Natural Parks, villages, castles and museums

The Castle of Torrechiara, with the harmony of its forms, is the "gateway" to the Eastern Parma Apennines, land of villages, parish churches, castles, and natural parks.

An area that, beyond Langhirano, includes the Municipalities of Lesignano De’ Bagni, Neviano degli Arduini, Tizzano Val Parma, Palanzano, Corniglio, and Monchio delle Corti, offering a remarkable variety of landscapes, from about 250 meters above sea level to the highest peak, Monte Sillara in the Municipality of Monchio delle Corti, which reaches about 1860 meters.

From gentle hills, adorned with vineyards and meadows, to the middle mountains with pastures and chestnut groves, to the Tusco-Emilian ridge, dotted with magnificent glacial lakes. A fabric in which small centers, villages, stable meadows, and cultivated fields are nestled, surrounded by bushes, woods, moors, marshes and lakes and high peaks.

A special place, part of the MaB Unesco Biosphere Reserve Apennino Tosco-Emiliano, where man has always lived in harmony with nature. A territory frequented and inhabited since ancient times, which experienced significant development in the medieval and modern era: born as a strategic connection point towards Tuscany and the Mediterranean and for this reason, still today, rich in history.

This is evidenced by the ancient Via dei Linari, which from Parma led to Tuscany through the Passo del Lagastrello, where pilgrims encountered parish churches, churches, and abbeys which today, together with others, form a sort of Romanesque itinerary: The Abbey of San Basilide, better known as Badia Cavana, in the Municipality of Lesignano de’ Bagni, the ancient Matildic Parish Chrch of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as Pieve di Sasso, in the Municipality of Neviano degli Arduini, the Church of Santa Giuliana in Moragnano, and the Parish Church of San Pietro Apostolo in Tizzano Val Parma, in the Municipality of Palanzano, in Zibana, we find the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Ancient outposts, today often host guided tours and lively meetings and concerts, especially in summer.

The Via Longobarda represents the other historical route towards Lunigiana that crosses the Passo di Cirone.

A territory that is a mosaic of ancient villages, in which remarkable elements of “spontaneous” architecture stand out: portals, coats of arms, decorations carved in stone, flat roofs, fountains, small churches or chapels, as well as, along the streets, the typical “maestà” sign of popular devotion. Each Municipality has its small jewels and each of them deserves a visit, such as the village of Casarola, where the Literary Park Attilio, Bernardo, Giuseppe Bertolucci tells us about the bond with this land of three great personalities.

A land with a strong museum tradition: exhibitions, displays, small and large museums, addressing historical, artistic, and peasant civilization themes, among them unique and particular museums, such as the Historical Museum of Locks in the hamlet of Cedogno in the Municipality of Neviano degli Arduini. It is the first museum in the world dedicated exclusively to locks. The exhibited collection is the Vittorio Cavalli Collection, which in seventy years has gathered over 4,000 portable locks of all kinds, epochs, materials, sizes, and shapes, from all over the world.

Significant attention is paid to contemporary art: from the civic collection of contemporary art in Sella di Lodrignano, to the Colibri House Museum (both in Neviano degli Arduini), to the Walter Madoi Open-air Museum, in the Municipality of Corniglio, an authentic painted village.

A unique natural landscape frames all this, a heritage that is realised in the important presence of protected areas.

The National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, straddling the regions of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, includes the portions of the Apennine ridge in the provinces of Lucca, Massa Carrara, Parma and Reggio Emilia In the territory of the Unione Montana Appennino Parma Est the municipalities involved are Corniglio and Monchio delle Corti. The Park offers an extraordinary wealth of environments, from grasslands to blueberry heaths to the most impervious peaks, waterfalls, mirrors of water, rocky walls that stand out against the torrents, up to the most characteristic element, the lakes of glacial origin that dot the territory: Lago Santo parmense, Laghi Gemini, Laghi del Sillara are just some of the pearls of the Park.

The Cedra and Parma Valleys Regional Park (better known as the Hundred Lakes Park), preserves a portion of territory in the municipalities of Corniglio, Monchio delle Corti, Tizzano Val Parma and Neviano degli Arduini. A hospitable and accessible mid-mountain environment, in which a still well-kept nature frames gentle agricultural landscapes and many historical and cultural emergencies. Its peaks, among them Monte Caio (1584 metres above sea level), are splendid natural balconies from which the gaze sweeps 360° over the surrounding territory. Within the Park, the Monte Fuso Wildlife Centre is the ideal place for families with children.

In Comune di Lesignano De’ Bagni, in Rivalta, there is a geological site of great importance, recognised at a European level, the Barboj di Rivalta: salty mud and cold muddy waters that are deposited around eruptive mouths, forming characteristic cones at the top of which bubbling gases (hydrocarbons) gush out continuously.

Into this fabric of protected areas are grafted routes and paths, to be travelled on foot, by bicycle, on horseback, which are particularly popular, so much so that nature and outdoor tourism represents one of the main keys to the enjoyment of the area.

A permanent bond exists between landscape, culture, life, products and know man. The Parma Torrent flows through the valley and along it channels the air that rises from the sea, crosses the ridge and streams, absorbing the right proportion of humid and dry air to achieve an optimal balance: the ideal microclimate for the curing of PDO Parma Ham.

The meadows that occupy above all the hill and mid-mountain areas are the visible sign of another product of excellence: the mowing of the meadows turns the main product of the cows whose milk is used for the production of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The vineyards, in addition to giving us a P.D.O. such as ‘Colli di Parma’, become an element of aesthetic enjoyment of the landscape.
Typical products of lesser importance but strongly rooted in the local culture and tradition are the supporting tastes: from the chestnut to the Spongata di Corniglio, from the Cornigliese sheep to the Black Pig of Parma.

The Unione Montana is a welcoming territory, with agritourisms, B&Bs, innovative types of accommodation and typical trattorias, where to rediscover the atmospheres and flavours of the past.