Hiking from
ROMAN MUNICIPIUM

TO MEDIEVAL MONASTERY
3 Centuries of History in 4 Days

Mouseover images for captions

VELEIA ROMANA, an ancient and small Roman town, is one of the most important sites dating back to the Roman period in Northern Italy.

The national Archaeological Area of Veleia, is situated on the eastern hills of Piacenza. Around 300 A.D. the town was buried by a slide and forgotten for meny centuries. The official exploration of Veleia started in 1760 after the discovery by chance in 1747 of the Trajan “tabula alimentaria” which still remains the biggest bronze Roman inscription ever found.

Abazzia cloister Bobbio

BOBBIO MONASTERY, is a monastery founded by Irish Saint Columbanus in 614, around which later grew up the town of Bobbio, in the province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

It was famous as a centre of resistance to Arianism and as one of the greatest libraries in the Middle Ages, and was the original on which the monastery in Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose was based, together with Sacra di San Michele. The abbey was dissolved under the French administration in 1803, although many of the buildings remain in other uses.



Caldarium




Saint Columban Sarcophagus

FROM VELEIA TO BOBBIO - Piacenza - Italy

Veleia (500 m.) , the start of this trekking is situated in the Chero Valley, about 50 Km. south of Piacenza.

For more information about visiting the archeological area Visit This Site





Bobbio (272 m.), at the end of the trekking, is situated in the Trebbia Valley, about 45 Km. South/West of Piacenza.

Contact Bobbio's Tourist Office: 
Web Site: Tourist Office

GETTING THERE

From Piacenza, take the road to Castell'Arquato. Just after entering Carpaneto (18 Km. from Piacenza), follow Via G. C. Rossi till the sign post for Veleia at the intersection with Via XXV Settembre (also SP14, on the right); Veleia is reached in 17 km.

Also available is the train service to Piacenza with some trains stopping in Fiorenzuola d'Arda where we can get a bus service to Lugagnano Val d'Arda (about 15 Km. North/East of Veleia) or further still to Morfasso (15 Km. South of Veleia).
Another alternative is to get a bus service from Piacenza to Gropparello (about 10 Km. North of Veleia) run by "TEMPI".

At the end of the trekking, in Bobbio, there is bus service to take us back to Piacenza.



ACCOMODATIONS

Accommodation can be found nearby Veleia itself and the towns of Lugagnano (12 km), Castell'Arquato (26 kmn), Gropparello (9 km) and Morfasso (13 km).

For a complete list in the area consult the following link: Where to stay

For Bobbio consult the following link: Accommodations

VELEIA - BOBBIO
4 Days - 66 Km
Itinerary and Timeline

Updated April 21st, 2020



Day 1  * Overnight in Prato Barbieri *
VELEIA - PRATO BARBIERI (4-5 hrs / 15 Km.)

Veleia 512 m. asl - Prato Barbieri 930 m. asl

Please be advised that he times and distances shown are APPROXIMATIONS.

Trail Description 

The trail starts from Veleia on a steep dirt road, which leads from 512 meters of Veleia to 800 meters of the deep and sunken ravine of the Rio Freddo valley that divides Mount Rovinasso on the left from Rocca di Moria on the right.

Almost immediately you reach La Villa: you walk for about a kilometer between cultivated fields, then continue up into the woods. Proceeding past the slopes of Mount Rovinasso, now with a gentler slope, you reach the road that from Lugagnano leads to the Provincial Park , meet the church of Madonna del Monte and reach the mountain hut of the park where you can take a break.

In "Il Vallico" you follow the ridge between the Chero streams to the north and Lubiana to the south, while the view sweeps over the Po Valley.

The woods are replaced by crops and the trail, at times wide and sometimes barely marked, follows the ridge with several ups and downs, via Monte delle Donne (902 m.), Costa di Croce Lasa (971 m.) and reaching the provincial road Morfasso Guselli (929 m. asl) which we follow on the right towards Prato Barbieri where, in approximately 800 m., there is a small hotel and rest for the night.

:::.. Hotel Touring

:::.. Veleia - Prato Barbieri Map

Day 2  * Overnight in Groppallo *
Prato Barbieri - Santa Franca   (1h 20' / 5.4 km)
Prato Barbieri 930 m. asl - Santa Franca 1203 m. asl

Pause at Santa Franca Sanctuary

Santa Franca - Groppallo (1h 36' / 7.7 km ) 

Santa Franca 1203 m. asl - Groppallo 947 m. asl

Trail Description 

From Prato Barbieri you head southeast and, just past the Albergo Touring, take the middle path with the sign post indicating Santa Franca; the village of Montelana (1014 m. asl) will be reached in 2.2 km (30 minutes).

Santa Franca will be reached in just over 3 km. This is a good spot to have a pause.

From the Sanctuary of Santa Franca will proceed along the road; in about 350 meters will be passing by the "Holy Spring" on the left of the road.

At the intersection just before Stomboli (1131 m. asl) you will keep to the left and cross the village by following the main road; Casa la Poverella will come next, followed by Perdoni.

In less then 600 meters, just past a seemingly abandoned house, with an outside concrete staircase, take the path to the right; keep on the same path by skirting the village of Riovalle by going through Pometo instead (Oratorio di Pometo S. Rita da Cascia); this will avoid using just over a 1 km. stretch on the provincial road #51.

You will intersect the #51 in about 400 meters after Pometo.

Groppallo will be to your right in about 1.5 km.

:::.. Ristorante - Albergo Salini

:::.. Prato Barbieri - Groppallo Google Trail Map

Day 3  * Overnight in Nicelli *
Groppallo -  Nicelli (4 hrs /16 Km.)

