Savignano sul Panaro - MO
How to get there
By car: from Modena take the ring road in the direction of Vignola, then turn on to state road 623 of the Brasa Pass, also called the Vignolese. After passing the town of Vignola turn on to state road 569 and follow it to Savignano sul Panaro.
By train: from Modena station take city bus no.7 towards the centre, then at the coach station take the out-of-town bus to Savignano.
Situated between the hill and the high plain on the right of the Panaro River, valuable archaeological finds show that people have lived here since the earliest times.
Today there are about eight thousand inhabitants and a large part of the area is cultivated with orchards (cherries, plums, apricots, apples and pears) and with DOC vineyards (Trebbiano, Pinot, Montuni, Albana, Lambrusco Grasparossa, and Barbera).
There are also small manufacturing companies, artisans and those working in the tertiary sector.
The local cooking is rich and varied because it draws inspiration from the traditions of Bologna and Modena on one hand and from the mountain and plain on the other.
You can therefore enjoy mountain products such as "borlenghi" and "crescentine", together with "Modenese" ones like balsamic vinegar and nut liqueur, and others of Bolognese origin such as fresh and filled pasta.
A point of historical and architectural interest is the medieval hamlet of Savignano Alto.
Among numerous archaeological finds in the area we should mention the skeleton of a Pliocene-epoch elephant (visible at the COVOCP Centre) and the statuette of "Venus" dating back to the Upper Palaeolithic period.
Known as Savignano Alto or Castello, the ancient hamlet still has its medieval urban layout.
You enter from Piazza Zanantoni, laid out on two levels, the upper of which is surrounded by a wall.
The recently restored oratory was built in 1631, after the hamlet had escaped the plague of the Manzoni era.
The castle entrance is in Via Crespellani. The first records of the building go back to 898, when the Bishops of Modena held jurisdiction.
Marquis Boniface of Tuscany left the castle to his daughter Matilda of Canossa and on her death in 1115 Savignano was disputed between the Modenese and the Bolognese.
It then came under the domain of the d'Este family, who in 1408 gave it to Uguccione of the Contrari Lordship.
From 1577 to 1796 it was owned by the Boncompagni family.
In 1861 Savignano became one of the municipalities of the Kingdom of Italy.
The castle keep, which towers over the first large arch, used to have a drawbridge.
Further on you come to the great edifice of the captain's house, with traces of frescoes and a coat of arms of the Contrari Lordship.
A staircase in brickwork leads to the parish church of Assunta (Our Lady of the Assumption), rebuilt in 1894 on the site of the ancient Medieval fortress of the 11th century.
The House of Matilda, a building reconstructed where the Countess of Canossa is said to have stayed, is situated among the old houses of Via Pallotti.
Where the buildings end there rises the Torre del Capellano (Tower of Capellano), visible only from the outside.
In the new part of Savignano, situated at the foot of Castle hill, it is worth visiting the town hall, where the skeleton is kept of the Archidiskodon Gromovi, the Pliocene-era elephant found on the banks of the Panaro River in 1980.