A village outside of time – Viazzano

A village outside of time – Viazzano

In 2017, we often feel deprived of that sensations of discovery and subjection that pervaded the minds of ancient travelers and colonial explorers: everything that can be discovered has already been discovered, every trip is programmed into the smallest details and when you arrive to the place is like you know it already ‘cause of the internet, books and blogs of other tourists.

However, even today, it may happen to come across some unexpected wonder…


On Sunday evening, returning from Ceno, a Taro’s clear tributary, we stumbled across the fifteenth century village of Viazzano.
In the municipality of Varano de ‘Melegari, Viazzano belonged to the Roccalanzona’s Castle territory until 1666, when it was donated along with other lands to the Ducal House of Parma, and later to the Venturini Family.

The village, perfectly preserved, maintains numerous medieval tower-houses and some Renaissance buildings, built with crude and massive stone blocks to express their strength to which the prestige of the occupant was associated.

Viazzano has given birth to many illustrious artists and celebrities, including soldiers and patriots, such as Giovanni Grossardi, one of the most prominent figures of Carboneria Parmense. The country’s business card, which caught us while we went down the Ceno valley, is in fact his own house: the double loggia on the front of Grossardi’s House, whose vaults have traces of frescoes and are framed by a romantic climbing ivy, sequestrates the tourist’s attention that inevitably stops the car and start to visit this wonderful town.


The appearance of the village, with the narrow cobbled alleys that mingle between the walls and the splendid panorama of the valley from Varano to Fornovo Taro, make Viazzano one of the most cured testimonies of what was the Apennine Middle Ages: a pearl outside of time, which embraces the visitor and takes him by the hand to another era … you almost expect to meet the faun Tumnus!


Starting from Viazzano you can also walk the “Maria Longa”, a spectacular ridge that had a strategic importance in the Longobarda era, where you can admire what remains of the unmistakable Castle of Roccalanzona and reach “Pietra Corva”, from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Val Ceno and the Po Valley.


Aperitif in the vineyard – Monte delle Vigne

Aperitif in the vineyard – Monte delle Vigne

Life (in a relationship) is made up of many little rituals and traditions, one of ours is definitely the #alternativethursday, a sort of midweek week-end where we travel, find out places or assist to live concerts as if it was Sunday, but it is actually Thursday. A breath of fresh air in the frustration of the working week, which often overwhelms us with its timetables, its races and its thousand commitments to hurry.
We know that, on Thursday, after 6 pm, it’s time for a break and no one can bother our positive mood.

On July 6th, it was time for “Monte delle Vigne”, a winery up in the hills of Parma, which arranges wine tastings with street-food (coincidentally) every Thursday of the month.


Obviously, we could not let us pass the chance to taste good wine, between the hilly breeze, the sun setting and the street-food meatballs! Therefore, we left at 6 pm and after 50 minutes by car, we were almost the first to arrive, and that allowed us to choose the best spot… the peculiarity of the happy hour at Monte delle Vigne is in fact the ability to eat sitting on grass with towels, pallet and pillows. A sort of picnic that reminds of many American outdoor parties and that surely gives a more extravagant touch to the location, which is in itself wonderful.

After taking a few pictures and peeping from far away the old farmhouse, we went to the buffet. We choose the “three-glasses tasting” option which, with 10 euros, offers you the chance to savor three different kinds of wine from their own production: a “Monte delle Vigne Brut Rosè” has accompanied our happy hour, while a “Nabucco” was paired with our dinner (unfortunately we had to abandon the idea of the third glass for obvious reasons).


The Food Truck “Dal Parmigiano” and “Osteria dei Mascalzoni” had several interesting proposals, including: fried dumplings with Parma ham, parmesan meatballs, vegan or strolghino burgers, roast beef with rocket salad and parmesan cheese, green tortelli and lambrusco focaccia with “tuna pork” … obviously, as meat lovers and traditional food enthusiasts that we are, the last two choice of the list have immediately conquered us.

The only two flaws of this alternative evening was the crowded influx of people who started arriving from about 8.30 pm and the huge amount of flies that didn’t allow the guests to eat with the due serenity … however we were in the open countryside, so who really cares?


Photos by Francesca Amezzani
Translation by Rita Nizzoli