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Bobbio Travel Guide


Bobbio Travel Guide


© James Martin, Europe Travel

Highlights of a Visit to Bobbio, Italy:

Bobbio sits in the Trebbia River valley surrounded by natural beauty. Its most famous site is the medieval Hunchback or Devils's Bridge just outside town that is believed to be of Roman origin. The San Colombano Abbey was known during the middle ages for its great library. During the middle ages, the Abbey was the start of the Abbot's Way Pilgrimage trail to Rome.

Today Bobbio a popular destination for those interested in its cultural history, nature lovers and outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and fishing.

Where is Bobbio?:

Bobbio is in the western part of northern Italy's Emila Romagna region. It's 47 km southwest of Piacenza, a city about halfway between Parma and Milan. (see Emilia Romagna Map). The town is in the Trebbia River valley surrounded by the Appenine Mountains, making it a scenic but fairly isolated location. It's about a one-hour drive on the SS 45 from the Piacenza exit of the A1 autostrada. It can also be reached from the Voghera exit of the A21 autostrada via the SS 461 or from the A12 autostrada near Genoa by taking the SS45 and smaller SP 226, a pretty but very slow drive.

Bobbio and the Mona Lisa:

A recent theory suggests that the Mona Lisa was painted in the town of Bobbio, with its humpback bridge as a backdrop. Read more about this in Mona Goes to Bobbio on our Art History site.

Bobbio Pictures:

Take a look at the town of Bobbio and their famous snail dish with these Bobbio pictures on Europe Travel, taken during the snail festival and Christmas Market in early December. Read more about the snails and the festival in Pilgrimage to Bobbio.

What to See in Bobbio:

  • Hunchback or Devil's Bridge: The medieval bridge, with 11 unequal arches, is 280 meters long and is said to have Roman origins. The current bridge was built after a 15th century flood that destroyed the prior bridge.
  • San Colombano Abbey: During the middle ages San Colombano Abbey held one of Europe's greatest libraries. The Abbey was founded in 614 and the Abbot Pilgrimage Trail was originally used by the monks to visit the Pope. The trail connects with the Via Francigena, another pilgrimage route to Rome. Inside the Abbey, there's a small museum with artifacts from Roman to medieval times. The 15th century Basilica was built on the remains of a 10th century church and in the crypt you can see 12th century floor mosaics. Saint Colombano's feast day is celebrated November 23.
  • 11th century duomo: The cathedral's interior is richly decorated with ornamentation mainly added in the 18th century and its facade is dated 1463. In Saint John Chapel is a fresco of the Annunciation from the late 15th century.
  • Malaspina Dal Verme Castle: The 14th century castle was built on a hill overlooking Bobbio. It's a good place for views of the town and countryside. There's a park around the castle and below it is the old historic district.
  • Saint Francis Church and Monastery: The church was rebuilt in the 18th century but the monastery retains the original 13th century style and has a pretty inner cloister.
  • Thermal Springs of Bobbio: There are many thermal springs in the outskirts of town. A spa opened in 1904 in San Martino, about a mile away. In 2010 it was remodeled into a modern beauty and health spa specializing in treatment of respiratory and skin conditions.
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