Colline di Selvapiana e Canossa
A special thanks to Claudia Carapezzi for having drawn with mastery and passion for her land, the pictures of these places.
Claudia Carapezzi is originally from Selvapiana (Canossa, Italy), where she lives. She graduated from the Reggio Emilia Institute of Art in 1996, and today works as a designer of furniture and also collaborates with her father's farm, that produces milk for the production of our Parmigiano Reggiano. In 2006 she published "Poesie davanti al presepe” a full-color book, illustrated by the author, which received prizes and some special mentions in literary competitions. In her literary curriculum there are two international awards: "Una rosa per Santa Rosa" (Viterbo) and "Anco Marzio nel Mondo 2005" (Rome).
Once you reach the municipality of Canossa, if you look upwards, you can see the imposing Canossa Castles, all of them open to the public. Canossa Castle, built during the 9th century, sits on top of the sandstone rock that rises up above the splendid circle of calanques.
The Castle was the setting for a famous episode in history, the “Humiliation of Canossa”, during the Investiture Controversy, in 1077, when the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV was forced to humiliate himself before Pope Gregory VII for the latter to withdraw his excommunication. This is the origin of the expression “to go to Canossa”, which in more than 30 languages is a synonym of absolution and repentance.
Canossa Castle was defended to the west by Rossena Castle, together with the Rossenella Watchtower.
The silhouette of the fortress and the tower, set into a reddish-coloured volcanic hill that gives the castle its name, is one of the most delightful views in the whole area.
In Campotrera you will find the “Geological Trail” and the “Miners’ Trail”, with a series of boards describing the distinctive natural and landscape features found along the routes, which lead to the striking old mining sites. After your visit to the Canossa castles, you can enjoy the splendid natural landscape by talking a walk along the medieval roads, from the “Matilda Trail” to the “Ducati Trail”.
Well worth a visit is the village of Votigno, which became a place of particular interest in the 1990s, thanks to the Dalai Lama, and is now a meeting and meditation centre for Tibetan culture.
Tempietto of Petrarca
Important for entirely different reasons is the tempietto of Petrarca, in Selvapiana. The famous poet Francesco Petrarca stayed here in 1341, and it was in the quiet of this place that he completed his poem “Africa”. In 1847, on the initiative of a number of gentlemen from Parma, and with the collaboration of Marie Louise, the Duchess of Parma, a tempietto was built, embellished with decorations painted by Francesco Scaramuzza and a sculpture of the poet in Carrara marble, by Tommaso Bandini.
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