The Magnificent Union of the Nure Valley
The "Magnifica Università di Val Nure" was a community institution established in the 15th century by 21 communes situated in the Nure valley and the surrounding mountains, with a centre of government in Bettola.
At that time the lands of Piacenza were subject to the Visconti, who, aware of the spirit of independence of the people of this valley, preferred to grant them fiscal privileges and a certain autonomy rather than undertake their subjection by force, with no guarantees of success.
Thus in 1441 Filippo Maria Visconti granted his support to the Nure valley and conceded various immunities. These immunities were in due course confirmed also by the Sforza and by Francis I, king of France. They included exemption from extraordinary taxes, from duties on wine and livestock, from military service, from stamp duty on the embossed leathers imported from Genoa, from repairs and gravel for roads and bridges. In 1523 Pope Clement VII officially instituted the Magnifica Università and started the September Fair at Bettola, when local and foreign merchants enjoyed exemption from all taxes and duties. The fair is still held today and is known as the “Antica Fiera di Settembre”.
The organisation of the Magnifica Università survived until Napoleonic times, though for centuries it was menaced by the Nicelli who, thanks to their possessions in the area, aimed at exercising feudal powers.
Source: La Magnifica Val Nure