You can always use Google Earth, but it’s actually better to imagine that you are flying and then slowly coming down from the Parma peaks. You will see long crests, beautiful mountains, and many small lakes between the woods and the high-valley fields. The woods are endless, there are pasture fields, and small valleys marked by limpid rivers, cultivation, and ancient-type towns and villages.
Returning to earth, the tourist’s keen gaze will discover all the prized mountain products that the area offers: mushrooms, truffles, chestnuts, the Cornigliese sheep, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, cold cuts. It is a mountain landscape where campers can get to know hospitable and inventive people, a landscape of honey, apple cider, snails, fruits and wild herbs, and the black pig. This is the perfect place for slow-tourism, a splendid environment infused with the delicious flavours of the Parma mountains.
Here campers can enjoy a world rich in authenticity and splendid passionate people: of course, us campers also have our driving passion, travelling by camper. And so we would like to recommend some of the small producers who live and make unique products in this part of the Parma Appennines.
Producers in the high Parma Valley
Even if not all these producers can physically accommodate our camper, their excellent products are still available for us to taste and learn about in a truly unique shop in Corniglio. So if we have a scooter or bike on board, you can easily get to these producers and see what you can create such passion: excellence.
Do not miss…..
The following producers are not to be missed, and where the camper cannot arrive, we will indicate a carpark close by.
Odorizzi Cinzia’s Ilio, Agricultural company
Starting from the hills at Langhirano, we would like to mention Snails, Lavander, Bee products, vegetables, and cosmetics. These are the products made by agricultural company Ilio run by Cinzia Odorizzi. The company is in the hills above Langhirano, in a MAB-UNESCO area where biodiversity is managed and protected, and the land is managed in a sustainable manner.
Their main activity is snail production (the Helix Aspersa Maxima and Helix Aspersa Muller), bred with passion, and from which the company makes Cosmetic products. The presence of bees in this area is essential, and therefore Apiculture has become an important activity for the company, with the production of Thousand Flower Honey.
Learning about a company of this type, that respects the environment and stands against the large industrial producers, is a unique experience. You can park your camper in the ground, but please contact owner Cinzia first.
Contact details: Cinzia Odorizzi’s Ilio agricultural company
Tre Rii agricultural company
Now we go up the main road to Corniglio towards Beduzzo, to reach the Tre Rii area where you can find a cider-factory, at the Tre Rii agricultural company.
But isn’t it strange to talk about cider in the middle of the province of Parma? Well, yes, usually in fact this refreshing fizzy slightly-alcoholic drink is associated with areas very different to this one,
but actually here in the Val Baganza and Val Parma there were no grapes and so apples became the base for household drinks. From the 1950s onwards, homemade “apple wine” (“al ven ed pom“ in the local dialect) was very common in all the Emilia high valleys.
There is also apple vinegar, made from the abundant wild apples easily found in the Val Baganza and Val Parma.
As Filippo Valla, owner of the Tre Rii, says on his website:
“I made a warehouse out of the old stables and hayloft, plus a cellar, to produce Cider; in the garden I planted some pink melo apples…. while there is a B&B in the tower for visitors who want to come and see the Cider factory.”
You can park your camper in the grounds, but please call Filippo first.
Beduzzo community dairy
Coming down from Tre Rii and taking the main road towards Corniglio, we come across the Beduzzo Community Dairy, and so we enter the world of the mountain Parmigiano Reggiano.
The Dairy was created in 1850 to collect milk to make cheese, for the mountain population above all during the winter. Restructured and modernised many time since, in accordance with the most recent regulations, 2005 saw the Beduzzo Community Dairy move into the space it occupies today,further enhanced by a new shop and Info-Point for the Parco dei Cento Laghi (Park of the 100 Lakes).
Here the milk of 10 different partner stables (each with no more than 30 cows) is brought together: here in the Appennines, it is hard to find large-scale stables, which are the norm in the plain below.
You can park your camper in the grounds while you visit the stables next door, visit the dairy and enjoy tasting sessions in the shop.
Ca’ Mezzadri agricultural company
Now we work our up the Parma Valley towards Vestana, a small town where we find the Ca’ Mezzadri agricultural company, which breeds black pigs and produces cold cuts.
The company promotes this rare Parma auctonomous breed, respecting its dimensions and need for space.
The cold cuts produced as a result are excellent – we invite you to go as far as Vestana to try them in person, it is worth the time!
For more information on the black pig, click here: https://www.incampercongusto.it/azienda-agricola-ca-mezzadri-suino-nero-parma/
Now we stop in Corniglio, a magnificent town in the high Parma Valley with an imposing castle that overlooks it: the local council is housed here, and you can find the Corniglio Hostel.
Apart from the rooms that host numerous groups of young people and tourist who love this magnificent part of the Parma Appennines, you can go trekking or enjoy MTB, or enjoy the Hostel’s shop.
You can also find all the information you need to find excursionist guides like Andrea Pellacini to name one, or organise your own excursion or visit the Park of the 1000 Lakes. You can find and taste all the products that we describe here.
Alternatively, you could opt for horse excursions from Corniglio to the Lakes of the Park. Cinzia Ferraresi, an equestrian guide and her horses will be very happy to help you experience the splendid high Parma Valley. Contact Cinzia via the Hostel, and organise your own horse-excursion.
Now we will discuss a valley parallel to the Parma Valley, which you can reach via a mountain pass: La Val Cedra. Come down the Ticchiano Pass that goes down from Corniglio to Casarola, home of Attilio and Bernando Bertolucci and we arrive at Monchio delle Corti. You can use the convenient camper rest-area just above the town.
Giustrela Agricultural Company
A few metres on foot or MTB if you prefer take you to Via dell’Artigianato where you can find the Giustrela Agricultural Company. And by the way, do you know what it means in the mountain dialect? LIZARD, which is also the logo of the company and the products that they make and pacakge.
Our company was born from the desire to protect and make the most of the enormous, but often forgotten, natural resources of our zone, the Regional Park of the Valli del Cedra and the Parma (Parco dei 100 laghi).
The peace and tranquillity that owner Elena found in this area created a genuine love for its nature and harmony, its perfection and its beauty.
And thanks to that love, the Giustrela produces artisanal jams, syrups and juices, tisane and mushrooms: it gathers and uses only fruit and wild herbs that grow naturally inside the Park.
Details: Giustrela Agricultural Company
Via dell’artigianato s.n.c., 43010 Monchio delle Corti (PR)
Telephone 328 4260435 or fax 041 5352046
Website : http://www.lagiustrela.it/
Val Bratica Agricultural company
Last but not least, we turn our attention to a sheep farm, the Pecora Cornigliese. Meeting owner Sara Simonetti was a real pleasure: thanks to Sara and her her Cornigliesi-breed sheep, you can learn about the work of the shepherd, the breeding methods, and how to manage a herd thanks to the sheepdogs.
In September 2018, the first awards for the Cornigliese Sheep were made, an event that saw Sara’s Val Bratica win an award for work that is hard and difficult high up in the Appennines. The company also breeds cows and horses. There is a small honey laboratory, using Sara’s own bees, and she organises “lab excursions” to understand better the world of the mountain breeders.
To contact Sara and visit her farm, contact her via the Corniglio Hostel, who will organise a meeting and maybe a nice walk with Sara and her animals.