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Between the Middle Ages and unspoiled nature


Located between Bobbio and Marsaglia, on top of a promontory overlooking the Trebbia River, stands the tiny medieval village of Brugnello . Here, as in the most famous center where San Colombano lived, time seems to have stood still in the Middle Ages. All surrounded by a natural landscape of incomparable beauty, which represents a strong attraction for tourists and hikers, but also for those who love to immerse themselves and cool off in the river during the sultry summer days.




The area, inhabited in ancient times by the Ligurians, and later by the Gauls and the Romans, was part of the ancient Pagus Bagienno di Bobbio, which passed from Roman dominion to that of the Lombards, and then returned to the domains of the monastic fief of Bobbio.


The small village was built in medieval times along the road that connected the sea to the Po Valley, following the furrow engraved in the Ligurian Apennines, and its history remains linked to a millennium of trade, trade and pilgrimages.


Originally it was called Corte Brugnatella , and its name appears for the first time in a document dating back to 580, in the period of Lombard domination, when a Royal Court or Villa Reale was active here, which provided for agricultural work throughout the territory.


A document, kept in the Bobbio Archives, shows that at the head of the Court was a certain Breno, a captain of the people of the Franks who, wounded in battle, would have retired to this area of the Val Trebbia. He was the progenitor of the Brugnatelli family , who exercised their dominion in the area for a long time, and who gave the place the name of Corte Brenadella, which later became Corte Brugnatelle and, finally, Brugnello. It was the Brugnatelli, among other things, who built the Castle and provided for the fortification of the village after the year 1000.


In 1164, then, the village together with lands and cities of Alta Valtrebbia, Val d'Aveto and Val Staffora, passed to the Malaspina family at the behest of Federico Barbarossa. In particular, the Castle was included in the Investiture Diploma, granted for three thirds to the Malaspina, and for a third left to the Brugnatelli until 1380.


In 1361 Azzo Malaspina was forced to leave the Brugnello Castle to Galeazzo Visconti, to then pass to Simone de Novanton, known as “Lo Scudiero Verde”, then to the Porro family, and then return to the Brugnatelli. From 1436, however, the center became part of the Dal Verme fiefdoms.


The village began to depopulate in 1930, following the move of the parish seat of the Municipality to nearby Marsaglia and, only recently, has it been recovered.


Visit to the Borgo


The Borgo di Brugnello rises 464 meters above sea level, on a spur that extends spectacularly over the underlying canyon carved out over the millennia by the Trebbia river. The small town, which includes a handful of houses, a church, a hotel and a restaurant, is inhabited by only 11 people, in particular artists: it is the artists, in fact, who have actively contributed to the recovery and restoration of the houses of the streets of Brugnello.


All the houses in Brugello are built in stone, and many of them rest directly on the rock, preserving all their ancient charm intact thanks to an important restoration work. Furthermore, the buildings of the village are characterized by carved wooden shutters, while the alleys are decorated with stones positioned to form floral motifs. And with the same reclaimed stones, chairs and benches were built and made available to the inhabitants and tourists to sit comfortably in the open air and enjoy the sunny days.


The Church of Cosma e Damiano , which dates back to the 11th century, stands in the highest part of the village, and is surrounded by a terrace that directly overlooks the bends of the Trebbia river, offering a truly breathtaking view. It was built on part of the castle ruins, probably originally as a simple chapel annexed to the castle. Over the centuries it was restored several times, and today it retains a painted Baroque facade, while the rest of the building has remained in stone.


The first certain information about this building dates back to 1369, when it appears to have been dedicated to Saints Cosma and Damiano. In 1736, the Ghigliani family built their own chapel dedicated to Mary Immaculate.


The Castle was built by the Brugnatelli family after the year 1000, but today the building, which once had to effectively defend the boron also thanks to its elevated position, remains only a few remains, still visible in front of the Brugnatelli Palace .




Brugnello is also the starting point for hiking along the paths that surround it. The routes range from a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 20 kilometers, and are characterized by different levels of difficulty. An activity also recommended to dispose of a typical Piacenza lunch, whose pillars are represented by fried dumplings and salami, tortelli and a glass of Bonarda.


One of the most attractive routes is the so-called “Anello di Brugnello”, which crosses ancient hamlets and allows you to better admire nature and the bends of the Trebbia river.


The canyon and the beach


Brugnello is also synonymous with river bathing. The Trebbia, in fact, opens at the foot of the small town with a white beach called “La Chiesetta”. A real oasis of peace , surrounded by unspoiled nature and protected by the canyon, where you can immerse yourself in the crystalline waters whose color recalls the Caribbean blue and emerald green.  The ideal place, therefore, to swim, escape the summer heat and have a picnic.


The canyon is the result of the erosion and excavation work that the Trebbia has carried out over time, deeply carving the soil, and exposing the sides of the valley it crosses. A visible aspect along its entire course, especially between Marsaglia and Bobbio. In the surroundings of Brugnello the effects of the Trebbia work reach the most amazing degree: steep and overhanging slopes, with the river waters flowing encased in sinuous and wide meanders.


In addition to the Chiesetta beach, the Anse di Brugnello beach is also worth a visit, a few kilometers away. However, along this whole stretch of the Trebbia there are river beaches of indisputable attraction.


Furthermore, the spectacular Trebbia gorges of this area have a great attraction for canoe and kayak enthusiasts, and for rafting and canyoning enthusiasts.


Brugnello, together with Marsaglia and numerous other hamlets, is part of the Municipality of Corte Brugnatella (Curt ad Bergnèll in Bobbiese dialect). But there are also other noteworthy countries. Confiente , which was one of the ancient monastic cells in the area, owes its name to the Latin “Ad Confluentiam”, rising in fact at the point where the Aveto stream joins the Trebbia river. A salt pan dating back to 1200 was recently discovered here. Lago , which belonged to the Monastery of San Colombano, preserves the ruins of an ancient castle built by the Malaspina family. Carana , a monastic cell owned by the Monastery of San Colombano, dates back to the 10th century. Poggio-Villeri preserves ancient houses connected to each other, a tower-house equipped with seats for the sentries, and a small oratory dating back to the seventeenth century dedicated to San Carlo. Montarsolo rises at an altitude of 710 meters above sea level, on the left bank of the Trebbia. Pieve, with the Parish Church of San Giacomo and the Sanctuary of Our Lady, dating back to the 9th century. Ozzola , with the ancient parish church of Sant'Antonino, built in the 15th century on the remains of an ancient church with the remains of a small castle. And, finally, Marsaglia , capital of the Municipality and seat of the Town Hall.


How to get


From Piacenza, take the Strada Statale 45 to Marsaglia, then take the road to the right, winding but asphalted, after crossing the bridge over the Trebbia, in the direction of Brugnello. From Milan, on the other hand, take the Autostrada del Sole - A1, then exit at Piacenza Sud.


Once you arrive at your destination, however, it must be borne in mind that the parking space is very limited, being able to guarantee no more than 20 parking spaces .

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