Bobbio Abbey, Italy

Bobbio Abbey, Italy


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Saint Columbanus Founds the Monastery and Library at Bobbio

In 614 Saint Columbanus founded the Abbazia di San Colombano at Bobbio, in the province of Piacenza in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Bobbio became famous as a center of resistance to Arianism, and the abbey library, founded by Columbanus with manuscripts that he brought from Ireland and treatises which he personally wrote, became one of the greatest libraries of the Middle Ages.

"Many books in its libary are older than the monastery and this demonstrates that Bobbio received many books second-hand. I refer especially to the copies of Cyprian, the biblical codex k of African origin, the Medici Virgil, the very ancient grammatical manuscripts, and especially, to the classical texts which lie buried in palimpsests" (Bischoff, Manuscripts and Libraries in the Age of Charlemagne [2007] 9).

In the ninth century Saint Dungal bequeathed his library to the abbey. It included some seventy volumes, among which was the famous 'Antiphonary of Bangor'.

In 982, Gerbert of Aurillac (later Pope Sylvester II) became abbot of Bobbio, and with the aid of numerous ancient treatises which he found there, composed his celebrated work on geometry. It appears that when Greek was almost unknown in western Europe, certain Irish monks at Bobbio read Aristotle and Demosthenes in the original Greek.

"A tenth-century catalogue, published by Muratori, shows that at that period every branch of knowledge, divine and human, was represented in this library. Many of the books have been lost, the rest have long since been dispersed and are still reckoned among the chief treasures of the later collections which possess them.

"In 1616 Cardinal Federico Borromeo took for the Ambrosian Library of Milan eighty-six volumes, including the famous " Bobbio Missal ", written about 911, the Antiphonary of Bangor, and the palimpsests of Ulfilas' Gothic version of the Bible. Twenty-six volumes were given, in 1618, to Pope Paul V for the Vatican Library. Many others were sent to Turin, where, besides those in the Royal Archives, there were seventy-one in the University Library until the disastrous fire of 26 January 1904" (Wikipedia article on Bobbio Abbey, accessed 12-03-2008).

&diams Umberto Eco based the location of his 1980-83 novel The Name of the Rose, with its labyrinthine library, on the abbey at Bobbio.


[Emilia Romagna Villages] Bobbio: a town of cinema and legend

This small medieval town is a travellers’ delight, a feast of ancient legends and modern cinema in the heart of the High Val Trebbia, dubbed “the most beautiful valley in the world” by none other than Ernest Hemingway. The town has the cultural and natural qualities to merit membership of both the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy and the Orange Flag Association.

Bobbio’s origins are something of a mystery. Its history is closely intertwined with the famous St Columban’s Abbey and the legendary Devil’s Bridge. The town is squeezed between four regions, a haven for lovers of culture, nature and sport. In short, a little piece of magic.

Visiting Bobbio is like stepping back into the Middle Ages, to relive the prestige and splendour that this place once enjoyed. Through the faith and foresight of an Irish monk, St Columban, this remote corner of the Apennines became the pulsating heart of medieval religious culture in Europe. It was around the abbey, in fact, that the lop-sided town first grew. The abbey became a large monastic complex, a beacon of culture on a par with Montecassino it houses the ancient scriptorium and the library that inspired Umberto Eco’s “The name of the rose”.

The most famous of the many legends surrounding Devil’s Bridge says that Satan built it in a single night, supporting it on the backs of his imps, in exchange for the soul of the first being that would cross it, only for St Columban to taunt him by sending across his faithful bear. The medieval town makes a beautiful setting for the annual Bobbio Film Festival the arcades of Piazza Duomo are a great spot for a pre-movie coffee, and the cobbled streets are all laid out to explore afterwards. Having visited a few years ago during a weekend based in Brugnello, I can recommend it to anyone looking for a lovely spot for a short break from the daily grind.

