On my first trip to Italy, I focused on the usual; Rome, Florence, Siena - all wonderful. As part of that first trip, I had the opportunity to make a weekend visit to a hill town near Piacenza. It was magical and showed me that Italy off the beaten path is enchanting.
Since that first visit, I have seen, in no small part thanks to suggestions found on My Italy, many small towns and less famous sights. Now on my visits, I seek out new and unusual towns.
One fine example is Bobbio, a small town in the province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna. Located in the Trebbia River valley west of Piacenza (near Milan), Bobbio is lovely, made remarkable by a long ancient bridge which leads from the city walls across the Trebbia.
The town has a lovely abbey, a charming central piazza and hosts an annual movie festival. My favorite restaurant in the town is Albergo Ristorante Piacentino, which is on the main square. There is a side patio and the back is a garden for dining al fresco.
And after visiting Bobbio, follow the Trebbia to the west and stop in tiny Brugnello, a walled village which sits high atop a mountain peak. Amazing vistas and, at the very pinnacle, a small chapel - go to the back of it for a breathtaking view of the valley below.
There is a good restaurant in Brugnello, Ristorante Rocca Rosa. Delicious food in a unique setting (eat outside if weather permits on the covered patio).
Unfortunately I do not have photos of the bridge in Bobbio - but please google and look at images of the bridge
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