The Village of Castelvetro in the Land of Lambrusco

The Village of Castelvetro in the Land of Lambrusco

By Francesca Cuoghi

Italy, a country well-known for its beauty, hides countless undiscovered neighborhoods, far from the typical well-traveled touristic routes. One such area in Italy is within the Emilia-Romagna region. This area piece is renowned for its culinary delights, both its wine and food tradition as well as being the heart of the Italy’s Motor Valley, the homeland of some of the most famous luxury sports cars in the world.

Our itinerary will lead you on a discovery of the land of Lambrusco Grasparossa, a place that can be enjoyed to the fullest through Castelvetro di Modena, a small town nestled between vineyard-covered hills.

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This village is a veritable treasure chest offering the gems of its cultural heritage, such as the remains of the fortress walls and the main square, Piazza Roma, the beating heart of the town. It offers sweeping panoramic views over rolling hills. However, our attention is caught by the black and white paving forming a highly original chess board in the square. This special feature has led to Piazza Roma being attributed the alternative name of “Piazza della Dama”  (Chequers Square), which every two years becomes the stage for a live chess game with human figures.

The suburb of Castelvetro continues with its attractions, where visitors can admire its historical buildings such as Castello Levizzano, Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Rangoni and the enchanting clock tower Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower) that dominates the square and is undoubtedly one of the outstanding symbols of the town.

The Castello Levizzano dates back to the end of the 9th century. It was a simple fortified settlement which over the centuries it has undergone various renovations, transforming the ancient fortress into a noble residence. Beginning in the 13th century, a number of modifications and extensions were made, transforming the ancient defensive fort into a feudal palace. It is likely that at the same time, the construction of an underground tunnel joined the Palace at the Tower. The Clock Tower was built between the 11th and 12th centuries. It represents the remains of the ancient fortification on the eastern side of the castle. In the medieval period, it was probably equipped with a bell that was used to summon the local people to the square, while a sundial, clearly visible from the southern side, still shows the passing of time today. Here we leave the square and head towards the magnificent church with its Neo-Gothic architecture, built in 1897.

Walking along the narrow lanes of this tiny village, in the heart of the hilly Modena countryside, we discover small workshops from the past and places for refreshment, especially the classic trattoria with a rural character where it is possible to eat fresh homemade stuffed pasta, dressed with an excellent, delectable cream made with traditional Modena balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano, accompanied by the red sparkling wine Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro.

If you would like to experience the wine and food of this part of Emilia to the fullest, we suggest that you visit its gentle hills to explore the local farms, sampling the wines and the famed balsamic vinegar of Modena, perhaps accompanied by a piece of locally-made Parmigiano Reggiano.

Castelvetro is a place where you can discover the magic of the tradition, the history and culture of this strip of Emilia. These elements are the focal points of astonishing itineraries that wind through the region, which can be reached in just twenty minutes from Modena, or in around a half hour from Bologna.

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