Comune di Bobbio
View of Bobbio
View of Bobbio
Coat of arms of Bobbio
Location of Bobbio
Bobbio is located in Italy
Location of Bobbio in Italy
Bobbio is located in Emilia-Romagna
Bobbio (Emilia-Romagna)
Coordinates: 44°46′N 9°23′E / 44.767°N 9.383°E / 44.767; 9.383
ProvincePiacenza (PC)
FrazioniCassolo, Ceci, Dezza, Mezzano Scotti, Santa Maria, San Cristoforo, San Salvatore, Vaccarezza
 • MayorRoberto Pasquali
 • Total106.5 km2 (41.1 sq mi)
272 m (892 ft)
 • Total3,724
 • Density35/km2 (91/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0523
Patron saintSt. Columbanus, Assumption of Mary, St. Antonio Gianelli
Saint day23 November, 15 August
WebsiteOfficial website

Bobbio (Bobbiese: Bòbi; Ligurian: Bêubbi; Latin: Bobium) is a small town and comune in the province of Piacenza in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy. It is located in the Trebbia River valley southwest of the town Piacenza. There is also an abbey and a diocese of the same name. Bobbio is the administrative center of the Unione Montana Valli Trebbia e Luretta. It is one of I Borghi più belli d'Italia ("The most beautiful villages of Italy").[3]


Bobbio is located in the heart of Val Trebbia, a valley described by Ernest Hemingway as "the most beautiful in the world".[4] The town is nestled at the foot of Monte Penice, 1,460 metres (4,790 ft) above sea level, on the left bank of the river Trebbia. Its history is identified with the Abbey founded in 614 by St. Columbanus an Irish missionary, and as a result, it became one of the principal centres of religious culture in medieval Italy, home to a library and basilica. The possessions of the abbey in the Lombard and Carolingian eras spanned the north of Italy. Bobbio is a coveted tourist destination known for its history of art and culture, for nature lovers, and for its ancient monuments. It has from antiquity been a crossroads between different cultures such as the Piacentine, Ligurian, Piedmontese, and Pavian. The historical centre and heart of the city has maintained the characteristics of the medieval village. One town landmark, the Ponte Vecchio, called Ponte Gobbo (Hunchback Bridge), also known as the Devil's Bridge, is an ancient stone bridge of Roman origin, which crosses the river Trebbia in eleven irregular arches. The Shrine of Our Lady of Penice, located on top of Monte Penice, dominates the landscape, and is also visited in winter for its ski resorts.[citation needed] Historians have speculated that Bobbio was the town in which Leonardo da Vinci completed the Mona Lisa. Carla Glori in December 2011 has published her book Enigma Leonardo:decifrazioni e scoperte where the background of the portrait has been identified as the landscape of Bobbio.

Landscape and outskirts

Meanders of San Salvatore

Bobbio is 45 kilometres (28 mi) from Piacenza and from there it can be reached by the state road n. 45, which connects Piacenza to Genova. From Pavia, the route to Bobbio is via road n. 461 and Pass Penice.

From Bobbio, the road to Piacenza is only a few minutes from Barberino Orrido, an overlook of the river Trebbia. Continuing in the same direction you enter the village of Mezzano Scotti, and a few kilometres afterwards, 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.

On the same road but in the direction of Genova and 4 kilometres (2 mi) from Bobbio is San Salvatore, a little village with a wonderful view of the river's meanderings. A few kilometres upstream is Marsaglia and Brugnello, with the ancient Church of Brugnello overlooking the river Trebbia.

From Bobbio, taking the state road n. 461 for Pavia after 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) you reach Passo Penice (1145 m) where there is a ski resort on the top of the Monte Penice (1460 m). This is the location of the ancient Virgin Penice Sanctuary with a view of the region; a few kilometres downhill, near Ceci, is a cross country ski run.

On the other side of the river just 10 kilometres (6 mi) from Bobbio is the village of Coli, situated between pinewoods and pasture fields.

Trebbia river and valley

The Trebbia valley in July, a few kilometres upstream from Bobbio.

