The Bread Road and the Oil Road

The Bread Road and the Oil Road
The road to Genoa along the Nure valley was the most important trade route connecting Emilia with the Ligurian city from the 14th century.
In a strategic position along this road stood Bettola, which was the preferred point for exchanges between the merchants of Piacenza (selling mainly cereals) and those of Genoa (selling principally olive oil).
This commercial route was also known to the Ligurians as the "Via del Pane" or Bread Road, while in Piacenza it was called the "Via dell'Olio" or Oil Road. It followed broadly the river valley as far as Farini, then climbed up the mountain slopes to Centenaro, descending on the the other side to Ferriere. From here the route was for a short way almost the same as the modern road as far as Selva di Ferriere, where the climb up to the Crociglia pass began, and then on to the Bocco pass, which opened the road towards S. Stefano d'Aveto.

From the middle of the 15th century the town of Bettola grew to become the main stopping point on the trade route between Piacenza and Genoa. The name of the town is a memory of these historic times: the term "bettola", also in modern Italian, means hostelry or inn, and in this case the inn was the staging and stopping point for those who were climbing up or coming down the valley.

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