Along the placid course of the waters of the River Stirone, the Stirone and Piacenziano Regional Park unfolds for visitors. A natural district that, starting from Fidenza, extends towards the Apennine hinterland for almost 15 km, incorporating nine areas of great paleontological interest located between Castell'Arquato, Lugagnano Val d’Arda, Vernasca, Gropparello and Carpaneto Piacentino.
It is a protected area of indescribable charm that offers not only pleasant landscape views, but also important data for the reconstruction of the history of the region. The erosive processes on the banks of the river have revealed fossil deposits of great value from the Tertiary and Quaternary periods, making this district well-known to the international scientific world.
The entire area is traversed by important communication routes – such as the Via Emilia and the Via Francigena – which have led to settlements made up of castles, parish churches and small villages, traces of which still remain today.
The environment and scenery
The park displays a wide variety of habitats that translates into a strong diversity in terms of landscapes and natural surroundings. Therefore, it ranges from the gentle scenery of the plains to the starkness of the badlands in the foothills of the Apennines.
From the point of view of the fauna, besides the typical animals found in many river areas (fish, amphibians, etc), the presence of the European bee-eater is of particular note, a colourful migratory bird that builds its nest in tunnels dug along the escarpment.
What can you do there?
Despite being a relatively small district, the park offers plenty of opportunities to experience this natural area at its best.
On foot, by mountain bike or on horseback, there are many options available.
There are fossiliferous outcrops that you can observe close-up; the Apennines, which you can reach on guided hikes, some of which can be quite intense; well-equipped service and recreational vehicle parking areas where you can have a relaxing picnic surrounded by nature or so you can go fishing or birdwatching and, finally, the harmony of flavours from the local delicacies that you can enjoy in one of the many restaurants in the area.