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Sport and Fun

Equitazione presso il maneggio di Borgo Val di Taro
Trial and horse-riding races

The Taro Valley is famous not only for its food products and breathtaking landscapes, but also because of its numerous sports activites which can be done both in the summer and winter.

Amongst the most important outdoor sports, there is kayak, game fishing, climbing, bouldering, horse-riding, trekking not to mention the various bycicle, horse-riding paths as well as panoramic routes for motocyclists.

Moreover, there are many sports facilities like swimming pools, sports centres, football pitches, tennis and volleyball courts where it is possible to play both team and single sports.
There are many paths and itineraries to take long walks in harness with nature and maybe stop over one of the numerous agritourisms or restaurants.

The Taro Valley also hosts important sports events like the Rally della Val Taro, the Maratonina dell’Alta Val Taro, trial and horse-riding races, etc…

Places in the Taro Valley

Thanks to its naturalistic characteristics and its strategic geographical position, the Taro Valley can be deservedly considered one of the various tourist attractions of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.

Its short distance with the Ligurian Riviera (less than a hour from Bedonia) and with cities like La Spezia and Parma plays a crucial role both from the economic and tourist point of view. Moreover, the valley is a rural area charcterised by a mountain landscape with peaks that reach even 1810 m like the Monte Maggiorasca, rivers and streams, woods of beech trees, oaks and pines, etc…

In short, the valley presents a landscaspe typical of Apennines areas rich in a luxuriant vegetation and a variegated fauna composed by squirrels, foxes, wild boars, etc…

Monte Penna
Monte Penna

The Taro river (135 km) is an important element of the valley. With its torrential course and its still uncontaminated water, it is surely one of the main attractions of the area. Along its course, it is possible to watch grey herons, night-herons, egrets and sometimes even red herons. The river’s water also hosts the rare fario trout which is very tasty .

Various parks have been founded to safeguard the local naturalistic beauties. For example there is the Parco Taro, which ranges from Ponte Taro to Fornovo, the Riserva Regionale dei Ghirardi, whose surface is part of Albareto and Borgo Val di Taro, the Riserva Regionale Monte Prinzera (736 m) and the Foresta del Monte Penna (1735 m).

Also the villages of the Taro Valley are full of varied attractions, in fact even the most remote hamlet can offer beauties which are worth being visited.

The most important areas of the valley:

  • Albareto
  • Bedonia
  • Berceto
  • Borgo Val di Taro
  • Compiano
  • Fornovo
  • Solignano
  • Terenzo
  • Tornolo
  • Valmozzola

The Taro Valley is served

La scoperta di un piatto nuovo è più preziosa

per il genere umano che la scoperta di una nuova stella.

(Anthelme Brillat-Savarin)

La varietà paesaggistica di queste terre ci donano innumerevoli prodotti eno-gastronomici di grande pregio.

Protagonista indiscusso delle produzioni tipiche locali è il Fungo Porcino di Borgo Val di Taro che ha ottenuto nel 1996 la prestigiosa certificazione I.G.P. (Indicazione Geografica Protetta). La sua fama è talmente cresciuta negli anni, da avere un itinerario tutto dedicato alla degustazione di piatti tipici a base di esso, la Strada del fungo porcino di Borgotaro.

Anche numerosi eventi come la Fiera Nazionale del fungo porcino di Albareto, Autunnando di Valle in Valle e la Fiera del fungo di Borgo Val di Taro hanno saputo sfruttare al meglio la popolarità e le proprietà nutritive di questo prodotto, tanto da diventare appuntamenti annuali importanti a livello nazionale.

Il Fungo Porcino I.G.P.
Il Fungo Porcino I.G.P.

Un’altra peculiarità gastronomica della zona è l’allevamento del maiale nero dal quale si ricavano ottimi insaccati e carni prelibate.

Il sottobosco valtarese non offre solamente l’ottimo porcino, ma anche frutti di bosco che vengono lavorati per produrre conserve e, nel caso della castagna, possono diventare farina per ottime frittelle, per lo squisito castagnaccio o semplicemente per essere arrostite sul fuoco. Anche la castagna ha portato alla creazione di eventi e manifestazioni autunnali a lei dedicati come la Sagra della castagna di Borgotaro e la Festa della castagna a Folta.

La prelibata castagna valtarese
La prelibata castagna valtarese

La cucina valtarese ha tutte le caratteristiche della cucina emiliana, povera ma succulenta. Accanto agli immancabili anolini in brodo troviamo carni prelibate, spesso di cacciagione, insaccati e il gustoso Parmigiano Reggiano.

Le torte salate sono un’altra specialità alla quale sono dedicate numerose manifestazioni estive e che si possono trovare nei menu dei nostri ristoranti e agriturismi.

Nei ristoranti della zona si possono gustare queste specialità e nella stagione estiva non mancano manifestazioni all’aperto dedicate proprio alla degustazione di carne alla griglia, torta fritta e la prelibata trota. Per esempio, a Bedonia, la Sagra della Trota viene organizzata da più di 150 anni e ottiene sempre un notevole successo.

Art, Culture and History

The Taro Valley has an ancient history which dates back even to Paleolithic and Mesolithic as witnessed by the finds kept within the archaeological museum in the Seminario Vescovile of Bedonia. Many experts state also the presence of Ligurians not only in the Taro Valley, but also in the surroundings like the Vara and Magra Valley.

The Ligurians, after a long settlement and a 80-year-long resistance war, had to yield and abandon the conquered territories to the Romans (157 b.C.). With the fall of the Roman Empire (568), the Longobards came to occupy the valley and began building important abbeys along the trans-Apennine ways. One of the most meaningful examples is the Saint Columban monastery which, even though it is located in Bobbio (PC), is undoubtedly linked to the local history.

In fact, the Taro Valley was a crucial strategic area both from the religious and cultural point of view as it was crossed by two important routes: the Via Francigena or Via Romea, which linked Canterbury to Rome, and the Abbots Way, which snaked from Bobbio to Pontremoli. This latter was usually walked by the abbots to reach Rome.

Some prestigious architectural works witness the presence of the Longobards: the saint Moderan Dome in Berceto dates back to the XII century but it was built on the ruins of an ancient monastery (719).

The Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta in Fornovo Taro has an ancient history which is testified by the Romanesque style both of the building and the works of art. The several monasteries located in the Taro and Ceno Valleys had not only a purely religious function, but they served as downright “administration bodies”. The situation changed with rise of great feudal families like Malaspina, Landi, Visconti, Sforza, Doria and Farnese. The Landi family played a crucial role for the valley as they founded a wide state (Principato di Valditaro) which was afterwards sold to the Farnese family.

It was just the presence of these latter which led to the building of palaces, monuments and the famous Porta Farnese located in Borgo Val di Taro.

Bas-relief upon the door of the Dome of Berceto
Bas-relief upon the door of the Dome in Berceto

In 1805 the states belonging to Parma were annexed to the French Empire until Napoleon’s fall.

They were part of the Ducato di Parma e Piacenza until the  death of Marie-Lousie of Austria and then they became territories of the Regno d’Italia.

The great history of the Taro Valley is witnessed by the great range of works of art like churches, fortresses, castles, columns, portals, coats of arms and chapels. Moreover, a crucial aspect of this land is the presence of rare raw materials like ophiolite, the red jasper, the dark basalt stone, the sandstone e, last but not least the Carniglia stone.

All these characteristics makes the Taro Valley a land which is worth being visited through art, history and culture.