What to see in Volpedo

Cosa vedere a Volpedo paese di Pellizza- Piazza-Quarto Stato- Scorcio-strada ciottolata

A Brief Itinerary to Discover the Small Village of the Great Divisionist Painter Giovanni Pellizza

Are you an art enthusiast curious to visit the hometown of Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo? Read on and discover what to see in Volpedo with us!

Volpedo, a small village located a few kilometers from Tortona, at the far edges of Val Curone, may not immediately strike you with its architectural beauty or picturesque landscapes. So why has it been included among the most beautiful villages in Italy? Exploring its streets and conversing with its few but passionate inhabitants, we gained some insights.

In recent years, Volpedo has reclaimed the late nineteenth-century rural atmosphere that inspired many paintings by Giuseppe Pellizza, becoming symbols of that era. Thanks to this renowned painter, the name of the village is now recognized by art lovers both in Italy and worldwide. Before Pellizza’s influence, it was just a cluster of houses surrounded by farmland, where residents made a living cultivating the land or herding sheep. Pellizza’s art significantly impacted the destiny of Volpedo.

With this brief introduction, let’s embark on our itinerary to discover what to see in Volpedo.

What to See in Volpedo: The House-Studio of Giuseppe Pellizza

A list of what to see in Volpedo must undoubtedly start with the House-Studio of Giuseppe Pellizza. Located on the western outskirts of the village, this small house was the birthplace of the painter in 1868. After extensive artistic training in major Italian academies, he chose to permanently return to Volpedo. Here, he set up his studio in a rustic building adjacent to his home, customized according to his needs. Upon entering, you’ll notice the large skylight he designed, ensuring perfect illumination.

The studio itself is a rare example of a nineteenth-century atelier open to the public, donated by Pellizza’s daughters to the Municipality of Volpedo. Inside, you’ll find work tools, everyday items, books, and significant works, including portraits of parents, his wife, and an unfinished one of his prematurely departed sister. The studio allows visitors to deeply appreciate Giuseppe Pellizza’s sensitivity, tones, and culture.

What to see in Volpedo, village of Pellizza - Casa Studio of Giuseppe Pellizza - Paintings - books -
Study corner (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Although the visit, enriched by valuable information from present volunteers, is free, we recommend making a small donation to support these significant places.

The Educational Museum of Pelizza da Volpedo

For those not deeply versed in art, Volpedo offers an intriguing Educational Museum dedicated to Giuseppe Pellizza. Located in the Palazzo del Torraglio on Piazza Quarto Stato, it features informative panels, photographs, documents, and a multimedia installation explaining the artist’s world and art. Special attention is given to the techniques Pellizza employed in creating his most famous work, “Il Quarto Stato.”

Educational museum of Pellizza da Volpedo - Multimedia installation - fourth state
Multimedia installation of the Museum

What to See in Volpedo: Pellizza’s Places

Wandering through Volpedo, you’ll encounter an itinerary dedicated to “Pellizza’s places.” Large reproductions of the painter’s works are strategically placed to be compared with the views that inspired them. Strolling through the cobbled streets, you can recognize the barn where Pellizza set the painting “Sul Fienile,” the meadow behind the Pieve del Girotondo, or the sky behind the Parrocchia that inspired “Il Sole.”

While all the views are captivating, the small square where Giuseppe Pellizza set “Il Quarto Stato” is the most sought-after by visitors. The square, now named after the painting, has retained its dimensions and late nineteenth-century appearance, thanks to restoration work. Standing where the lamppost is now, you can see the square from the artist’s perspective and imagine that iconic scene.

Quarto Stato Square - Volpedo - Reproduction
Quarto Stato Square (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

An interesting detail is that each panel (except for “Il Quarto Stato”) is supported by an easel, an exact replica of the one used by the painter.

For nature lovers, there are other routes through the countryside and hills surrounding Volpedo, all inspired by Pellizza’s paintings. One particularly interesting trail is the “Sentiero della Montà di Bogino,” a pleasant 5-kilometer loop that climbs a small hill immortalized by Pellizza in the painting “Montà di Bogino.”

What to See in Volpedo: The Romanesque Pieve and the Spanish Walls

In addition to places linked to Giuseppe Pellizza, Volpedo hosts buildings narrating its millennial history. The oldest is the Romanesque Pieve of San Pietro, built before the year 1000 and expanded in the fifteenth century. This small church has much to reveal about the village’s history. Notably, it’s evident that residents used both bricks and river pebbles from the nearby Curone stream for construction.

What to see in Volpedo, village of Pellizza - Pieve Romanica - facade
Facade of the Romanesque parish church (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Entering the church, you’ll encounter fifteenth-century frescoes by the Tortona workshop artists Manfredino and Franceschino Boxilio, who, despite the era, adhered to a Gothic style. This is particularly noticeable in the apse, dominated by the large figure of Christ Pantocrator surrounded by symbols of the four evangelists.

What to see in Volpedo, village of Pellizza - fresco - Gothic - Romanesque church
Fresco of the apse (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Another evocative area is the “Mura Spagnole” (Spanish Walls), a short section reminiscent of the massive defensive walls that once surrounded the ancient village. The unique name stems from their reconstruction during Volpedo’s time as part of the Duchy of Milan and, consequently, the Spanish Empire.

What to see in Volpedo, village of Pellizza - Spanish Walls - parish-tower
Glimpse of the Spanish Walls (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Volpedo’s Typical Products

Volpedo, with its predominantly rural heritage, boasts typical products derived from hard work on the land. The village stands out in the Lower Piedmont region for its excellent production of strawberries and peaches.

Strawberries have become so important to Volpedo that a festival with an accompanying fair-market is held every late May. Here, you can find fresh strawberries and all their derivatives, along with a strawberry cake competition.

The history of Volpedo’s peaches is slightly older, marking a kind of revolution in the village. Until the late 1800s, Volpedo mainly cultivated cereals, yielding poorly due to the gravelly sediment-rich soil. The decision to plant peach trees, which adapt better to the terrain, brought better earnings to many local farmers, alleviating some of their hardships.

Since 1999, peaches from Volpedo have been included among Traditional Agri-food Products (P.A.T.) due to their delicate and distinctive flavor, representing a traditional product deeply rooted in the region. If you visit in summer, try them; they are truly exceptional. Alternatively, buy the jams—they won’t disappoint.

Now that you know what to see in Volpedo, choose a day and explore the hometown of Giuseppe Pellizza. If you plan to stay nearby in the best accommodations at the best prices, click here.

 

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Summary
Article Name
What to see in Volpedo
Description
Discover the charm of Volpedo! Uncover what to see in Volpedo, a haven for art enthusiasts and history lovers alike. Explore with us!"
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La Scimmia Viaggiatrice

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