Vigoleno medieval village (Piacenza-Italy)
The origins of the castle date back to the 10th century and after various events it is completely destroyed in 1373. After this tragic event, the castle is revived by a powerful Piacenza family (Scotti) who will reconstruct it and keep it almost interrupted until the beginning of the twentieth century. Even today the castle is a private property.
Upon arrival, the village has a large square in front of the entrance, a door on a fortified medieval ridge. Already from the square are the besieged walls and the two main towers. We enter the village from the only door and walk through a narrow narrow street that leads to the main square, passing through two gates, suggesting that there was once a drawbridge and a moat, nowadays no longer, that surrounded the village.
The square of the fountain, the main square of the village, is really beautiful and charming, the visitor is surrounded by 360 degrees of buildings and lanes impregnated with history. Immediately you are immediately attracted by the mighty Mastio della Rocca that represents the extreme defense of the fortress, immediately after the look extends to the entrance of the castle and to the façade that from the square, all very well maintained and well preserved, the structure is private and is currently being used for ceremonies and events. On one side of the square you can see the beautiful facade of the Oratory of Modonna delle Grazie, a building of the seventeenth century that seems to be an ancient hospitable. Curiosity moves closer to a once-shaped barrel that extends on the side of the Oratory of Our Lady of Grace, entering and following the path we are led to underground water where rain water (a cistern) was kept but not only, certainly used to store food, wine and other local produce.
From this square there are two lanes, one on the left and one on the right of the church, which then rejoin at the end of the village. This is the most popular part of the village with houses of different height joined together, all with strictly stone facades. This final part of the hamlet offers some curiosity, such as small engravings on the stone of some newly-painted houses depicting animals or allegorical faces or small colored tablets with sacred representations. Always in this area we find ancient access to houses or storages that keep ancient wooden doors with overwired workings featuring drawings and / or decorative engravings that make signs of good wishes for the inhabitants of the house. The visit ends in the extreme part of the village where we find a rest of the ancient walls, from here you can see a beautiful panorama of the valley towards the plain of Padana.
Vigoleno's saint vin is a local product that is produced following an ancient tradition. The basis is the non-aromatic white vine of the territory, only the best clusters of these grapes are harvested and the barrel conservation lasts at least 5 years. The gradation varies according to the vintages but it can not be less than 18 degrees.
The quest for Calendimaggio is a popular tradition present in different Italian regions and places including Vigoleno. On April 30 of each year, a group of canterins spread the wish of May (moment of awakening of nature) along the streets of the village singing strokes threatening the inhabitants and receiving in return eggs, sweet, wine and other gifts that dropped with a nectar (a basket) hanging from a row of windows in the narrow lanes.
Considering that the doorman can only be visited on weekends during the summer season and only during holidays in the remaining periods. Visiting it during weekdays is surely the best, the absence of cars or almost, the few tourists present and the great silence that lurks in the alleys help to enter the medieval spirit that this village can convey.