The word Pianellae Planellis or Planitas is quoted in documents preserved in S.Columba’s Monastery in Bobbio and in other documents dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries. In 1164 the castle was destroyed by the armies of Frederick Redbeard. After being ruled by the Arcelli family, in the late 14th century it became a fief ruled by the Dal Verme family upon will of Galeazzo Visconti; the Dalvermes, who already owned Rocca d’Olgisio and Bobbio, thus became more and more important allies of the duke of Milan.We owe the building of the still existing fortress, located in the centre of the village, to count Jacopo Dal Verme. The fiefs were subsequently taken over by Pietro "nephew of Ludovico Sforza called "Il Moro", whose ruling he didn’t agree with. According to history, in effect, to get rid of his opponent Ludovico poisoned him, assigning Pianello and other landmarks in Tidone Valley to Galeazzo Sanseverino, one of his most capable captains. The Dal Vermes then regained possession of the fief until François 1, king of France, which in 1516 had freed Piacenza from the rule of the pope, returned Pianello to the Sanseverinos, who were its lords until 1521. In that same year French troops were defeated by the troops of the pope who reassigned Pianello to the Dal Vermes. In 1646, after the death of Federico, the last member of the Dal Verme dinasty, Pianello and its territory were taken over by the Camera Ducale (Chamber of Dukes).
Rocca di Pianello (Pianello fortress) has an irregular plan and an etherogenous structure. Its walls, made of stream pebbles and stone have a remarkable vertical development, while they have a “slope structure” below the high cordon line.
Rocca Dal Verme, where Pianello Val Tidone’s Town Hall is located, hosts Museo Archeologico della Val Tidone (Tidone Valley’s archaelogical museum), that was created thanks to the cooperation between Emilia Romagna’s Board of Archaeological Assets and the Association of Volunteers “Associazione Archeologica Pandora” founded in 1990, to whose passionate work and skilled research we owe the identification of several remarkable archaeological sites.
Emilia Romagna’s Board of Archaeological Assets has sponsored several excavations in a roman community probably dating back to the period between I B.C. and I A.C., that came back to light during the construction of Pianello’s new cemetery. After that a necropolis has been found as well. Up to now, about 40 grave burials dating back to the High Middleages, have been found out.
Associazione Archeologica Pandora is presently cooperating with the board for the excavations carried out every summer in Piana di San Martino, where an extremely interesting and complicated archaeological site is being brought to light. Although the oldest evidence of people in the area dates back to the proto-historic age (final bronze age-iron age), the hill was inhabited again in the late-ancient age, until the late middleages, when a religious building was built; the necropolis was found next to such building. The remains of a probable tower are the last part of the building structure identified up to now.
Further research has been carried out in the areas where remains have been found, such as Chiaroni Arcello Case Rebuffi Trevozzo Castelnovo Vicomarino Montecucco Ganaghello.
The remains are now on exhibition at Museo Archeologico della Val Tidone.
The museum is made of three rooms: the first one preserves fossiles that show the various layers constituting Padana Valley; in the second one remains witnessing the presence of man in Tidone Valley in pre and proto-history (from 5th millennium B.C. to the beginning of the roman age – II/I centuries B.C.) are displayed. Most of the exhibition is dedicated to the remains from Piana di San Martino, pottery artefacts above all,which confirm the existence of a community grown throughout the 1st millennium B.C.
The third room of the museum, the largest one, contains remains dating back above all to the roman period and some from the High-Middleages. Several specimens of objects found in the roman village of Pianello are displayed; they are very useful not only to understand the local productive activities at the time, but also to rebuild the commercial itineraries through which products coming from various regions in and out of Italy arrived in Tidone Valley (such as the remains of sealed clay from Southern Gaule and Spanish amphoras).
The most recent piece of art is a late imperial funerary stone found in an area where a capital with graffiti and scrolls, probably belonging to a funerary monument, had already been found.
The exhibition also includes the roman remains coming from different sites in the valley, namely the sarcophagus from Vicomarino, as well as remains of Ganaghello’s burial from Arcello’s Villa in Trevozzo.