The fascination of complexity
Oltrepò Pavese is the only Lombard land on the South of Po river, between Emilia and Piemonte regions. It is a wide territory with different lanscapes: from the Po valley going up the steep mountains slopes of the Apennines till their tops, where you can see the Ligurian sea, the green of vineyards gives way to oaks, chestnut trees and beechwoods. Its grape shape has its highest tops on Chiappo, Lesima and Penice mountains.
Geomorphologic diversification goes together with a complex history, which comprehends different feuds (Malaspina), powerful bishops and abbots (San Colombano, Bobbio), Pavia and Piacenza expansionist ambitions, the strength of the Houses (Visconti, Sforza, Beccaria, Dal Verme etc..) and armies devastations. This complexity manifests itself in an uncommon cultural and linguistic openness.
While the plain is suggested to be explored by bike or just walking through the many cultivations typical of Pianura Padana, the hills side, instead, is covered by 16.000 hectares of vineyards. Even historian Polibio, who lived between 206 -124 B.C., wrote about the abundance of wheat, barley and grapes in Oltrepò Pavese. It seems that vines had been brought here in the eighth century B.C. by Etruscans or Ligurians. They found immediately the ideal habitat to grow and expand: dry microclimate in winter, windy in summer. Today, Oltrepò is the third most important DOC wine area in Italy (first in Lombardy), constituting the 60% of the Region’s vineyards. People and wine are here strictly bounded.
Among valleys protected by lush hills takes place Val Versa. This valley is full of small villages like Ruino, Canevino, Volpara, Golferenzo, Montecalvo, Versiggia, Santa Maria della Versa, Montù Beccaria, Castana and Canneto Pavese, particularly appreciated by people who love country quiet. Its geographical position made it a strategic area in History, constituting for millennia an obligatory step for North-South/East-West trips.
Tourism in Oltrepò is concentrated around its main wine and food traditions and its environmental and cultural biodiversity. Its hills appear as perfect destinations for food and wine lovers, history enthusiasts and sportsmen looking for new unexplored paths.