History

The town’s name derives from “saltus Boielis”, the Latin version of the Celtic-Ligurian name (Boiel) for both nearby Mount Penice and the stream that comes gushing down from it. In the 4th century, the Romans established a strategic base here on the west bank of the River Trebbia to control the salt road to the Byzantine capital of Genoa along the Val Trebbia. In 614, the hermit monk Columban arrived from Ireland and founded a Benedictine monastery on the land he was given by Lombard King Agilulf and Queen Theodolinda. The monastery grew in importance, even obtaining its own diocese, until Napoleon suppressed it in 1803. The abbey was part of Pavia province until 1923, when it came under the control of Piacenza.

What to see

A natural starting point is the iconic Devil’s Bridge, one of the most interesting structures in the region. It may be Roman in origin, although it certainly existed in the Longobard period, for there were once salt pans and a furnace beyond it. Its 11 assorted arches marching across the River Trebbia are all made of stone with some refurbishments and baroque superstructures. While taking in the bridge’s eccentric lines, you can also admire the town and its setting from the far end.

Next, hop over to the place that made Bobbio’s name: the abbey. Founded by Benedictine monk St Columban, it was originally built where the castle now stands and was moved to its current site in the 9th century by Abbot Agilulf. The current basilica was built over the Proto-Romanesque one in the 15th and 16th centuries. The two most eye-catching features are St Columban’s tomb in the crypt and the original mosaic floor of Agilulf’s basilica, a real prayer carpet for the faithful, depicting biblical scenes and the months of the year. It is very much a place of deep peace. From Piazza San Colombano, head for the 14th-century Malaspina-Dal Verme castle, whose imposing square gatehouse dominates the town. Thence to the Bishop’s tower, a medieval relic.

Make sure you visit the town’s arcade-lined little hub, Piazza Duomo, and Santa Maria Assunta cathedral, whose façade dates back to 1463, while the two side towers are originals from 1075. The interior is in a mix of styles from the neo-Gothic-Byzantine of the aisles to the 14th-century frescoes. The Abbey Museum, on the site of the ancient scriptorium, immerses you in the worlds of the Romans, Longobards and Carolingians, with exhibits about both the monastery and the city.

The 13th-century Franciscan monastery with its 16th-century cloister, the Queen Theodolinda palace, Ocelli Mill, the 13th-century Palazzo Brugnatelli, and the ancient town of San Giuseppe with its stone buildings from the 1100s are all yours to explore. And don’t leave without visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Aid, a baroque church with a nave added in 1640 to the original 15th-century structure.

What to do

Spring
– Walk at least the first stage of the Abbots’ Way.
– Visit the ​​Veleia Romana archaeological site or the Regional Park of Stirone and Piacenziano.
Summer
– Take a refreshing plunge into the clear waters of the River Trebbia and sunbathe on its many quiet little beaches.
– Explore the Upper Val Trebbia on foot, by bike, by raft or on horseback.
Autumn
– Go hunting for mushrooms, truffles and chestnuts, and enjoy the various festivals dedicated to them.
– Visit the Ethnographic Museum of the Trebbia Valley in Callegari and the valley’s castles.
Winter
– Penice Pass: The joys of a day in the snow can last well into the evening, courtesy of the excellent lighting system.
– Cross-country skiing on the 7.5-, 5-, 3- or 2-km trails in the resort of Vallette.

Events

Bobbio Film Festival – See which film will win the Gobbo d’Oro prize at this prestigious event in the Abbey’s charming cloister.
The Snail festival and Christmas market, December – Enjoy the games and children’s entertainment browse the lively stalls selling Christmas gifts along the streets and try the famous Bobbio snails, a Christmas Eve speciality, in the restaurants.

Food and Wine

In Val Trebbia, good traditional local food is always on the menu. Try the sausage appetizer with 3 PDO products (bacon, salami and coppa or pork neck), a trio of first courses in the form of Bobbio maccheroni, malfatti (small gnocchi baked with ricotta and chard) and pine nuts with ricotta, a brace of second courses with Bobbio snails and brachettone (a pork-shoulder salami served cooked with polenta or legumes). All washed down with one of the over 20 DOC Colli Piacentini wines, naturally. And the almond brittle baskets for afters are quite something, too. Browsing among the old town’s shops, you’ll find an array of local salami, truffles and porcini mushrooms to take home.

