After a pleasant day at the beach, in Peschiera del Garda (on Lake Garda), we decided to stay indoors and rest.
But the plan changed in the morning, at 10, after 2 hours since being awake.
We were quite rested and still hungry for more of Italy‘s beauties, so we decided to take a short trip at Castello di Rivalta, half an hour drive from Piacenza, where our friends live.
The Rivalta Castle is an impressive fortified complex located in Rivalta, a hamlet of the municipality of Gazzola, in the province of Piacenza.
Located on a steep slope (Riva Alta) overlooking the bank of the river Trebbia, it has a slightly elevated position but allows a wide panoramic view of the riverbed and the surrounding countryside.
The river is almost dry, there’s little water there anymore, because of the high temperatures, but the view from the castle is still spectacular.
The castle of Rivalta, Statto, Montechiaro and Rivergaro, which are on the other side once controlled the access to the Trebbia valley – once an important way of communication with the Genoese and therefore the sea.
The first written testimony on the Castello di Rivalta is an act of purchase dating back to 1025.
In 1048 the emperor Henry III donated it to the monastery of San Savino di Piacenza.
The castle was attacked by the Milanese first, by the Spanish, by the Germans, and finally by the Napoleonic army in 1799.
Except for brief interruptions, the castel has remained the property of the Landi family. Between the XV and XVIII centuries the Landi transformed the castle into a sumptuous residence.
The castle was bought by Earl Carlo Zanardi Landi of Veano, whose descendants still live in the castle today, allowing visitors to see it in a guided tour.
Gorgeous views from the small Rivalta village and a detail from the gate you see in the back:
After feasting our eyes with the old buildings, we proceeded to the castle gate to take a guided tour.
It cost us 14 Euro / person, but it was totally worth it. For almost 2 hours, the guide showed us some of the most intriguing rooms: dining room, reception hall, the copper kitchen, even the prison down below and the top castle rooms, tower and bedrooms.
At one point you are being asked if you’d like to see the prison, but don’t worry, there’s nothing gruesome there. We went with my 4 year old and it was perfectly fine even for her. So, say yes and discover.
There are also ghost stories and many-many things to admire.
You’ll be taken into the tower, the stairs can make some dizzy, but, if you can go up there, it’s totally worth it.
The museum is absolutely amazing and the entire tour carefully planned.
Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to photograph any of the rooms, so you’ll see exterior photos only.
This is the castle facade from up in the tower.
My only comment would be that, in the future, the tour might offer some sort of English audio-guide, for people who don’t speak Italian. I was fortunate that my Romanian allows me to understand some of the stories and my friend also translated for me and my daughter.
Anyway, if you happen to be in the Piacenza region, go see Castello di Rivalta (Castle of Rivalta). You’ll thank me.
More info: http://www.castellodirivalta.it