Like last year, one of the few hot and sunny sundays of this weird summer, we joined hubby cousin A. and his dancers/bikers companions for a ride up the hills.
Our final destination was a village called Bardi (you can read about it here too). Bardi is a small town located almost in the extreme buttress south – west of the province of Parma, overlooking towards Liguria and Piacenza. The municipality is extended from 500 to 1650 meters above sea level. It is dominated by the imposing Landi Castle built over a spur of red Jasper.According to a legend, the town’s name would derive from “Bardus”, or “Barrio”, the last elephant of Hannibal’s army, who supposedly died here during the march to Rome. Historically, the name stems from the Lombard nobility who established themselves in Bardi around 600 AD. In 1000 the bishop of Piacenza took up residence here.
Everyone attention was focused around the castle and cousin A friends wanted to visit it. Me, hubby and a couple of friends stayed back, having already been there several times (the others are from a near province and it was new to them) and we limited our visit to the ground floor of the castle.
The fortress of Bardi is an impressive building from the architectural structure of the complex was enlarged several times to adapt to the struggles that have long divided the lords of the place, the Landi, by the Dukes of Parma.
The fortress was established at the end of the ninth century to protect the population by the Hungarian invasions, then the time is extended, the military function is strengthened, and in the sixteenth century, when the Landi are deprived of their residences in Piacenza, the castle became a palace .
Bardi remains the only and sumptuous residence of the sovereign who administers one mountain state , trying to resist the centralizing policy of the Duke of Parma. Subsequent history, once extinguished the dynasty of the Landi, is that of a territory that, finally bought by the Farnese , Duke of Parma, it becomes increasingly peripheral. The autonomy of the feudal lords and the families of the local aristocracy, who had founded his fortune on the control of mountain passes and valleys of the Apennines, is less and their power is lost also the strategic function of the centers of the mountain. It gets military prisons in 1862 , then in 1868 it was sold to the municipality. In the twentieth century, the castle is home to the Town Hall and on the inside, a little less than thirty years ago, at the initiative of the Research Center of Val Ceno, was set up the Museum of Civilization Valligiana .
When everybody was back, we walked to the restaurant we have booked in advance ………..
When finally we got all that (very good) food digested, and it took a very long walk) we rode our bikes back to town, after a little pit-stop to the near castle of Varano Melegari. Too bad it was too late and the castle was closed for the day.