Oltrepò Pavese is a wedge of Lombardy between Emilia and Piedmont, confining with the provinces of Alessandria and Piacenza and in the most southern part, traveling for a few kilometers in Alessandrino or Piacentino, lies the border with Liguria. Thanks to this variety of regions there are, nearby, many beautiful places to visit.

Places to visit

Places to visit less than 50 km away:

Places to visit between 100-150 km away:

Oltrepò Pavese offers nature lovers countless routes which can be accessed on foot, by bicycle, by motorbike or on horseback. The landscape is characterised by orderly vineyards and wild forests. There is no lack of inviting castles, pretty villages and delicious food.

Routes on foot

There are countless footpaths to enable you to discover the region of Zavatarello, the area of Conti dal Verme, the rolling hills (Canneto Pavese, Castana Montescano, Montù Beccaria, San Samiano al Colle), the beautiful “Riserva Naturale Monte Alpe” and in Valverde, but there are also routes organized by a recognized association from Oltrepò Pavese, “Associazione Via Del Mare“:

  • • Special routes in the mountains of Oltrepò: Little Tuscany of Lombardy. The area of vineyards, wineries, fine wines and pretty little villages centred around medieval castles. But also an area of forests with chestnut and oak trees and delicious gastronomy, including the salami of Varzi, special goat cheeses and many other fine specialities of the region.
  • Special routes in the hills of Oltrepò: La piccola Toscana di Lombardia. Terra di vigneti, cantine e vini pregiati, costellati di piccoli borghi attorno a castelli medievali. Terra anche di boschi di castagni e di querce. Terra di frutta, salami, formaggi e altri prodotti tipici di prima qualità (tra 17 a 24 km).

In addition, there are routes of great charm for those who like to do something slightly unusual either on foot, by mountain bike or by horse. The following paths are recommended by “Associazione Via del Mare”:

  • La Via dei Malaspina, is an alternative route of the Via Francigena and begins in Pavia, crosses Voghera and Varzi, and ends in Bobbio (Val Trebbia – Piacenza).
  • La Via del Mare crosses the provinces of Milan, Pavia, Alessandria, Piacenza and Genoa, from the Po Valley to the Ligurian Sea, climbs the northern Apennine and passes Pavia, Voghera, Varzi, Torriglia and Uscio.
  • La Via del Sale is a beautiful route from Varzi to Genoa, once used by traders and pilgrims for the selling of salt.

Some beautiful and easy routes in our nearby rolling hills can be found on the website of ViviValleVersa,
a non-profit organization that develops tourism in the Versa Valley and to which we belong:

Vivi Valle Versa

Routes by car, motorbike and bicycle

Among the routes by car, motorbike and bicycle there are not only the three beautiful routes mentioned above, but also the following:

  • Le colline del Vogherese – The hills of the area Vogherese are the first rolling hills cloaked in forests, vineyards and rocky outcrops. In this area you may also visit picturesque villages, castles and wellness centers.
  • Itinerari dei vini – The small “Tuscany” of Lombardy, a land of vineyards, wineries and delicious wine, dotted with small villages around medieval castles.
  • Itinerari di alta collina – The heart of Oltrepò, where the higher hills are covered with fruit and oak forests, making a refuge for native fauna, and sheltering the surrounding quiet medieval churches, abbeys, castles and villages. This is the land of salami, cheese and other delicacies.

Art, culture and nature

Oltrepò Pavese is a country rich in history, art and culture, offering castles and forts located in the hills. Famous is the village of Zavattarello with its beautiful panorama view and the castles of Montalto Pavese, Valverde, Torre degli Alberi and Pietragavina.

Still even today in the province of Pavia there are the rice fields of Lomellinae, the famous Certosa and, in Pavia, the Church of St. Augustine and the ancient university. In the nearby Vigevano you can visit the beautiful Piazza Ducale, the castle and the mill of Mora Bassa with the famous machines of Leonardo da Vinci.

Only 15 minutes from Oltrepò Pavese is Val Tidone, in the province of Piacenza, where in the Middle Ages many castles rose to defend the region from attacks from the border region Oltrepò Pavese. Examples of these are Rocca d’Olgisio (Val Tidone), the fortress of Agazzano (Val Luretta), and the castle and the village of Rivalta (Trebbia).

In Val Tidone and the neighboring Val Staffora there are also several protected areas, for example the park Le Folaghe of Casei Gerola, Lungavilla Park, nature reserve Monte Alpe, the Alpine Botanical Garden of Petra Corva and Monte Penice.

Gastronomy

The most important ingredients leading to the claim to fame of the regional gastronomy of Oltrepò are rice and wine. The province of Pavia, with more than 80,000 hectares of rice fields, is the first in Italy for the production of rice which is mainly concentrated in the region Lomellina. Moreover, the region has, for centuries, been the producer of prestigious wines including the local DOC wines Barbera, Bonarda, Moscato, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

Oltrepò Pavese is an excellent culinary region where the traditional simple and tasty dishes are served with the aforementioned delectable wines.

Pork is also one of the most excellent products of Pavia, in particular the salami of Varzi, but other local treats are the fish from the mountains, anchovies and cod, goose from Lomellina, frogs and game.

The culinary tradition of Oltrepò is set off to its best by the wide range of local wines, its sparkling wines, white wines, and the special dessert wines. The most famous local wine, Bonarda, is fruity but not sweet. A more classical local wine is Buttafuoco whose production is limited to a small area in the north of Oltrepò.

Activities for children

In Pavese there are many activities for children to rediscover the countryside, including the source and the processing of food, through contact with nature, animals and farm life. Among these activities are outings on a donkey, visits to goats and deer farms, apicultural-, agricultural- and horticultural centers, riding schools, parks, forests, rivers and mountains, all allowing visitors to admire the animals and to enjoy beautiful walks in unspoilt countryside. There are countless special hikes for both adults and children which we gladly recommend on request.