What to see in Bobbio

Bobbio il simbolo della Val Trebbia- Panorama-Ponte Gobbo- Ponte del Diavolo- Fiume Trebbia- Appennino-

Exploring the Charming Village in the Piacenza Apennines, Symbol of the Trebbia Valley

Are you looking for a special place for your weekend getaway or a day trip? Then read on and discover what to see in Bobbio, the symbol of the Trebbia Valley.

Bobbio, a beautiful village at the foot of the Apennines in the province of Piacenza, boasts a millennia-old history that began in Roman times and peaked in the Middle Ages, becoming one of Europe’s most important monastic centers. In recent years, it has been awarded the Orange Flag by the Touring Club and joined the list of Italy’s most beautiful villages.

The historic center of Bobbio, entirely pedestrianized and full of characteristic corners, invites leisurely strolls. Narrow, winding streets adorned with small doors and windows often open up to small squares where major monuments stand. To experience the retro atmosphere fully, visit during periods of low tourist influx, such as spring, autumn, or weekdays in July and August.

After this brief introduction, let’s embark on a tour to discover what to see in Bobbio, the symbol of the Trebbia Valley.

What to see in Bobbio: Ponte Gobbo or Devil’s Bridge

Our tour of what to see in Bobbio couldn’t start anywhere else but at the village’s most famous attraction: the Ponte Gobbo.

Its distinctive feature lies in its unique shape, formed by 11 unequal arches in height and length, giving it humps. The bridge’s construction is surrounded by various legends, all featuring a common protagonist: the devil. Hence, its name, Devil’s Bridge. In reality, this peculiar shape is attributed to natural causes. As the Trebbia River experiences severe floods, the bridge has been repeatedly destroyed over the centuries. Each time, builders had to adapt the structure to the changing conditions of the riverbed on which the bridge arches rested. Therefore, this unique form is more a result of chance than the design of a brilliant architect.

What to See in Bobbio: San Colombano Abbey

A must-see in Bobbio is the San Colombano Abbey, a complex where most of the village’s cultural activities are concentrated. Founded in 614 by the Irish monk San Colombano, this complex was one of Europe’s most important monastic centers in the Middle Ages. Its Scriptorium preserved the oldest manuscripts of Latin literature for centuries. Around it, logically, the rest of the flourishing village developed, situated on the Via del Sale between Liguria and Emilia.

The most significant building of the Abbey is undoubtedly the Basilica of San Colombano, a beautiful example of Renaissance church architecture. Inside, you’ll find exquisite decorations with Gospel quotes, especially the mosaic and crypt of San Colombano. The mosaic is an interesting piece from the 11th century, depicting themes from the Second Book of Maccabees and the medieval encyclopedia, featuring fantastic animals and the theory of months and professions. The crypt houses the remains of San Colombano and his early successors, with Celtic symbols carved on the walls, recalling the saint’s Irish origins.

What to see in Bobbio - Basilica of San Colombano - Abbey of San Colombano - Monastery of San Colombano - Porticato - Columns
Basilica of San Colombano (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Additionally, the Abbey complex houses three museums:

  1. The Abbey Museum, displaying beautiful archaeological artifacts from Roman and medieval times.
  2. The City Museum, showcasing documents narrating the village’s evolution, providing historical and cultural context.
  3. The Mazzolini Collection, gathering works by contemporary Italian artists such as Lucio Fontana, Giò Pomodoro, and Giorgio De Chirico.
  • What to see in Bobbio - Scriptorium of the Abbey of San Colombano - Abbey Museum - City Museum - Mazzolini collection museum - Portici - Garden
    Scriptorium of the Abbey of San Colombano where the three museums are housed (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

What to See in Bobbio: Bobbio Cathedral

Nestled in the historic center is the Bobbio Cathedral. This Romanesque building, initiated in the 11th century, was continuously expanded and adorned in the subsequent centuries. Its distinctive features include two bell towers and the need to descend steps to enter due to the elevated square in front. The interior has three naves, richly decorated in various styles, ranging from 15th-century decorations to late 19th-century Byzantine-inspired designs. Among the many frescoes, a highlight is the one depicting the Annunciation, discovered by chance in 1981 under plaster in the Chapel of San Giovanni Battista—a true gem!

