The village of Compiano is a small town nestled in the Parma Apennines, in the heart of the Val di Taro, in the province of Parma. Nestled in lush natural surroundings-a stone's throw from the castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza and resting on the Parma hills-between the borders of Lunigiana and Liguria, Compiano has about 1,000 inhabitants and is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
The ancient village has earned the reputation of "Italy's San Marino" because of the importance of the relationship linking the town with its castle, which towers over the village and is guarded by it like a jewel.
From the castle to its mysterious museums, from the Collection of the Marchesa Gambarotta to the splendid stone alleys that characterize the heart of the historic center, Compiano is a town to be discovered, to fully enjoy its beauty and the tranquility and peace that characterize this small medieval corner of the Parma region.
Val di Taro - Fabio Caironi/shutterstock
What to see in the village of Compiano and what to do? The first attraction to visit in Compiano is undoubtedly the Castle, symbol of the Emilian village. The bulwark, built in the 9th century, is very well preserved and is characterized by its quadrilateral shape that guards the inner courtyard, and by its three towers. Inside, among the beautiful frescoed halls decorated with objects of the time, it is possible to admire the Gambarotta Collection, that is, the rooms of the Marchesa's former residence with all the objects of the time displayed in a precious collection such as: the wooden boiserie, the library, the Chinese room and a large collection illustrating the Marchesa's taste for the exotic and oriental art.
That's not all: inside the Compiano castle it is also possible to visit the Museum of Freemasonry, the only one in Italy inside which is a rich collection (536 pieces) of jewelry, philately, books, paintings, molds, documents and objects of all kinds, and the Wine and Food Museum, once the castle's kitchen, now dedicated to the top products that are the pride of the province, such as mushrooms, traditional cured meats and cheeses and chestnuts. Guided tours are also held in the manor, some thematic and dedicated to children with interactive tours for the whole family.
From the windows of the castle it is possible to get a glimpse of the beautiful panorama of the Val di Taro that surrounds the interior of the village, the walkways and paths that are lost among the greenery and mountains.
It is worth visiting the historic center of the small village of Compiano, which is small in size but a unique experience to immerse oneself in the atmosphere of the area. In Compiano, among the narrow and silent alleys of the historic center, it seems as if time has stopped, giving way to a magical and suspended place where you can relive the medieval atmosphere.
Among the things to do in Compiano, we can recommend a taste of typical local food, perhaps in a local trattoria or restaurant. Absolutely try the panigacci, traditional in northern Tuscany, and of course the local cured meats and cheeses.
A number of traditional events are organized in Compiano during the summer season, among the most heartfelt in the village: the Blessing of the Waters of the Taro, held every first Sunday in July, as has been the tradition since 1630. It is a moment rich in spiritual meaning and reconnection with the traditions of our land.
On this occasion, the statue of Our Lady and that of St. Rocco are carried in procession to the Taro River to bless its waters.
Guided tours of the village, including evening and night tours, and walks to the sound of music are also often held in July and August. Very popular is the Festival of Street Artists, usually held in August, which brings together performances by many artists.
Blessing of the Waters of the Taro © VALGOTRABAGANZA