 1347 it was expanded by Luchino Visconti. The fortress was built on the highest hill for defensive purposes.
In the fortress, today, there’s a Medieval museum which hosts exhibitions of medieval culture and history.
Church of St. Maria Assunta
Another church existed where the church of St. Maria Assunta stands today. It appears that the old church was built around 758 and was then donated to the Bishop of Piacenza in 772.
However, it was damaged by an earthquake in 1117 and now no longer exists. At its place, the church of St. Maria Assunta was built. The church has many frescoes dating back to the XV century, and sculptures and capitals dating back to the XII century.
Next to the church there’s the Museum of the Collegiate Church. In it there are sacred furnishings, sculptures, paintings, silverware, etc.
Castell’Arquato is not the only place that is worth a visit. Indeed, nearby there are the towns of Chiaravalle and Velleia Romana.
Chiaravalle is a small town 20 minutes from Castell’Arquato. Chiaravalle is famous for its abbey, the Abbey of Chiaravalle that was built by monks in 1136.
During the years the abbey was sacked several times and, in 1805, the monks had to leave it under the order of Napoleon Buonaparte.
It was only in 1937 that they could go back.
One of the things that is worth mentioning inside the abbey is the sepulcher. It dates back to the 14th century and contains the remains of the first monks.
In the abbey you can also buy all the products that monks produce like honey, teas, perfumes, liqueurs, etc.
Valleia Romana is a town not very far from Castell’Arquato. It’s an ancient roman city that was abandoned in the fifth century due to landslides.
Many archeological findings were found there like a bronze inscription, thermae, an amphitheatre, etc.
In Velleia there’s a museum, called the antiquarium, which hosts some of the archeological findings. You can see the majority of all the other archeological findings in Parma, in the national museum.
Original image by veerasantinithi