Famous Characters

St Columban – The Abbey founder was recently made a saint by Pope Benedict XVI. Columban was a true European, acknowledging the continent’s cultural unity by coining the phrase “throughout Europe”, in Latin “totius Europae”. He is also the patron saint of motorcyclists, and bikers are indeed frequent visitors to the town.
Marco Bellocchio – The artist from Piacenza was one of Italy’s most renowned filmmakers and film producers. He created the Farecinema lab in 1995, which by 2005 had developed into the Bobbio Film Festival.

Pilgrim paths and walking trails

The first stage in Emilia-Romagna of the Abbots’ Way begins in Bobbio.

Pilgrims along the Via Francigena – Bobbio

Monumental Trees

Nature lovers will enjoy these fine ancient trees:
– The plane tree in St Francis Square, Bobbio
– The oak in Cascina Stavello, Vaccarezza, Bobbio

The [Emilia Romagna Villages] section is dedicated to Villages that are part of the Associations Borghi più belli d’Italia, Bandiere Arancioni del Touring Club & Borghi autentici d’Italia.


Discover the village of Bobbio, a jewel in Emilia Romagna

Bobbio is an Italian town of 3.544 inhabitants in the province of Piacenza, in the Trebbia valley, in Emilia-Romagna. The territory, inhabited since the Neolithic with Celto-Ligurian settlements, became Roman in 14 BC and in the 4th century the fortified village of Castrum Bobium was formed, but its history is identical to that of the Abbey of San Colombano founded in 614.

Throughout the Middle Ages it had a political, religious and cultural role of European significance, and its royal and imperial feudal possessions, since the Lombard and Carolingian ages, ranged in vast areas of central and northern Italy. On February 14, 1014 it had the title of City, becoming Diocese, Episcopal County, Municipality and encircling walls first independent as Imperial fiefdom, a short parenthesis as Lordship of the Malaspina, then under the Duchy of Milan as the autonomous imperial county of the Dal Verme, and finally in the Kingdom of Sardinia under the Savoy. Free commune from the beginning of the XII century, it fought with the Lombard League against Barbarossa in Legnano. Genoese province until the unification of Italy, until 1923 it was part of the province of Pavia, then passed to the province of Piacenza. It was a bishopric until 1986.

The city is home to the new Union of Municipalities: the Trebbia and Luretta Valleys Mountain Union. It is a tourist destination known for its past of art and culture. The historic center has kept intact the characteristics of the medieval village. The symbol of the town is the Ponte Gobbo (or Ponte del Diavolo), a stone bridge of Roman origin, which crosses the Trebbia river with 11 irregular arches. It dominates the Sanctuary of Santa Maria in Monte Penice, which is located on the top of the homonymous mountain.

The history of this small center is lost in the mists of time, in fact, the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but becomes an important center starting from the Roman colonization when the portion of the bridge now known as the Ponte Gobbo is built, to become in the early Middle Ages one of the most important centers of western monasticism. In fact, just in Bobbio, the Irish monk San Colombano founded a monastery which in a short time developed one of the most important and prestigious libraries of all Christianity and where some of the most ancient and valuable Latin manuscripts in history are still preserved today.

Bobbio is a small town, but the density of art and culture that you will find is something unique and you will fall in love with the cobbled streets and brick buildings of this medieval town.

Bobbio is perfect to visit in any season of the year: in winter the city is often whitewashed by snow, offering a magical and fascinating atmosphere in spring and summer the luxuriant nature of the Apennines gives their best by offering a fresh refuge from the heat of the Po Valley, autumn, finally, gives the woods around the town an incredible variety of colors ranging from coppery to red for panoramas truly breathtaking.

Let’ see in detail the wonders of this beautiful medieval village!

Ponte Gobbo

Ponte Gobbo (also called Ponte Vecchio or Ponte del Diavolo) is an ancient bridge with an irregular profile, which crosses the Trebbia river in Bobbio in the province of Piacenza, and is the symbol of Bobbio.

Ponte Vecchio di Bobbio, 273 meters long, has been called Ponte Gobbo for the particular irregular profile with 11 unequal arches between them and placed at different heights.

