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 List of museums for category Museums in town Museums in the province Area of interest Suggested Itineraries The territory  Regione Emilia Romagna
Provincia di Piacenza
Comune di Piacenza
List of museums for category Museums in town Museums in the province Area of interest Suggested Itineraries The territory
Museum sections
Castle Museum
Ancient Clothes section
Museo del Castello di Rivalta (Rivalta Castle Museum) - Gazzola

Castle Museum

Aerial viewGalleryArms room
Dining roomHawk RoomGreen Room


The name Rivalta derives from the very ancient Ripa Alta, location near which the Battle of Trebbia between Hannibal’s troops and the Romans was likely fought in 218 B.C.
In the following centuries a tower or a castrum with garrison was probably built on the military road going from Trebbia Valley to Ripa Alta.
After the fall of the roman empire, the castrum was taken over first by the Longobardic people, then by the Francs, who both used it to guard the strategic opening of Trebbia Valley into the way leading to Genoa across the Apennines. First evidence of Rivalta dates back to 1048.
In the following century Rivalta was a Malaspina Possession. In 1255 Oberto Pallavicino, podesta of Piacenza, ordered its destruction because it was a guelph fortress. According to some documents dating back to the beginning of the 14th century, Rivalta then belonged to Obizzo Landi, ally of the Visconti family, but in 1322 the relationship between Landis and Viscontis became strained. According to a legend, Galeazzo Visconti harassed Bianchina, Obizzo’s beautiful wife,and besieged and destroyed Rivalta. The castle was rebuilt by the Landi family and in the 15th century it was taken over by the captain Niccolò Piccinino; after that the Landis became again the owners. It has belonged to the counts Zanardi Landi since the end of the 19th century. Among the war episodes occurring in Rivalta, we must mention the Spanish siege in 1636, the German plundering in 1746 and the French plundering in 1799. For some centuries Rivalta was a small rural and craft village, were some common activities were carried out:shoemakers, blacksmiths, barbers worked next to stables, pigsties and henhouses.
Today Rivalta is an original, perfectly preserved walled borough.
The castle is a remarkable example of medieval military architecture, one of the most important in Western Emilia; it is well restored and preserved and the various stages of its costruction are well visible.
The massive square donjon dates back to the Middle Ages, as well as the lancet arch at the entrance of the borough and the small semi-circular tower located in the Southern walls. During the second half of the 15th century the castle was restored by the architect Solari (who would also restore the Cremlin after that), in order to adjust it to the new military requirements (firearms).The following architectural elements date back to this period: the circular tower, the elegant inner ward with its arcading, firebrick friezes, capitals and medallions, the 25 meter long main hall, with a monumental fireplace and a wonderful caisson ceiling.
The façade with the triangular tympanum dates back tho the restoration works carried out in the 18th century; the tympanum bears the inscription SVEVO SANGUINE LAETA, reminding of ancient blood relations between the Landis and the Svevia dinasty. Also the stairway leading to the first floor was carried out in the 18th century. Some rooms on the first floor have been converted into a museum.
The Castle of Rivalta, rich in history and precious for its perfectly preserved state, hosts an interesting museum where ancient and modern arms are displayed. There are three important flags with the coat of arms of the Scotti family from Sarmato that waved on the yards of the Christian ships participating to the battle of Lepanto in 1571, during which the Europeans defeated the Sarrasins.
The collection includes some exhotic objects collected by the explorer Ermanno Stradelli at the end of the 18th century in Amazzonia, important and rare anthropological witness.
The main hall, with its monumental fireplace and some complete armours, is worth visiting as well as the bright green bedroom, the peculiar hawk bedroom with the four-poster bed, the dining room, the richly frescoed gallery and the game room, the large kitchen, the subterraneans that were once stables, and the dungeons.
Walking around the original borough is a very pleasant experience too: it is perfectly preserved and there’s a remarkable 15th century church dedicated to San Martino.


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