La Pietra di Bismantova – photo © Altamedia – Giuliano Bianchini
Triassic Rocks – foto © Altamedia – Giuliano Bianchini
Old town – photo © Fabio Palli
A mountain landscape with gently rolling valleys in the southern corner of the Province of Reggio Emilia: this is the scenery awaiting you in and around Castelnovo ne’ Monti, as area rich in natural treasures and generously endowed with cultural events. Its central position places it just a few minutes away from all the other tourist attractions in the Apennine Mountains of Reggio Emilia. Standing proud at the centre, like the fulcrum and the true heart of the entire landscape, is the Pietra di Bismantova. A superb rocky outcrop of grey sandstone that flattens out at the top, becoming soft and level meadows. This is one of the most spectacular gems in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park along with the Triassic Rocks area with its ancient and spectacular outcrops of evaporates that were formed over 200 million years ago in the river Secchia valley.
The natural wonders of Castelnovo ne’ Monti combined with its folkloristic traditions and its modern and functional structures make it an ideal ecofriendly tourist location: excellent standards and widely available accommodation in hotels, farm guesthouses, B&B, residence, and various private holiday flats lets for longer stays. The town has always been a flourishing shopping centre; today there are over 200 shops offering top quality goods. Castelnovo ne’ Monti will not disappoint tourists looking forward to discovering new itineraries off the beaten track and away from the usual destinations favoured by normal tourism. There are lots of activities to do in contact with nature: jogging on the gorgeous path running around the periplus of the Pietra di Bismantova, or several paths connecting the surrounding villages, or a little more easily in the town centre among the lush pine forest on Mounth Bagnolo. Not only is Castelnovo a preferred destination for rock climbers from all across Europe, who come to climb the many ascent routes to the top of the Pietra, it also caters for various other sports in modern sports centres in the town centre, such as its Centre for Track and Field Events and the multipurpose Sports Centre “Onda della Pietra”.
It is also a place abounding in top quality speciality foods, form Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese – one of the leading products made by the local food industry – to Bismantova zucco or zuccotto salami, the characteristic “Fiorettino” salami with its hand-cut lardoons and erbazzone savoury made with spinach and rice.
Castelnovo ne’ Monti embraced the philosophy of CittaSlow, International Network of Cities where living is easy, several years ago when it embarked upon the promotion of the local area and local products. The local products and typical dishes have several “cult places” scattered throughout the territory: from village taverns to top class restaurants (serving speciality pastas from Emilia, game, porcini mushrooms and a wide variety of traditional dishes), and dairies producing Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese, often with their own little shop where sell other local foods and wines and where artistic and cultural events are organized in summer. An important aspect of local industries are their hand crafted products: an example is the distinctive and practically unique work undertaken at the local Capanni Foundry, which has been making bells using the same ancient and fascinating “lost wax” method since the 18th century.
Photo © Fabio Palli
Photo © Altamedia – Giuliano Bianchini