Things to see & do when you are here

Local Excursions

two horses and carraige

It's nice to take a morning or afternoon away from painting to visit the local area. A popular excursion is to the local market on Thursday morning. Another morning we may go to visit the spectacular Bismantova mountain. Other local excursions can be arranged  according to the wishes of the group and all local excursions by Pheona or Francesco are included in the price of the holiday.

Francesco Bonicelli led excursion
Francesco was born in Villa Minozzo and so knows the area and the culture well.  His excursions will take you to see the how local Parmesan Cheese is made,  exclusive balsamic vinegar, parma hams and sausages and then a bit of wine tasting over home made pasta for lunch.

Francesco Bonicelli led excursion

two horses and carraige
Francesco was born in Villa Minozzo and so knows the area and the culture well.  His excursions will take you to see the how local Parmesan Cheese is made,  exclusive balsamic vinegar, parma hams and sausages and then a bit of wine tasting over home made pasta for lunch.   He may also take you on a hike in the local mountains if you would just like to get out and enjoy the scenery

The Bismantova Rock


This is a spectacular limestone rock which rises about 1,000m above sea level and dominates the landscape. It is spectacularly beautiful and you can climb to the top in 20 minutes. The top is flat, about 1 km square with 360' views of the surrounding landscape . Mentioned by Dante and with an ancient little church built into the rock it is a 'must see' when you are here.

Monte Cusna

  • view from Monte Cusna
  • Two men ready to get off the chair lift
  • view from Febbio
  • Febbio ski resort
  • Febbio ski resort
  • snow scene
  • view from the Bismantova

The little ski resort of Febbio is 20 minutes away, and from there you can take the chair lift up to Monte Cusna .  At 2121m you are main on the ridge of the Appennino with stunning views over Tuscany in one direction and Emilia Romagna in the other.  The chair lifts are open in the summer also in the evening to see the stars from this wonderful location.   

In the Winter it is open for all sorts of snow sports or just to enjoy the experience of the stunning views.

Febbio 2000

Rock pools and waterfall

  • Cascata Golforone.  Waterfall
  • Cascata di Golferone.  Waterfall
  • Rock pool, Secchiello
  • Interesting geology
  • rock pools
  • three girls at the rock pools

Not far from the house there are a series of rock pools and the 15 m "Cascada di Golfarone" waterfall.

This is an idyllic location to sketch or have a cool dip in a summers' day. 

Cascate Lavacchiello

Villa Minozzo

  • Pool at Villa Minozzo
  •  Maggio procession
  • Maggio
  • mural in Villa Minozzo
  • mural on teatro mantovani, Villa Minozzo
  • festa in Minozzo
  • Singers
  • choir
  • dancing
  • market

Villa Minozzo is a  market town is only 15 minutes walk from Casa Appennino. The amenities are first class and it has everything you could want from an Italian town, especially on market day which is Thursday. There are bars and supermarkets, restaurants,  a beautiful open air swimming pool, and a sports centre. There are many festa's here, all summer long, from choirs to impromptu singing evenings, food festivals, dancing, and so on. There is always something you can join in with the local Italians.

Villa Minozzo also has many murals throughout the town which makes it very 'arty'. 

Villa Minozzo is famous for having kept alive the tradition of 'Maggio' a particular form of dramatic folk art spoken and sung in a local dialect (July and August).


woman on top of Bismantova

We can organise walks as part of your holiday.   There are many beautiful walks from the house, and there are many other way-marked routes to explore. Some offer dramatic mountain views and others follow routes of geological interest, botanical interest or even to places of historical interest.   We can go as a little group or else we can give you maps and guidebooks if you prefer to explore on your own.  Or you can go with Francesco.


  • Parmesan cheese
  • making pasta
  • tasting wine in the cantina
  • making parmesan cheese
  • parmesan cheese
Emilia Romagna is known as the gastronomic capital of Italy with many famous food and wines being produced here. 
Parmesan cheese, Parma ham, Balsamic vinegar, Lambrusco, truffles, porcini mushrooms are all local produce. 