This bridge, of Roman origin, is formed by 11 long irregular arches that give it an original and suggestive appearance, which is also at the origin of the legends about its name. In fact, it is said that the bridge was built with this aspect by the devil himself to frighten the monks of the monastery of San Colombano and prevent them from crossing the river.

There are three pairs of shrines or crosses above the main spans. In the two above the main arch (called della Spessa) there are two statues, which represent San Colombano and the Madonna dell’Aiuto.

The period of construction of the Ponte Vecchio, called hunchback for the irregularity and the hump of its arches, cannot be dated, but dates back to Roman times and it can be assumed that it arose after the Roman conquest of the then Ligurian-Celtic village it underwent numerous remakes in the following ages.

Traces of an older bridge below have been found which may be considered high medieval, prior to the arrival of San Colombano. The building above dates back to the seventh centuryby. In the Bobiense Historical Archives, there is a document dated 6 April 1196 which testifies to the maintenance of the bridge.

For the settlement of Bobbio, it was vital to have a secure connection with the various activities on the right bank of the Trebbia: the thermal salt pans, the Roman and Longobard thermal baths, the furnace of the Rio Gambado and the road connecting with the Genoese and the Lunigiana (where the Bobbian monastery had numerous possessions). Due to the torrential nature, the Trebbia has sudden and devastating floods with frequent movement of the gravel bed, which makes wading problematic especially in the winter months.

Until the 16th century, the bridge was composed of a few arches, a large arch on the right bank of the Trebbia with three smaller arches. The floods of the river over the years have inflicted several wounds on the stone bridge, which was always patiently rebuilt even with substantial modifications to improve its safety and robustness.

Around 1590, it began to be extended towards the left bank, designed by the master Magnano from Parma, during the seventeenth century the bridge came to have eleven arches.

For centuries, the bridge was a destination for pilgrims and religious processions with blessings with the construction of crosses and votive images near the banks (today some of them are still visible).

Abbey of San Colombano

The abbey of San Colombano is one of the most important monastic centers in Europe, the last founded in Italy by San Colombano in 614 in Bobbio, in the province of Piacenza. Subjected to his monastic rule and the order of San Colombano, he became a Benedictine around the ninth century.

The abbey throughout the Middle Ages was one of the most important monastic centers in Europe. The whole complex is made up of the Basilica, the Cloister, the Gardens, the cells and the scriptorium.

At the moment, the basilica is a parish of the vicariate of Bobbio, Alta Val Trebbia, Aveto and Oltre Penice of the diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio. It rises in the center of the town which formed over time around the vast area occupied by the monastery.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the abbey was one of the most important monastic centers in Europe, making it a Montecassino in northern Italy between the seventh and twelfth centuries in fact it is made famous by the Scriptorium, whose catalog, in 982, included over 700 codices and which after dispersion in other libraries preserved 25 of the 150 oldest manuscripts of Latin literature in the world.

It became the abbey of the monastic order whose power extended in Europe thanks to numerous abbeys and monasteries founded by its monks since the Lombard era. In northern Italy the monastic fiefdom of Bobbio was quickly created, then replaced by the “episcopal county of Bobbio”.

The current abbey complex dates back, therefore, to the end of the 15th-early 16th century: only partially has the structure of the ancient proto-Romanesque basilica been preserved, of which a short section of the circular apse, part of the bell tower and a portion of the splendid mosaic floor only the area of the refectory remains of the 11th century monastery, now occupied by the City Museum.

In the Napoleonic era, the Abbey was suppressed and many of its assets, including the precious codes, were put up for auction.

Today, what remains of the ancient heritage of the Bobbiense codes, is preserved in various libraries: the Ambrosian Library of Milan, the Vatican Library of Rome, the National Library of Turin and others.

The cloister and the corridor of the abbey are open every day until 20 in the winter and 22 in the summer.

Religious services are held there only on holidays. The annual festival is November 23, the feast of the patron saint of Bobbio.

Today the Abbey is home to the City Museum.

Malaspina Castle

The Malaspina Dal Verme di Bobbio Castle is a fortified structure consisting of several buildings enclosed within the internal stone walls. The fort is accessed from two entrances, both located to the north.

