Pietra De’ Giorgi: historic architecture in the village surrounded by nature

History, architecture, nature and food and wine merge between the internal hills of Oltrepò, between naturalistic and historical paths and the passage of the 45th parallel north.
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Article description

Pietra dè Giorgi is a small village on the second circle of hills in Oltrepò Pavese at an altitude of about 300 meters above sea level. The historic core of the village is located in a panoramic position from which the view sweeps north over the Po Valley until it reaches, on clear days, the chain of the Alps. To the south east you can see the gentle ridges of Oltrepò hills up to the offshoots of the Apennines.

History, architecture, nature and food and wine come together in the hills of Pietra.

Of great interest from a historical and architectural point of view are the castle and the church of Castagnara. The first, one of the oldest manors in Oltrepò Pavese dates back to 1012. Over the centuries it has hosted several noble families, and is currently privately owned. Of the four towers, which characterized it in 1400, today only one remains. The walls, in some places, reach a thickness of 2 m and have the characteristic sawtooth decoration of the Ghibelline families. Inside the fortress there is an oratory dedicated to the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin. Outside, adjacent to the town hall, there is a vault belonging to the castle and, sold to the municipality of Pietra in 1877, an ancient well 75m deep. Below the town hall there is a cellar in exposed brick and with vaulted ceilings recently restored used as a prison and later as a stable of the castle.

The foundation of the Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta di Castagnara seems to date back to the end of the 13th century. It is said that Metelliano Massimo Orsini at the end of 1200, who settled with his family on the heights of Predalino at the north end of Pietra De’ Giorgi, went to pray for the healing of his seriously ill son in the chestnut wood adjacent to his home. Here Metelliano had the apparition of the Virgin who communicated the healing of her son to him. Following this he had the original church built in the chestnut wood, site of the apparition, which was blessed on 15 August 1300. Later the Church underwent several changes and was elevated to a Parish at the end of the 15th century. Of value, in the Church, you can find: the altar in red Verona marble dating back to 1730, the organ dating back to 1880, and the interior frescoes of the church by the painter R. Gambini from 1926.

Adjacent to the church is the square-plan terracotta Oratory whose construction dates back to the early decades of the 1700s. Over the centuries it served as a cemetery and subsidiary church when that of Castagnara became insufficient.

The village of Pietra De’ Giorgi is nestled among the vineyards that make up the prevailing economy of the area. Among the vineyards there are paths and dirt roads that are ideal routes for both trekking and mountain bike lovers. You can make excursions, of different lengths and difficulties, in the midst of nature during which it is also possible to meet roe deer, hares, squirrels, foxes and different birds. With a short path that winds south from Pietra you can reach the 45th parallel. 

In the municipality of Pietra there are numerous wineries where it is possible, upon reservation, to taste local wines. A restaurant, an artisan cured meat factory and a bed-and-breakfast complete the offer of the area.

The Municipality of Pietra De’ Giorgi

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