Already settled in the Bronze Age and colonised by the Romans, many religious buildings dependent on Pavia were erected in the area of Bettola following the Lombard conquest. Round about the year 1000, the monastery of San Savino in Piacenza owned much land and several fortresses in the area.
In the Middle Ages the Visconti of Milan were lords of the area and in 1441 Filippo Maria Visconti recognised a partial autonomy within the Visconti dominion to the mountain populations of this district, accepting and recognising a community institution with its own magistrates and privileges, the "Magnifica Università della Val Nure" or Magnificent Union of the Nure Valley, based in Bettola. This institution continued to function up until the time of the Napoleonic conquest.
The Middle Ages and Renaissance were marked by ferocious struggles between the local noble families, especially the Nicelli and the Camia. In an attempt to resolve the problems of instability provoked by these conflicts and to limit the authority of the local nobility, Pope Paul III Farnese ordered the construction of a fortified residence that housed Papal representatives until the end of the 18th century.
With the administrative reorganisation that followed the Napoleonic conquest, the municipality of Bettola was established in 1805. It is one of the largest in Italy in terms of area.
Trekking route to discover the waterfalls on the Perino river
This route, lasting about 1 h, is an easy excursion from the church of Calenzano to the waterfalls on the Perino river. It is also possible to transform the excursion into something more demanding, climbing the rocks at some of the falls...
Construction of the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Quercia, in the imposing piazza Colombo, was completed in 1884 in celebration of the Marian apparition of 1496.
Roman remains discovered by chance in 1975 and excavated the following year. The whole complex is preserved on view, protected by a roof and a fence. Explanatory panels have been set up inside the archaeological area.
A fascinating route that winds between thick forests wrapped in silence, small villages and rolling hills, until it descends to the plain.
The imposing fortress, the heart of the defensive system of the Nicelli, was turned into a gracious country home in the 16th century with the addition of elegant loggias. Today it is privately owned and not open to visitors.
This imposing construction formed part of the defensive system of the Nicelli. Today the tower is privately owned and is not open to visitors.
at Pradello near Bettola
The tower belonged to the family of the great discoverer. Many believe that the Admiral of the Ocean Sea was actually born here. It is now open to visitors on special occasions or by appointment.
An itinerary to climb Monte Osero starting from the church of San Lorenzo at Calenzano. Trail for hikers; altitude gain 600 m, length 8 km, time 3 hours.