The entrance hall leads to the “Sala delle Marine” and to a lounge with a large stone fireplace surmounted by the arms of the Dal Verme family. On the wall along the staircase leading to the upper floors, there is a detached fresco, referable to the 16th century, depicting a Madonna and Child.

In 1360, Galeazzo Visconti donated the Malaspina Castle from Verme to his daughter-in-law Isabella of France, wife of her son Gian Galeazzo. We will have to wait until 1436 to witness the passage of the castle among the assets of the Dal Verme counts.

The current structure of the castle seems to be due to the will of one of his descendants, Pietro Dal Verme, who intervened in the mid-fifteenth century.

The transformation of the ancient, austere manor into an elegant residence, which the sources date back to 1545, is due to Gian Maria Dal Verme himself. A substantial campaign of works should go back to the middle and slightly beyond the sixteenth century. In fact, the difference in level between the current access and the support surface of the scarp wall, about 3 meters high, may suggest that some rooms that were no longer viable were originally present on the ground floor.

In 1973, interventions were carried out which entailed the reconstruction of all the plasters, the floors, the roof, the consolidation of the structures and part of the staircase. The Malaspina dal Verme di Bobbio Castle is a state-owned asset managed directly by the Superintendency for architectural and landscape heritage for the provinces of Parma and Piacenza.

Today the castle can be visited by the tower from which to admire a breathtaking view of the Val Trebbia.

Museum of the City

Located in the premises of the former refectory, kitchen, hand basin and cellar of the San Colombano monastery, the City Museum offers an introductory path to the history of the Abbey and the city of Bobbio. The setting, with multimedia audiovisual workstations, addresses issues related to the life of San Colombano, the activity of the Scriptorium, the history of monasticism and tells the main stages that have characterized the history of the city.

In addition to restoring the monastery’s oldest rooms to public use, the City Museum traces the history of one of the most important centers of culture and spirituality in medieval Europe and prepares for a visit to the abbey and the city of Bobbio.

The museum layout, made up of transparent displays, in which the issues related to the life and work of San Colombano are addressed, the geopolitical situation of Longobard Italy and the activity of the famous Scriptorium has been transferred to the monastery corridor.

Above the entrance portal there is a warning of the rule of San Colombano: Ne quid nimis (nothing too much, no excess) which reminded the monks of being parks towards food. On the upper sides of the portal there are two apotropaic heads, one original from the XIII century, the other opposite in copy.

The first section is dedicated to the life and works of San Colombano, to relations with the Lombard court and ties with Ireland while in the second room the abbey complex is described from an architectural point of view and the activity of the scriptorium that he made di Bobbio the largest center for the diffusion of culture in northern Italy.

Inside, you can admire a wonderful 12th century terracotta decoration, the remarkable almost intact recovered floor, and a 15th century fresco depicting the Crucifixion with San Colombano and San Benedetto.

The museum layout has recently been renewed: it is possible to enjoy an introductory video on the city of Bobbio in an immersive environment.

Cathedral of Bobbio

The cathedral of Bobbio or co-cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, is a parish church of Bobbio in the province of Piacenza, cathedral until 1986 of the diocese of Bobbio, subsequently, until 1989, co-cathedral of the archdiocese of Genoa-Bobbio, now co-cathedral of the diocese. Piacenza-Bobbio and seat of the vicariate of Bobbio, Alta Val Trebbia, Aveto and Oltre Penice.

It rises in the center of the urban fabric of the town, which formed little by little around the vast area between the Abbey of San Colombano and the Piazza del Duomo: it is the medieval village called “intrinsic village”, today’s historical center, which retained the original name of Bobium.

It has a modern decoration in the three naves and an eighteenth-century one in the presbytery and in the dome of the transept. In the chapel of San Giovanni, which is accessed from the right transept, you can admire a wonderful fresco from the second half of the fifteenth century, depicting the Annunciation.

In addition to the cathedral church, the complex of the cathedral is made up of various buildings, the Episcopal Palace with the Diocesan Museum of the Cathedral, the gardens and the oratory, and the Old seminary which today houses the historical Archives of Bobiense with the seventeenth-century cloister.