Here, we are in "citta slow".....the produce is called 'slow food' (the opposite of fast food).  It is made by hand using traditional methods and fine ingredients.   You can visit  where the  parmesan cheese is made a 'latteria'. You can also visit one of the local 'cantina's' to sample local wines.

You can go to the local market (Thursdays) or shops for the freshest home made produce.

Italian Immersion

If you are learning the Italian language there are plenty of opportunities for you to practice. Talking to the neighbours, visiting the shops and market, going to the gelateria or bars.... everyone is very friendly.

Italian Cookery

  • three people making pasta
  • Two women making pasta
  • making pasta
  • italian food
  • fresh pasta

A local family run restaurant which is famous in the area for it's traditional recipes now offers cookery lessons for our guests.   This is a great opportunity to learn Italian dishes from this particular area.  This is a unique Italian culinary cultural experience.  Due Pini Ristorante

National Park of the Giant

  • Mountains in autumn
  • rock pools
  • beautiful landscape
  • landscape
  • landscape
  • landscape
  • landscape

This national Park is one of the greatest successes in Italy, having protected the environment so that there is an abundance of natural flora and fauna. Man and nature live in sympathy with each other. The orchards, vegetable gardens, fields and vineyards are carefully husbanded. Woods are coppiced and there are many wild animals and birds to be seen. Deer, wild boar, wolves, roe, butterflies, dragonflies, fireflies in June, and many types of birds. There is also an abundance of wild flowers virtually all year round. It is a nature lover's paradise!

There are many way marked paths for you to explore, including from the house.  

Horse riding

Three people horse trekking in a field

We can thoroughly recommend going horse trekking with a local stables.
They will take you around the glorious countryside on their beautiful horses.

Farm animals

  • two cows munching hay
  • goats
  • girl feeding a horse
  • three donkeys
  • free hens
  • happy pigs
  • two beautiful horses


  • Man climbing
  • four people with 'zyper Y' equipment
  • via ferrata
  • girl on top of Bismantova
  • via ferrata
  • signs
  • face of Bismantova

For the more adventurous perhaps.....The Bismantova mountain has a dramatic south facing rock face
with over 200 bolted routes which offers climbers an amazing 'playground' with wonderful views.
There are also a few 'Via Ferrata' nearby and we have equipment if you wish to try these.

There is a local company with English speaking guides which can take you to try climbing, the Via Ferrata or gorge walking.

World War 2

  • War Memorial
  • War memorial

During the war this area was particularly strong with the Partisan resistance to the Nazi's - and the locals still tell tales of those times. There is a museum in Villa Minozzo which chronicles the events of WW2 and there are many monuments to the bravery of the partisans and the locals who were killed in reprisals.


  • Musicians, one violinist, one accordianist
  • parade

There are festa's every weekend from Spring through to Autumn, and then regularly through the Winter too. Music, Dancing, the Fiat 500 rally, and always, always, food and wines!


shiastsu massage

There are two 'health and well being' places in Villa Minozzo where you can book a massage, manicure, pedicure or any of a number of pampering options.   It's also possible to arrange for someone to come to the house to give massages.


Carpineti Castle

You might be interested in exploring some of the many castles of Matilda Di Canossa. Her story is fascinating in that she was a famous female ruler of vast lands in the 16th century (check). She fought with her armies on behalf of the then Pope Gregory. She and Pope Gregory VII instigated great changes for the Catholic and church, and she is remembered with a large sculpture in St Peters in The Vatican.

Shooting Stars

shooting stars

In August the clear nights and unpolluted skies make it easy to see the shooting stars of the Perseid at night. They are called the 'Tears of Saint Lawrence' here in Italy, and the frequency of sightings increases until the 10 -12th August when you can see (on average) one per minute .

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