Castelvetro di Modena - MO
Just 18 km from Modena and 40 from Bologna there is an oasis of peace where you can spend some time in the pursuit of wellbeing, culture and good food: this is Castelvetro, an ideal destination for those who want to discover ancient traditions.
We invite you to experience the culture, art and traditions of these enchanting places by crossing the “Terre di Castelli” (Castles Path). Experience the unforgettable limpid colours of winter, the flower of spring, the summer light, the watercolour glow of autumn.
Castelvetro is located at 150 meters of altitude above sea level, on gently sloping vineyard hills. Driving along the “Castles Path”, among defensive castles and fortresses, you will reach this real jewel surrounded by hills. The village still shows the medieval structure, enclosed by walls overlooked by towers and steeples. The town is spread over an area of 49 sq km and has a population of close to 10500.
The municipality of Castelvetro extends over a large swathe of territory that includes level ground, rolling hills and the appennine foothills. Two streams, the Nizzola and the Guerro, flow through the area. In the past Castelvetro was an Etruscan fortified village in the fifth century B.C., around 150 B.C. Roman legions established a military garrison in the hill area, a Castrum (military encampment) as it was then called. Thus the name Castelvetro derives from the Latin Castrum and Vetus (old, ancient).
According to scholars, the castle of Castelvetro di Modena was built in the 5th century for protecting the settlement from invaders and was built along with walls surrounding the entire town. The castle is a large complex, with several important buildings within like towers, ancient churches and palace. Quite a lot of buildings have been damaged over the centuries and had to be rebuilt or repaired but the castle still retains its medieval look.
The earliest mention we have of this town is from a manuscript from 890 A.D. Remains from the Middle Ages include a tower built during Matilda of Canossa’s rule, part of the town wall and a town gate.
The Castle of Levizzano
Standing proudly on the hills around Castelvetro, the Castle of Levizzano dates back to the end of the 19th century and is one of the largest and best preserved fortresses of the Province of Modena. It first belonged to Bonifacio di Toscana, Matilde di Canossa's father, and then passed into the hands of the Rangoni family until the Napoleon era. The Torre Matildica (Matilde's Tower) stands out imperiously from the castle. Starting from the 12th century the fortification was restored as well as enlarged and part of the feudal Palace was built.
The underground tunnels which connect the castle to the main tower date back to the same period of time. During the 16th century, the buildings located on the estate underwent relevant transformations becoming increasingly often used for residential purposes thus dedicating most part of the future renovations to the exclusive Palace.
Indeed, dating back to this period of time, are the Chambers of the Bishop, on the ground floor, embellished with wooden roofs, raftered ceilings and breathtaking frescoes.
Situated in the southern part of the castle’s area there’s a small chapel, now unhallowed, once dedicated to the Saints Albert and Anthony. The last important works ended in 2007 and, due to a conservative makeover, they gave us the chance to recover a building that now has a great historical and cultural value and which is today perfect for hosting cultural activities, artistic exhibitions, meetings and catering events.
The Oratory of St. Michael
St. Michael’s Oratory lies between the Guerro and Nizzola streams, half way between Levizzano and Castelvetro. There is still some debate over when the Oratory was actually built. Some art and history scholars maintain it was built around the 8th and 9th centuries, while others, more realistically, claim it dates back to the same period of Modena cathedral, namely the 12th century.
Parish Church of Levizzano
The Parish Church was built between 1903-1920 and is dedicated to Saint Anthony. The outstanding façade is decorated with a circular rose window, biphoras and hanging arches. Inside the building it’s possible to see the typical features of Romanesque architectural style: three naves, round arches and cross vaults. The church houses two frescoes from the 14th century and a crucifix from 18th century.
Campo San Rocco, former Napoleonic Cemetery
In the small underlying suburb of the castle of Levizzano, there’s an ex Napoleonic Cemetery worthy of mention. In compliance with the introduction of the Napoleonic “Edict of Saint-Cloud” law in Italy in the early 19th century, the burial ground was built just outside the town walls, in the field of San Rocco at the foot of the Castle. It is one of the few remaining examples of its kind in Italy today.