Adjacent to the cathedral, there is the 11th century bishop’s palace which houses the Cathedral Museum.

The exhibition runs through ten rooms, with works that illustrate the history of the diocese of Bobbio, the episcopal palace and the cathedral. The entrance hall tells the story of the diocese through maps, documents and testimonies of the last bishop Msgr. Pietro Zuccarino. The next room, on whose walls you can admire the large fresco with portraits of the bishops of Bobbio, houses pastoral and episcopal vestments. In the third room, the treasure of the Cathedral is exposed, consisting of wooden carvings, silverware and fabrics.

The itinerary includes the fresco room (room IV) which houses an eighteenth-century mural painting depicting the Adoration of the Magi, the room of the Archive (room V) which preserves the original wooden furniture intact and the bishop’s chapel with a painting by Domenico Buonviso of 1624 (VI room). Testimony of popular belief are the reliquaries displayed in the adjoining room (VII room), while the last rooms are dedicated respectively to furnishings from the parishes of the diocese (VIII room) and pictorial works (IX room). The tour ends with a room dedicated to Sant’Antonio Maria Gianelli with documents and synodal acts that belonged to him (X room).

The cathedral is open every day with continuous hours.

Monastery of San Francesco

The monastery of San Francesco, together with its church, is a former ecclesiastical building in Bobbio in the province of Piacenza.

It stands near the hamlet of Corgnate (ant. Codognarum), once outside the center of the urban fabric of the town, as for the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Aiuto: it is the medieval village called “extrinsic village”, next to the today’s historic center, which retained the original name of “Bobium”.

The facade of the church opens in the homonymous Piazza San Francesco, next to the tourist office and the new public parking.

The monastery of San Francesco and the church were built around 1230, in fact the construction would have started on a land donated by the monks of San Colombano to the same San Francesco who came to Bobbio to make peace to one of the numerous disputes that arose between abbot of the monastery and the bishop of Bobbio, on the ancient monastic land attributions.

In a document of 1756, the ancient existence of a church and a small monastery with a cell-dormitory occupied by Saint Francis himself is mentioned. What without exact historical documentation is traditionally remembered as the “passage of St. Francis of Assisi to Bobbio”, could prove less imaginative given the actual fulfillment of a journey by the saint to northern Italy between 1210-12.

The works ended in 1233 and Bobbio is the oldest Franciscan settlement in the north of Italy, built in a city of enormous monastic fame and a destination for pilgrimages along the Via Francigena and the Via degli Abati. In 1436, the monastery of Santa Chiara, now the municipal seat, and the hospital of San Lazzaro destroyed in 1472 will also rise in the Franciscan town.

The monastic complex was surrounded by mighty walls, demolished in 1800 after the monastic suppression

In the 15th century the monastery, which remained until now independent, passed to the congregation of the minor friars of Bologna.

In 1710 the church underwent significant changes and was re-consecrated in 1722.

In 1783 there was the passage to the minor friars of Turin.

The monastic building was occupied by the Napoleons in 1802, after the Franciscan monks were expelled the church underwent considerable changes becoming a warehouse.

Subsequently, the Marquis Malaspina acquired the entire complex by renovating it.

The cloister of the fifteenth century is suggestive, supported on three sides by squat pillars which support four spans on each side covered by cross vaults, above which runs a loggia with a wooden roof with columns with medieval capitals.

There is currently a private architectural recovery project for the monastic part, while the church was donated by the owners to the municipality. For the church there is currently a project of architectural recovery and transformation into a city auditorium.

Sanctuary of Santa Maria in Monte Penice

The ancient sanctuary of Santa Maria in Monte Penice is located at the summit of Mount Penice at 1,460 m., Is a non-parish ecclesiastical building in the municipality of Bobbio in the province of Piacenza, on the border with the province of Pavia. Dedicated to the Madonna, it dates back to a primitive seventh century building then enlarged several times. Located in a particularly panoramic point, from its square you can enjoy a wide view not only on the Trebbia valley and the Staffora valley, but on the entire Emilia and Pavia area and on particular days even the snow-covered Alps are visible.