The river Trebbia is the backbone of Bobbio and its surrounding territory. It springs in Liguria on Mount Prelà and flows 120 kilometres (75 mi) to reach the river Po. Its waters are fresh, clean and run between stones and rocks outlining a twisting journey through overhangs and waterfalls.[citation needed] The Trebbia valley is known among international scholars for its geology.[5]

Common activities on the river include hiking, swimming, sunbathing, canoeing, canyoning and fishing. Trout, balbels[clarification needed] and chubs can be found in the river.

The territory around Bobbio is characterized by the Apennines, which influence the climate,[citation needed] contributing cool air in summer and protecting the town from cold winds and fog in winter.[citation needed] On the surrounding mountains are find cultivated fields and pastures, and the woods are habitats for a number of critters (squirrel, dormouse, hedgehog, hare, badger, fox, wolf, wild boar, pheasant, partridge, and many birds) and where a great variety of trees and flowers grow (aromatic herbs, broom, beech, oak, pine, chestnut, spruce, larch).[citation needed]


Known to the ancients as Bobium or Ebovium, the town underwent many settlements from the Neolithic Age up to the contemporary one. Several archaeological finds testify to the presence of Liguri, Boii (Gauls of Celtic origin), and from the 4th [6] century BC 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 the district from the Longobard King Agilulf.

Bobbio Abbey increased its possessions and became one of the principal seats of culture and religion of Northern Italy and a centre of learning during the Middle Ages, and was renowned for its Scriptorium and library. In the 10th century, there were 700 codices; 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 was in part the model for the great monastery in Umberto Eco's 1980 novel The Name of the Rose.[citation needed]

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

The city lay in the region of Liguria but in 1230 Piacenza conquered Bobbio and its dominion lasted until the 14th century when the Contea of Bobbio passed, first, under the rule of the Malaspina, and then under the rule of the Visconti, the dukes of Milan.

In 1387 the city passed to the Dal Verme family and formed the Contea of Bobbio and Voghera; in 1516 the area formed the Marchesate of Bobbio.

The town became part of the domains of the House of Savoy in 1748 after the Wars of Succession and formed the Province of Bobbio.

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

From 1815 to 1859 Bobbio and its province were included in the Department of Genoa, then passed to Pavia and finally in 1923 to Piacenza.

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

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

Main sights

Panorama of the old town of Bobbio
The Basilica of Saint Columbanus
Stone arch bridge over the Trebbia river
Bobbio Cathedral

On the right side is the Palazzo Vescovile ("Bishop's Palace", 11th century), partially renewed in 1448; there is also the garden of the cathedral. On the left side is the Bobbio historical archives: sited into the premises of the Old Seminary, founded in the mid-12th century, they keep precious parchments and fragments of ancient codes dated from the 9th century to the 15th century. Available on microfilm the reproduction of all documents referred to Bobbio.

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 4th century AD.

Main sights in the surrounding area

Thermal springs

In the outskirts of Bobbio, there are many water springs rich in sodium chloride, bromine and iodine. When their curative properties were 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 and is currently undergoing restoration for the creation of a modern health centre and a spa where you will be treated diseases of the respiratory system and the skin.


In literature and cinema

Film festival

Preparation for the competition of the Bobbio Film Festival

The town of Bobbio has its own film festival director Marco Bellocchio is born from the Laboratory Farecinema, and would eventually become the film competition Bobbio Film Festival. "Farecinema – meet the authors" is the brainchild of Maestro Marco Bellocchio who wanted to create in his hometown, Bobbio, a laboratory for teaching the art of film direction. Already the first edition was held, parallel to the laboratory, an evening film festival open to the public with a film club at the end of screenings where people participated representing the film projected. In 2005 becomes the exhibition Festival, taking the name of "Bobbio Film Festival" and Marco Bellocchio establishing the award "The Hunchback of Gold" in reference to symbols of Bobbio, the medieval Ponte Gobbo, which will reward the film judged the best among those proposed. To review films that work as he moved in the cloister of Saint Columban, where traditionally takes the event. In parallel, the laboratory continues Farecinema that will become a film school and acting, and the town of Bobbio and has also become a movie set with the possibility of participation of extras also taken from the street.

