We are in Fidenza, in the first hills between the provinces of Parma and Piacenza, about 30 km from the city of Parma, a town with a thousand and more opportunities to visit and that will surely amaze you: here is our advice on the 5 things you need to know about Fidenza by camper.
Let the journey begin …
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.
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.
We leave you the reference of the new website of the Municipality for all information about it, hostels, route and map.
The Cathedral: some historical notes and why visit it
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.
Beyond culture there is … the outdoors
Fidenza is certainly culture but also the ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and especially for bike & trekking thanks to the gentle hills and the most challenging slopes suitable for all kinds of hikers.
At least 12 itineraries proposed by the Municipality with routes, maps and attached card to embark on a naturalistic journey for example in the nearby Stirone Park with the possibility of horseback riding or even get to Verdi’s lands.
Point of interest is also shopping with the center of Fidenza with its historic shops or the first natural shopping center, as well as the renowned shopping center in San Michele Campagna.
In short, there really is something for all tastes and difficulties: this is why we attach the handy page related to the activities to be done.
How to get to 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.
Our personal opinion
Do you have any idea how many countries you would never say are treasures of cultural, historical and food and wine beauty? Here, Fidenza is just one of these, because from the highway you pass us and you stop only for a couple of things, and you don’t go further …
Instead, it lends itself well to a weekend dedicated to walking or cycling if passionate, or to good food (we are still in Emilia …) or simply to spend time with those slow rhythms of a slow country at your fingertips, all ‘sign of relaxation.
Good km or miles!