Oltrepò Pavese, also known as "Old Piedmont", is a land rich of treasures: unique landscapes, melancholic colors, small medieval villages, precious and rare earthy products. In fact, Autumn season offers rare and precious products such as mushrooms, truffles and of course wine, which has become part of Italian excellence. Only the best wines are reserved the name Oltrepò Pavese DOC. On the October issue, Borghi Magazine tells us about the treasures enclosed in Oltrepò Pavese, those born from the earth, hands of man and history, with a special focus on the Varzi, Zavattarello and Fortunago villages.
We decided to follow an ideal fil rouge, connecting Oltrepò magazine’s topic to an itinerary dedicated to motorcyclists, starting from the village of Varzi through Penice route, in the municipality of Bobbio.
The Penice route (1.149 m) is a passage of the Ligurian Apennines in the province of Piacenza.
Our route dedicated to the lovers of speed on two wheels starts to Varzi, an ancient village placed in Staffora Valley, the heart of the Oltrepò Pavese. Near Varzi there’s the Oramala Castle, a 10th-century castle built by the Malaspina family, in 1029 holding the Obertengo branch. Today the castle is the seat of the Spin Fiorito Cultural Association, and it is surrounded by the Literary Park "Dante and Trouwers in the Malaspina Lands".
After this short detour we come back to the crossroads of the three steps (Bivio dei tre passi), entering, following a climb of narrow bends, the road to the Penice route ; the road spins and runs a stretch between tall pines that almost makes you think of being on the Alps rather than on the Apennines.
Our next destination will be Bobbio: before that we take a small road: after a few kilometers we’ll be at the Santa Maria in Monte Penice Sanctuary, at the top of Mount Penice at 1,460 m. of height.
This second deviation allows us to grasp something more about the spirituality of the locals: on the second Sunday of September, in this place is held the Peniche Feast, which provides for the custom to have lunch on the meadows around the Sanctuary, pilgrimages and hiking or horseback riding.
A sign reminds us that we are along the way of faith in Lombardy: a border point where the municipality of Bobbio (province of Piacenza and Emilia Romagna Region) borders with that of Menconico (province of Pavia and Lombardy region).
Our itinerary about Penice route and these incredible territories discoveries ends along the ancient path called "Medieval Trail for the Sanctuary of Mount Penice" which from Bobbio goes up to the shrine. A tour around the sacred building allows you to enjoy an exceptional panorama, ranging from the upper Val Tidone to the hills of Oltrepò, from the Po Valley to the Central Alps.