The summit of Mount Penice can be reached by means of a road about 4 km long, which climbs from the Penice pass to 1149 m., Where the provincial road former state road 461 of the Passo del Penice (Bobbio-Voghera) passes. The location can also be reached through the Val Tidone via the former state road 412 of the Val Tidone (Castel San Giovanni-Romagnese-Passo Penice).

Its origins are lost over the centuries. Historical sources attest that on this peak the Madonna has been venerated for more than 1350 years, for a promise made by Saint Colombanus to the queen of the Lombards Theodolinda in the seventh century. From the Lombard rulers the Irish missionary saint had the territory on which he founded the abbey of San Colombano in 614. It appears that the building was built on a Celtic-Ligurian pagan temple.

In fact, an artifact dating back to the I-II century was found, now preserved in Genoa in the castle of Montegalletto. The artefact is a 96 mm bronze statuette depicting a priest offering a pagan deity.

In 622 the Lombard king Adaloaldo, who took over from his father Agilulfo, with his mother Teodolinda who came to Bobbio to visit Colombano’s tomb, went up to the top of Mount Penice in prayer, before going down to the city.

In the 11th century, the sanctuary already exists in its present size. The church has the ancient title of Mother of God which later became “Santa Maria in Monte Penice” or more commonly “Madonna del Penice”.

In 1073 the original building was renewed, and other restoration works date back to 1619

For centuries the sanctuary belonged to the numerous possessions of the monastery of San Colombano, together with the parishes of San Cristoforo, Dezza and Ceci then until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when it passed to the diocese of Bobbio becoming the main Marian cult center of the area.

In the early 1900s the front porch was built (a postcard owned by the Diocesan historical archive Piacenza – Bobbio dated 1904 still shows the church without a portico), while the statue of the Redeemer was placed on October 14, 1900 the new bell tower was built in 1967. On September 12, 1927 the 3 km carriage road that leads to the summit from the Penice pass was completed.

The stone building has undergone several renovations. In recent years it has been completely renovated: on the outside you can admire the exposed stone, inside the structure has recently returned to its original splendor. New the altar and the ambo. The sacristy was also recovered and the premises used for the public were redone. Inside the building you can admire the precious wooden statue of the Virgin with the Child on her lap which dates back to the period between the end of the 1500s and the beginning of the 1600s. Also worthy of note is the statue of San Bartolomeo, original from the 18th century .

In 2009, by the rector Don Angiolino Bulla, the interior of the church was decorated with precious oriental icons.

The summit of the mountain and the sanctuary are the destination of numerous excursions both on foot and on horseback, once but also to this day they were processions of pilgrims. There is also an ancient, largely dirt track that climbs from Bobbio called the medieval path to the Sanctuary of Monte Penice.


Bobbio

Bobbio is situated on the left bank of river Trebbia, in an area rich in water and settlements since the Neolithic era.

The numerous finds testify the presence of various populations: Ligurians, Celts and after 14 B.C. the Romans.
The nucleus of Bobium rose in 14 B.C. but its history is inextricably linked to the one of the Abbey of San Colombano founded by the cenobite monk Columbanus who reached it in 614 when it received this territory as a gift from the Langobard King Agilulf.

It was a donation of great political significance as Bobbio controlled the great caravan route, the salt road, that from Piacenza, along the Valtrebbia reaches Genoa - a cornerstone of the Byzantines. In Bobbio, Columbanus found only a small-dilapidated church, dedicated to Saint Peter, and decided to restore it. The convent rapidly became populated: already in 643 it counted 150 monks. The first houses inhabited by citizens rose around it.

The Abbey of Bobbio, with its schools, its library, his Scriptorium and its economic organization, quickly became a political power too. Bobbio possessed goods in Valtrebbia, Val Staffora, Val Tidone, val d'Aveto, in the Liguria region, Monferrato and the Langhe, and arrived also at the gates of Turin, around Lake Garda, from Salò to Bardolino, on the Lakes of Mantua, in Piacenza, Ravenna, Genoa, Lucca and Pavia. A rich feud in which the manorial system reached its perfection.