What to see in Bobbio -Bobbio Cathedral - co-cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta - square
Bobbio Cathedral (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Adjacent to the Episcopal Palace, there is a small but rich Diocesan Museum. Inside, you can trace the history of this important diocese and its bishops through splendid liturgical objects and historical documents.

What to See in Bobbio: Malaspina Castle

The final stop in our brief tour of what to see in the historic center of Bobbio is Malaspina Castle. This imposing quadrangular tower is located in the upper part of the village, dominating both the village and the surrounding valley. The first nucleus was built in the 11th century and progressively expanded in the subsequent centuries. Its external structure is made of stone with brick inserts, while the interior features beautiful wooden inlaid floors and barrel vaults. The castle is now state-owned and part of the circuit of the Association of Castles of the Duchy of Parma, Piacenza, and Pontremoli.

Malaspina Castle - Tower - Dal Verme Castle - Val Trebbia
Malaspina Castle (Credit to Carlo Grifone)

Outdoor Activities in Bobbio

If your stay in Bobbio extends beyond a day, the village offers opportunities for outdoor activities throughout the year. In winter, you can use Bobbio as a base for a skiing weekend, as the Passo Penice ski resort is just 10 km away, offering slopes of varying difficulty and fun toboggan runs

The Most Beautiful Trails

From spring to autumn, if you enjoy nature walks, consider exploring the numerous trails branching out from the Bobbio area. Two recommendations suitable for those with minimal training are the Bobbio-San Cristoforo-Cascate Del Carlone route, leading through vegetation to the beautiful thermal waterfalls of Carlone.

Carlone waterfalls - Val Trebbia - path
Carlone waterfalls (Credit to Bobbionews)

The second is the Via dei Mansi of the Monastery of Bobbio. This itinerary allows you to retrace some sections of the ancient road that connected the Monastery and the “Mansi” of the monks of San Colombano during the Middle Ages. Both paths offer splendid views of the Val Trebbia, which even impressed Hemingway, who described it as “the most beautiful valley in the world.”

For years, Bobbio was also a renowned spa town. Although thermal establishments no longer exist in the village due to adverse circumstances, you can still enjoy a relaxing bath. About 300 meters from the Ponte Gobbo, on the opposite bank of the village, in Rio Foino, a recently constructed pool allows free access to the thermal spring. In the summer season, it’s an excellent way to relax after a long walk!

Bobbio also excels in excellent food! Continue reading, and discover with us the local specialties!

What to Eat in Bobbio? The Village’s Typical Dishes

Certainly, many tourists choose Bobbio because it offers plenty of opportunities to savor local products. From extended aperitifs along the village streets, featuring cold cuts and cheeses accompanied by excellent wines, to renowned restaurants, the choices are abundant! In the latter, you can relish exceptional dishes like maccheroni alla bobbiese with ragù or malfatti—gnocchi filled with ricotta and chard, baked in the oven. As a main course, don’t miss trying agnello alla bobbiese, lamb ribs cooked in broth with salt, garlic, and parsley. I recommend pairing all this with a Barbera Colli Piacentini DOC; you won’t be disappointed.

Now that you know what to do, what to eat, and especially what to see in Bobbio, you have all the elements to enjoy a delightful weekend in this village

Final Tips

If you plan to stay in Bobbio for a few nights, click here to discover the best accommodations at the best prices!


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Article Name
What to see in Bobbio
Discover what to see in Bobbio, a special weekend getaway in the Piacenza Apennines. Explore historic sites and natural beauty!
Publisher Name
La Scimmia Viaggiatrice

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