The Village OF BRUGNELLO
Between the Middle Ages and unspoiled nature
Situated 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 very strong attraction for tourists and hikers, but also for those who love to dive 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 domination to that of the Lombards, and then returned to the domains of the monastic fiefdom 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 tied to a millennium of exchanges, trades 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 Archive, 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. It was the progenitor of the Brugnatelli family , which exercised its dominion in the area for a long time, and which gave the place the name of Corte Brenadella, which later became Corte Brugnatelle and, finally, Brugnello. Among other things, it was the Brugnatelli who built the Castle and provided for the fortification of the village after the year one thousand.
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 Castello di Brugnello in Galeazzo Visconti, then move on to Simone de Novanton, called "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 movement of the parish seat of the Municipality to nearby Marsaglia and, only in recent times has it been witnessed to its recovery.
Visit to the Borgo
The Borgo di Brugnello rises 464 meters above sea level, on a spur that stretches spectacularly over the underlying canyon carved over the millennia by the Trebbia river. The small center, which includes a handful of houses, a church, a hotel and a restaurant, is inhabited only by 11 people, in particular by 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 of Brugello are built in stone, and many of them rest directly on the rock, keeping all their ancient charm intact thanks to an important restoration work. The buildings of the village are also characterized by carved wooden shutters, while the alleys are decorated with stones positioned to form floral motifs. And with the same recycled stones, chairs and benches have been built and made available to the inhabitants and tourists to sit comfortably in the open area 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 Borgo, and is surrounded by a terrace that looks directly onto the loops of the Trebbia river, offering a truly breathtaking panorama. 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 retains a painted baroque facade, while the rest of the building has remained in stone.
The first certain information on this building dates back to 1369, when it appears to have been dedicated to the SS Cosma and Damiano. In 1736, the Ghigliani family built its own chapel dedicated to Maria Immacolata inside.
The Castle was built by the Brugnatelli family after the year 1000, but today the building, which once had to defend boron effectively thanks to its elevated position, only a few remains remain, still visible in front of the Palazzo Brugnatelli .
Excursions on foot
Brugnello is also the point from which hiking starts 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 "Ring of Brugnello", which crosses ancient hamlets and allows you to better admire the 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 center 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 crystal clear waters whose color recalls the Caribbean blue and emerald green. The ideal place, therefore, where to swim, escape the summer heat and have a picnic.
The canyon is the result of the erosion and excavation work that Trebbia has accomplished over time, deeply affecting the soil, and baring the sides of the valley it passes through. An aspect visible throughout its 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 waters of the river that flow encased in sinuous and wide meanders.
In addition to the Chiesetta beach, the Anse di Brugnello beach is also located a few kilometers away. However, along this stretch of the Trebbia river beaches of unquestionable attraction follow one another.
The spectacular Trebbia gorges in this area also have a great attraction for canoe and kayak enthusiasts, and for rafting and canyoning.
Brugnello, together with Marsaglia and numerous other hamlets, is part of the Municipality of Corte Brugnatella (Curt ad Bergnèll in the Bobbian 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 torrent joins the Trebbia river. Here a salt mine dating back to 1200 was recently discovered. Lake , which belonged to the Monastery of San Colombano, preserves the ruins of an ancient castle built by the Malaspina. Carana , a monastic cell owned by the Monastery of San Colombano, dates back to the 10th century. Poggio-Villeri preserves ancient houses connected together, a tower house equipped with seats for sentries, and a small 17th century Oratory 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 Municipality.
How to get
From Piacenza, take State Road 45 to Marsaglia, then take the tortuous but paved road on the right, after crossing the bridge over the Trebbia, in the direction of Brugnello. From Milan, however, take the Autostrada del Sole - A1, then exit at Piacenza Sud.
Once you arrive at your destination, however, you must keep in mind that the space used for parking is very limited, being able to guarantee no more than 20 parking spaces .