Sunday, September 9, 2007

Castell'Arquato, Province of Piacenza

Having cancelled the trip to Delta del Po we decided to do an 80 Km tour around the Province of Piacenza in the Emilia-Romagna region. Riders met at club headquarters in San Massimo and then we drove to Piacenza. We first visited Castell'Arquato in the hills of Val D’Arda, followed by a visit to the medieval Borgo di Grazzano Visconti.

The origins of Castell'Arquato are uncertain. It is believed originally it was a Roman military settlement. During the Roman Imperial Era it developed into a small rural town, thanks to its favorable position on a rock outcropping which overlooked the routes from Piacenza and Parma toward the Ligurian sea (Liguria is at the end of the Piacenza valleys). It has maintained its appearance as it was in the early 10th century.

Cycling in Castell'Arquato was a challenge with very narrow streets made up of large river rock. There were narrow stone tracks, about 6 inches wide, you could ride on but it took skill. After exploring we posed for a group photo in the central piazza next to the tower of the Visconti Castle.

The next stage of our tour would take us to Borgo di Grazzano Visconti.

Photos: sunrise in San Massimo (Verona) as I rode to the Gruppo 1 headquarters to meet the van, the road up to Castell'Arquato, group photo in the central piazza, wonderful architecture, Daniela navigates her way through town.

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