Abbey of Chiaravalle della Colomba - Castell’Arquato - Rocca Sanvitale - Parma

Price: 63.00 EUR
Countries: Italy
Route: Milan - Abbey of Chiaravalle della Colomba - Castell’Arquato - Rocca Sanvitale - Parma - Milan
Duration: 11 h
Firstly we will visit to the Abbey of Chiaravalle della Colomba. Around 1135 St. Bernard of Clairvaux, helped by monks who had followed him from France, reclaimed a marshland in order to erect the Abbey. The legend says that a white dove, twirling before the monks, dropped straws outlining the perimeter of the complex, and due to this the Abbey would have been given the appellative “the Dove”. Among the first bernardine foundations in Italy, the Abbey of Clairvaux of the Dove in Alseno presents the characteristic plant of the Cistercian monastic settlements, with a quadrangular cloister around which the various parts of the building articulate, in function to the life of the monks. The perfectly preserved edifices allow one to come into direct contact with the Cistercian spirit, son of the Benedictine, which attributed great importance to manual labour, according to the well-known saying ‘ora et labora’. Beyond the changes that have occurred over the centuries, the place is still today an oasis of charming silence, preserving the traces of the original site chosen by the monks to ensure the detachment from the world and from people. At the end of the visit it is possible to buy genuine products made by Cistercian monks, including the liqueurs made from herbs according to recipes handed down by the early monks, herbal teas, honey and sweet herbal tablets. Next we will visit to  the Castell’Arquato, is one of the towns in Italy that have best preserved their medieval profile and one of “The most beautiful villages in Italy”. Indeed, the Ghibelline and Guelf merlons of the Visconti fortress are still visible, even from far away – the former split into two tips, the latter flat, they are architectural details that symbolize the great conflicts that divided Italy between the 12th and the 14th centuries. Alliances and wars between aristocratic dynasties – the Scotti and Visconti families, the Sforzas, and the houses of Bourbon and Savoy, not to mention the active role played by the Papal State, especially in the interest of the Farnese family – intertwined and built the history of this wonderful town, with its 8th-century Collegiate church, its beautiful 1292 Palazzo del Podestà and imposing Rocca Viscontea, built around the mid-1300s in the higher part of the city, to watch over the Arda Valley from a 224-meter-tall hill. Next we will visit to the charming fortress Castle of Sanvitale , stands at the centre of the town, surrounded by a moat, full of water: it is home to one of the masterpieces of Italian Mannerism: the frescoed room by Parmigianino in 1524, portraiting the myth of Diana and Atteone.  Sanvitale' appartamento nobile is still open. The stronghold's construction began around 1124, when a first defense tower was built by Pallavicino. The central guarding tower was built in the same period, that is now the entrance door too: today it has a stone bridge, originally a lift bridge. In 1386 the lands around Fontanellato with its stronghold, were given to Sanvitale. In 1404, the fief became a county: in that period, the stronghold became an important noble residence. It has been property of Sanvitale family up to 1948, when Giovanni Sanvitale sold it to the Municipality of Fontanellato. During the visit you will see furnished rooms, hanging garden, Optical Room, low ground rooms with fresco by Parmigianino, Diana and Atteone's room. Next we will visit to Parma which is a university city located in northern Italy. This beautiful city was founded by the Romans in 183 BC and it was very important as a road junction. Parma was rebuilt in the Middle Ages and was ruled by its bishops from the 9th century. It is the city that the Italian flag, or il Tricolore, was first adopted. The city is famed for Parmesan cheese and Parma ham, and it is the first Italian city in history to become UNESCO’s heritage site for Gastronomy. The main attractions in Parma are Grand Romanesque Cathedrale, Baptistery with ancient frescoes, Pilotta palace with the gallery, theatre and museums, and of course a lot of restaurants with delicious and authentic food. Parma and its county, Emilia-Romagna, is a bridge among continental European cuisine and the Mediterranean diet. It differentiates itself because of its locally made pasta dishes, pork products, cheese, and red wines.After we return to Milan.
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Countries: Italy

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