Oltrepò Pavese, Italy – What To See And Where To StayExtras, Food & Wine, Italy — By Lost Girls on July 17, 2012 at 2:00 am
by Silvia Menini
Special To The Lost Girls
The Oltrepò Pavese is the closest wine region to Milan and it is considered the most traditional wine growing area in Lombardia.This area includes 78 towns (the main one is Pavia, while the main wine hamlet is Santa Maria della Versa) and has the shape of a triangle: the upper side is the right bank of the river Po and the vertex, between Alessandria and Piacenza, wedges itself up to the Ligurian and Emilian Appennines. As this area is the third in terms of hectares of vineyard (13,500) it is easy to understand why Oltrepò Pavese is the first wine basin of Lombardia – 55% of wine of the Region is produced here.
Following the “Strada del Vino e dei Sapori dell’Oltrepò Pavese” there is the possibility to get incredible views of the landscape, crossing areas of rare charm, natural trails rich in traditions, nineteenth-century villas, hills bordered by century-old vineyards and also churches and castles that stand proudly looking at the valleys. You can get a little bit of everything starting your trip from the plain, arriving at the hills and continuing till the higher Apennine hills.
Where To Go
Focal points of the routes proposed are quite a few. For sure one stop should be at the gorgeous Certosa di Pavia (located a few miles from Pavia town), a Gothic-Renaissance monastery with an amazing art collection. Pavia itself is full of history and it is worth it to see the many churches (the medieval San Michele, San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro and San Teodoro).
Casteggio, a very interesting old town, is where you can still visit the remains of the Hannibal’s fountain and attend the famous festival of Wines and typical products from Oltrepò Pavese. Spend a few hours visiting the villas in Mairano, especially stopping at the Villa Marina where Giuseppe Mazzini (Italian politician, journalist and activist for the unification of Italy) stayed. Broni, is a lively small town with plenty of architectural works and is also an agricultural and industrial center of great importance. Stradella, whose name became famous worldwide thanks to the production of the squeeze box is the center of the Wine Consortium of Oltepò Pavese. Santa Maria della Versa, is one of the most renowned places in Oltrepò Pavese when it comes to sparkling wines. Voghera has it’s charming Piazza Duomo and the distinctive Chiesa Rossa (Red Church). Varzi is where the famous salami comes from and walking in it’s peculiar old town to admire the castle and the Torre Malastina is a must. In the surroundings there are also the castles of Montalto Pavese, and other towns that are worth a visit: Calvignano, Borgo Priolo andMornico Losana, the tower of Pietra de’ Giorgi fifteenth-century fortress built on foundations, Borgo Zavattarello with his magnificent castle and Borgo di Fortunago that is considered one of the most beautiful Borgo of Italy. And for those who need a relaxing day, there are the baths at Terme di Salice.
Where To Sleep
Il Borgo - Via Fr. Piana Versa, 1 in Canevino. Here you can find bikes, a swimming pool and riding stables. email: [email protected]
La Vecchia Cantina – Via Colombarone, 36 in Canneto Pavese. Bikes available. email: [email protected]
Hotel Italia – Via Mazzini, 4. This is a very nice and cozy hotel in Stradella. Close to the wineries and just one hour by car to Varzi and half an hour to Voghera. email: [email protected]
B&B Melocotogno - Localita’ Casa Padroni, 1. In a little town named Castana. This is a cheap solution (60 euro per night for a double room) and it is perfect for a full immersion in the mood since it is surrounded by the vineyards. email: [email protected]
Home Sweet Home - Via Garlazzolo, 22 27050 Codevilla (PV). This is a cheap solution close to Voghera (30.40 euro per night) email: [email protected]
B&B Viaverdi – Via Verdi, 8 in Voghera. Prices go from 30 to 60 euro. email: [email protected]
Villa I Due Padroni – fraz. Spagna 9 in Montecalvo Versiggia (close to Santa Maria della Versa) email: [email protected]
If you prefer an apartment:
Agriturismo Da Prati – Località Begoglio – Santa Maria della Versa (where it is possible to visit also the wine cellar) email: [email protected]
Photo credit: mat’s eye,Luca Pradella/flickr
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