Literary contest

From 2008 the local newspaper publisher and Pontegobbo piacentino Freedom indicate a literary competition open to young Italian and foreign writers of fiction and poetry. The competition from young unsigned talent and contribute to emerge and become known and appreciated by audiences and critics. Or experts will be recognized and awards for top entries there will be opportunities for public amenities, while those who are established as the winner will get free advertising and inclusion in all contexts of narrative. Piazza Santa Fara parallel in the porch of Saint Columban, the event is held in Piazza managed by Pontegobbo Books, with the chance to meet and buy works of historical fiction local tourism.

Palio delle Contrade

The Palio is a manifestation of medieval origin, which sees the challenge of the contrada members in various contests of skill, for the conquest of the cloth that crowns the winning contrada. The five historic districts of Bobbio are named after the many gateways to the medieval city existing in the 12th century: Alcarina, Fringuella, Agazza, Legleria and Nova. The event is held on the 2nd Sunday of August is organized by Pro Loco, open in the early afternoon from the historical procession that will wind from the Castle along the downtown streets to St. Fara Square, saw representatives from each district compete in the historic city centre in various contests of skill to decree the winner. The contrada members dressed in the colours of belonging will compete in five challenges: Racing Towers, Launch egg, Rat race Castellana and finally the Greasy Pole in the Cathedral Square. For the younger ones, there is the Palio of the Child. The final prize giving with the delivery of the "Palio" concludes the challenge, while at night in every square frame will hold their dinners of the districts.

Music and dancing

Ettore Losini – Bani The Pied Piper

Positioned in the heart of four provinces (Alessandria in PiedmontGenoa, in LiguriaPavia, in LombardyPiacenza, in Emilia-Romagna), Bobbio can boast a very old musical tradition, linked to the use of an instrument, the piffero (oboe popular double-reed), which accompanied by accordion, brings a vast repertoire of songs that marked the various stages of life of the community. In addition to the provinces of the four dances (famously jig Bobbio Bala Ghidon), there are tracks for the Carlin May – Cantamaggio, with variant of the feast of the Santa Croce, marriage, Lever (Leva Levon to Santa Maria) and that recall places and events related to the past (the song Draghin). The dances, in addition to waltz, polka and mazurka you can meet archaic dances such as: Alexandria, the monferrina, the jig two.[citation needed]

Gerberto Choir – City of Bobbio

The choir takes its name from Gerbert of Aurillac who was the abbot of the monastery of St. Columban in Bobbio around the year one thousand and later became Pope with the name of Sylvester II. Gerbert was not only a scholar of astronomy, mathematics and philosophy, but also of music.

Founded by Don Michele Tosi in the 60s[when?] the choir reconstituted itself after more than 20 years of inactivity in November 1998, thanks to the efforts of former choir members and of young maestro Edo Mazzoni. The repertoire includes 30 items comprising traditional mountain songs, folklore and songs.[8]

Gastronomy and local products

The local gastronomy is influenced by the different traditions of the near regions: Liguria, Piemonte, Lombardia and Emilia. As part of the kitchen Piacenza, Bobbio occupies a prominent position could include a series of original local dishes and desserts that are passed down from many generations:

The snails of Bobbio that from survival food have become a much sought-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.

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 Middle age.

Bobbio is located at the foot of Ligurian Apennines, in the territory known as Colli Piacentini, near DOC for the production of typical wines such as Gutturnio, Trebbianino Trebbia Val, Barbera, Bonarda, Ortrugo, Malvasia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot (other: Riesling, Dolcetto, Muscat and Merlot).

Bobbio is also known for the sausage: salami, Cups, bacon, Piacenza PDO, sausages of various kinds, and cotechini and zampone.

Honors environmental and historic cultural

Some art historians, including Carla Glori, have suggested that Bobbio and its three-arched Ponte Gobbo (which was destroyed in 1472) are the landscape in the background of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.[9]

Bobbio is recognized as a City of Art and Culture.

From 2006 was awarded the Bandiera arancione (it. orange Flag) by Touring Club Italiano, as the high-medieval centre of tourist interest, which stands for excellence and hospitality, and it is also inserted into the World Tourism Organization.

From 2008 is also part of the club The most beautiful villages in Italy (it. I Borghi più belli d'Italia), which included 149 villages throughout the Italian territory.