Wading the Nure river

Groppallo 947 m. asl - Nicelli 1063 m. asl

Trail Description 

From Groppallo to Nicelli and then Bobbio you will follow the "Abbots Trail" path #159 ("Via degli Abati" - Bobbio - Pontremoli) as described in this link , but in reverse order (they start in Bobbio, but this route ends in Bobbio).

Groppallo (947 m. asl) - Nure river (430 m. asl) 

You leave Groppallo westbound and when the paved road #51 takes a sharp right curve you take the path on the left with a mirror stand and the red and white trail colours.

The trail will take you down towards the Nure river (an approximately descent of 524 m.) via Groppazzolo village (756 m. asl) (in 1.5 km); and exiting the village on the pave road westbound. In about 250 meters and just before the village of Frè, carefully look for a trail on the right that will take you to Chiarabini village. Once in Chiarabini you keep right and follow the trail which, after a couple of zig zag, will connect with the paved road again.

Follow the paved road to the right till you find a place through the woods (approximately 2.2 km on the left) which access the right bank of the Nure river. There are no specific spot to indicate where to wade across; you must decide what is the most convenient for you. 

During rainy seasons or after heavy or prolonged storms the current will be too deep and/or too strong to attempt the crossing; consequently you will have to regain the paved road and head northward to Farini and safely cross on the bridge.  

:::.. Groppallo - Nure Crossing Map (PDF)

:::.. Nure Crossing from Viewranger Map

Nure river crossing (446 m. asl) - Nicelli (1063 m. asl)

After wading across the Nure, and depending where you cross the river, pick up the path that will take you to Guglieri village (600 m. asl).

:::.. Nure Crossing - Nicelli Map (PDF)

From Guglieri you will proceed to Vigonzano (675 m. asl) via the provincial road #57; once in the village, turn left on a path indicated by the usual red and white sign post (just across an unfinished 2 floor building on the right). This path will take you to the Molino de Morte (an old mill).

Keep going across a creek, disregard the first intersection on the left but take the next path on the left heading west that will take you to Bolderoni village ( 964 m. asl) and after that Nicelli (the path at this second intersection would take to the Ratti Village).

Once in Bolderoni keep going west bound keeping on your left a fairly recent renovated stone house with a balcony. Further up you can recognize the path to follow.  In approximately 250 meters will end up on the Molinari road passing between a house on the right and a building with a high porch on the left.

You now tale the Molinari road to the right and in 145 meters, at the intersection follow the Nicelli road to your left. From here you will be in Nicelli in 800 meters.


:::.. B&B Le Margherite (Nicelli)

Day 4
Nicelli - Bobbio (6 hr / 22 km)

On the way to Bobbio the trail will crest at Sella dei Generali, the highest point along this section of Via degli Abati at 1238 m. asl

Nicelli 1063 m. asl - Bobbio 279 m. asl

Trail Description 

Today will be the longest and more demanding of the 4 days excursion.  Leaving Nicelli by the road situated on the north/west outskirt of the village, you will find a signposted path on the left that will continue (along the way disregard two connecting trails on the left) to the "Il Fontanone" on the way to the village of Pescina (1019 m. asl; approximately 7 km away).

At the "Fontanone" keep to the path on the left (a shortcut).  Continuing north/west bound will keep east of the Cima Liscaro (1306 m. asl) and proceed to the Sella dei Generali (1238 m. asl).

At the junction with the provincial road #57, just before cresting the Sella dei Generali (1238 m. asl), follow the road in the direction of Peli and SS #45 (signposts). In about 300 meters you will see, on the left, a signpost indicating the trail to Pescina (1019 m. asl) which will be reached in about 1 km. 

:::.. Nicelli - Pescina Map (PDF)

In Pescina you connect with the road on the south/west outskirt of the village and head north/west bound towards Cornaro. 

At the junction, on the left, with the road to Fossoli, you will see a signpost illustrating the times for Faraneto (.30'), Coli (1hr 45') and Bobbio (3hr 45'). 

At the following intersection, 100 meters before reaching S. Rocco (970 m. asl) you can follow either path; the one on the right will take to the S. Rocco oratory, through the sparsely group of houses, and converge with the other path on the left and continue towards Faraneto (955 m. asl; 1.5 km from S. Rocco.) 

:::.. Pescina - Faraneto - Google Map
:::.. Castello di Faraneto

In Faraneto the path bends sharply to the left through the woods for a couple of kilometers.
You will reach first the Magrini castle in about 2.3 km, followed by the group of houses of Magrini and shortly thereafter the path will deviate left towards Coli (638 m. asl), reaching Piazza Moro in about 1 km. 

:::.. Faraneto - Coli Map (PDF)

Once reached the Piazza the path to follow is to the right turning onto the second street (the first street is a dead end) on the right which is the provincial road #57 and also the Via degli Abati trail #159. 

In about 80 meters take the path to the left - Via degli Abati #159. In about 250 meters the path splits in 2; keep to the left and then follow the bend to the right. 

At the intersection with a narrow paved road, instead of crossing it and continue on the path indicated by the signpost, turn left and follow the paved road and in about 350 meters you will notice a path on the left (shortly after you will notice a path to the left, just keep going on the right) which will take you to Casa Belocchi in 1.5 km.

Once you reach the next road, turn left towards the Casa Bellocchi to pick up the next trail which is next to a house (indicated by the civic #1) with 2 sets of flight stairs on the outside. At the end of the of this "street", just past the last house, you will follow the trail to Cascina Pre and in 2 kilometers, from Casa Bellocchio, you will reach the "Ponte Gobbo" in Bobbio.

On this section of the trail you will cross other roads and path; just disregard them.

:::.. Coli - Bobbio Map (PDF)