City of the province of Piacenza, Bobbio is the most important center of Valley of Trebbia, located along the banks of the river with the same name, at the foot of Mount Penice. The area was inhabited since the Stone Ages. Subsequently here settled Ligurians and Celts, who were defeated and exiled by the Roman army. The town's name derives from the river that flows South, through the center.
In 614, the Lombard King Agilulfo donated the territories to the Irish monk Colombano, who had restored a small ruined church dedicated to St. Peter, in which, at his death he was buried by his followers. The Holy Abbots and several monks took turns in keeping the monastic community alive and the monastery was populated rapidly: already in 643 it counted the presence of 150 monks. Around the monastery were built the first houses inhabited by civilians. The Abbey of Bobbio, with its schools, its library, its Scriptorium, its economic organization, gained political strength. At the Court of the Lombard, the monks had such a consideration that often the political crises were resolved or caused by their points of view. The Abbey possessions during the Lombard-ages spread throughout all Northern Italy. At the fall of the Lombard Kingdom, with Charles the Great, the monks of St. Colombano were granted with new possessions, which increased more their power. The monks created their own scripture, referring to the Irish tradition, and their manuscripts allowed the preservation and knowledge of ancient texts, such as "De repubblica" of Cicerone and the letters of Seneca to Lucillo. In 1230, Bobbio was occupied by the troops of Piacenza, whose lords dominated until the conquest of the area by the Visconti. From this moment, the town became part of the territories of Pavia. In 1387 the territories were given in fief to the Del Verme Family, that held the domain, except for some brief periods, until the mid XVIII century, when it became part of the domain of Savoy.
Sites of Interest:
- the Abbey of St. Colombano, whose construction began from the late XIX century, when the Abbot Agilulfo decided to move the whole complex. The present building dates from the period 1456-1522 and only the circular apse and the bell tower have been spared of the original ancient proto-Romanesque basilica. Despite the simplicity of the decorative elements, the Basilica has a magnificent structure, a splendid example of the architectural transition from Gothic to Renaissance. The crypt houses the sarcophagus of St. Colombano and on the two sides the tombs of St. Attala and St. Bertulfo, respectively second and third Abbot of Bobbio. The abbey also houses a Museum with archeological exhibits and artworks related to the figures of the Saints from the XIV to the XVIII centuries and the Civic Museum;
- the Cathedral, whose original structure dates back to 1075, while the façade dates back to 1463. The two majestic towers are original only in their lower parts: the one on the right was modified in 1532 on request of the City Council, with a belfry and clock in addition, while the left one was the original bell tower, today features mullioned windows on three sides and a lancet window on the other side. The building features a staircase at the entrance, which raises it from the main square. The cathedral has a Latin cross plan with a series of side chapels covered by vaulted ceilings and Gothic-Byzantine decorations and XIV century frescoes;
- the Church of San Lorenzo, whose earliest records date back to 1144. Of the original church, still partly visible on the left side of the façade, was renovated and enlarged in 1694;
- the Convent of San Francesco, built in 1230, features a XV century cloister;
- the XVII century Sanctuary of Our Lady of Help, built to preserve a precious image of the Virgin, believed to be miraculous. It features a single nave plan with side chapels and decorated by paintings of 1912;
- the Castle Malaspina, built in 1304 and designed by Corradino Malaspina. Of the original structure remains only the central keep with a rectangular plan;
- the XIV century Palazzo Alcarini with a Gothic arched porch;
- the Palazzo Olmi, a complex of three existing XV century buildings, enlarged and refurbished in the XVIII century;
- the Old Bridge (also called Gobbo, due to the irregularity of its 11 humps), which is also the symbol of the city. The earliest records of its presence date back to 1196.