Annual events

The events are yearly, many are concentrated in the summer, as the manifestation Summer bobbies and Thursday bobbies. Among the hundreds of events we can indicate the most followed:

Addition, every Saturday morning on the main square, is held the traditional and ancient fair-market, with stalls and markets of various kinds with local produce and Agrobiologica.

Patronal fiestas and principal religious feasts

Road routes and transport

  1. By Piacenza after the exit from Motorway A1, take the ring road to the stadium, then we arrive at the junction of the Galleana, located at the southern outskirts the city, where he began the main road to Val Trebbia: Strada Statale 45 di Val Trebbia – SS45, which goes to SW for 45 km towards Genoa;
  2. By Milan or Bologna, Piacenza achieved by Motorway A1 or through Via Emilia, take the State Road 45 Val Trebbia – SS45 direction Bobbio – Genoa;
  3. By Turin, Cremona or Brescia, Piacenza achieved by Motorway A21, take the State Road 45 Val Trebbia – SS45 in direction Bobbio – Genoa;
  4. By Genoa and the Italian Riviera, you climb up along the Val Bisagno to leave the city, across the road from Val Trebbia: Strada Statale 45 di Val Trebbia – SS45 towards Piacenza, which touches the towns of Liguria Bargagli, Torriglia, Montebruno, Rovegno, Gorreto and those of Emilia Ottone and Corte Brugnatella (km 68);
  5. By Chiavari and the Italian Riviera, both for the former State Route 586 Valley dell'Aveto – SP 586 through Rezzoaglio and Val Aveto to Marsaglia (Corte Brugnatella) (not recommended in winter) (km 90) or head for the Val Fontanabuona by the route Provincial 225 Val Fontanabuona – SP 225 to Bargagli and incorporated in the State Road 45 Val Trebbia – SS45 towards Piacenza (km 100);
  6. By Recco through the Provincial Road 333 – SP 333 to Gattorna (Moconesi) and then the Strada Provinciale 225 – SP 225 to Bargagli and always attach the State Road 45 Val Trebbia – SS45 towards Piacenza (100 km);
  7. By Voghera by Varzi and the Monte Penice Pass for the former State Road 461 Pass Penice – SP 461 (km 57);
  8. By Castel San Giovanni through the Val Tidone and the passing of Monte Penice Pass for the former State Route 412 Val Tidone – SP 412 (km 50).

From reports the efficiency of communications: in particular the main artery SS 45 Val Trebbia, in fact, it was partly renovated, but still stretches of road with a strong characterization of other times with the logical consequences, lend, so the utmost care when you are in travel it is advised caution and moderation in the rate since the stroke, especially among Rivergaro and Perino, very twisty corners with poor visibility and bumpy surface.

The section of road mentioned above are quite interesting from the point of view and landscape view, provided the attention to driving, in several sections, where allowed, they should stop to admire the territory of considerable value in each season, useful to bring a good camera.

Val Trebbia is served from Piacenza providing regular public bus service from Piacenza via Rivergaro, Bobbio, Marsaglia, Ponte Organasco, Brass, Brass depart from the bus routes that connect the upper Val Genoese Trebbia with Genoa, but also the line Brass Bridge-Organasco-Varzi and then Oltrepò Pavia. Bobbio also depart from other local connections: Bobbio-Coli, Bobbio-Marsaglia-S.Stefano Aveto-Rezzoaglio.

Twin cities

See also

Manuscripts written in Bobbio:


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Emilia Romagna" (in Italian). Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  4. ^ Hemingway in val Trebbia e val d'Aveto
  5. ^ Bobbio e il suo territorio - Bobbio and its territory - history, art, culture, nature, sport, oenology, and gastronomy - The borough of Bobbio, April 2009 - pag. 62-63
  6. ^ Bobbio Città d'Europa, B.Boccaccia – Ed. Pontegobbo 2004
  7. ^ M. Tosi - Bobbio, Guida storica artistica della città e dintorni - Archivi Storici Bobiensi, Bobbio 1978 e 1983 - pag. 92-93
  8. ^ "Home".
  9. ^ "Mona Lisa landscape location mystery 'solved'".