We are at Fidenza in camper, in the first hills between Parma and Piacenza, 30km from Parma. We came here to enjoy guided tours in different places in Fidenza and we have been very surprised by the many things we did not know, that we would like to tell you today. If you come to Fidenza by camper, there are at least five things that you need to know:
The actual Latin name is Fidentia, “faith”. It was Mussolini who gave it this name in 1927, since he liked the concept it suggests. Before it was called Borgo San Donnino, taken from the patron saint who was executed here in this area.
The patron saint, Saint Donnino:
history tells us that he was a solider in the service of the Emperor Massimiano, and the reliefs on the face of the cathedral tell us that he was the “cubicolario”, the person who managed the expensive objects of the Emperor: he would bring out the crown for important occasions for instance. He was however a Christian, and since he did not want to give up his faith, he left his position and headed towards Roma. The Emperor came to learn of his departure, sent his troops to find him, and at the gates of the town, they decapitated him. Donnino is therefore represented on his feet with his head in his hands. His corpse was buried in the Cathedral crypt. He is particularly popular as the town saint, thanks to the many miracles attributed to him. It is said that pilgrims travelling to Rome would stop at his tomb to honour his memory.
San Donnino – Fidenza
Capital of Italy:
Between 1000 and 1100, Borgo San Donnino was capital of Italy, thanks to the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. Rebelling against her father and Matilde of Canossa, she deciared the town the capital of her lands for at least a decade.
Fidenza is stop n18 on the via Francigena from Fiorenzuola and n19 towards Fornovo Taro, the most famous and well-known history itinerary in the world.
Built in the Medieval periods as a sanctuary dedicated to San Donnino, the Cathedral has a splendid facing, and is flanked by two towers apparently built by Benedetto Antelami. You can see the low-reliefs on the central door that recount the story of the saint, and our journey takes us inside: there are 3 columns and 4 archways in the church, which are very rare. The decorations are visible only from the inside: there are six different arches, of two different types and you can see well their beauty. They served only to support the central part of the church. The Crypt, the most intimate part of the Cathedral, houses the body of the Saint: this space has remained intact over the ages, and you can almost feel the love and devotion that he inspired. You can also see his original sarcophagos and wooden statue.
We should also say that the cathedral was once connceted to the Cathedral Museum, but part of the structure was destroyed during the war, and in 2000, the Bishops Palace hosts the Museum, where you can see the Treasures of the Cathedrals. It contains a treasure trove of painting, vases and sacred works, some of them absolutely unique. Please visit the official website for more information on the Museum and the cathedral.
How to reach Fidenza by camper:
Leave the A1 motorwar, and take SS9 (via Emilia) until you arrive at the carparks, but note that there is no electricity or discharge facilities available.
Via Carducci next to the station, payment
Foro Boario in via Cornini payment
free parking in Via Napoleone Gialdi
Eating in Fidenza:
Since we are in Emilia and in Parma, green tortelli served with butter and sage are the order of the day. You can also find tasting sessions for Parmigiano Reggiano at Consortium dairies, but our members can use their card to find producers who offer camping or parking facilities. Other typical trattoria available include “Al canton 33” a few metres from the Cathedral while the Antica Trattoria of the Cathedral offers traditional dishes of our region.