The area, on which the inhabited part develops, is bordered by the River Trebbia and dominated by the Sanctuary of Madonna del Penice, which is located on the namesake mountain. The heart of the village has maintained the medieval architecture perfectly intact.
The symbol of the village is Ponte Gobbo (or the Devil&rsquos bridge), entirely built in stone in Roman times, with a particular profile consisting of 11 irregular arches. The bridge connects the village to the other side of the river and from it, with a brief and suggestive walk on its 'bumps', you can admire the profile of the village, the Monte Penice and the territory surrounding the Trebbia.

In the shops of the old town centre, you can find many typical products of the area, from local wines to jams or organic honey produced by local companies. But also a wide choice of local meats or sweets and bakery products such as tasty salty donuts or the famous almond cake, or even the fragrant porcini mushrooms picked on the surrounding mountains and the truffles. Instead, for those who are looking for a handicraft souvenir in Contrada dell&rsquoOspedale you will find the workshops of carpenters and local artists where you can find artefacts or paintings depicting picturesque corners of the city.

In addition to being rich in art and culture, Bobbio boasts a long series of typical local dishes (that represent the culinary tradition of Piacenza) that have been handed down from many generations, and represent another typical feature of the socio-cultural melting pot that benefited from during the centuries. You should taste the maccheroni alla bobbiese, fresh pasta handmade by using a knitting needle dressed with a stew sauce. The snails alla bobbiese, traditional Christmas Eve dish that you can often find in the winter period and the delicious brittle made with almonds and sugar with which the skilled hands of local producers know how to make surprising shapes. And also pine nuts with ricotta or pìn (in dialect pé da lésa: slide foot, for the typical shape), green gnocchetti with ricotta cheese, traditionally served with a mushroom sauce brachettone alla bobbiese (bràcton, a stuffed pig&rsquos trotter made with pork shoulder, pickled or aged).

Village of Bobbio
Municipality of Bobbio
Province of Piacenza
Emilia-Romagna Region

Inhabitants: 3.577
Surface area: 106.53 sq. Km
Altitude center: 272 m a.s.l.

The Municipality is part of:
I Borghi più belli d'Italia

Acknowledgments
Orange Flag - Italian Touring Club

Municipality of Bobbio
Piazza San Francesco - 29022 Bobbio PC
phone +39 0523962815

Patronal feast
San Colombano - November 23rd


Abbey of Bobbio: photos, description Abbazia di San Colombano)

The Abbey of Bobbio, is also known as San Colombano, was founded by the Irish Holy Columbanus in 614, the year. Around it soon sprang up the town of Bobbio, province of Piacenza in the Italian region Emilia-Romagna). In his time the Abbey was known as a center of resistance to Arianism, and also because of its huge library. It is here that the unfolding events of the legendary novel by Umberto Eco "the name of the rose".

In 590, the year the Lombards king Agilulf married a Catholic Theodelinda and under her influence, and with the participation of the Holy Columban, made the decision about the transition to Christianity. For the sacrament of Agilulf gave Columbano ruined Church and devastated the earth in the town of Abovian Holy asked it is a remote and secluded place to live alone. Near the small Church of San Pietro was soon built a monastery, which after the death colombana had to go through a period of violent resistance to Arianism current in the Christian faith, asserted the supremacy of the Lord-the Son (in the middle of the 7th century). Thanks to the efforts of local monks, every year more and more of the Lombards-ariantsev converted to Catholicism. The fame of the Abbey had reached the shores of Ireland, and the reputation colombana and founded brainchild has attracted in Italy many of his followers. Only in 1803, the year the Abbey of Bobbio was abolished during the reign of Napoleon.

The current Basilica of San Colombano was built in 1456-1530, respectively, in the Renaissance style. It holds the baptismal font in the 9th century. The Central nave is decorated with frescoes of the artist of the 16th century Bernardino Lanzani, and installed in the crypt the sarcophagus with the relics of St. Columban and the first two abbots. Here, in the crypt, deserves the attention of the mosaic floor of the 12th century.

The bell tower of the late 9th century, and a smaller apse of the Church belonged to a more ancient structure of the Romanesque period. Torre del Comune built together with the Basilica in the 15th century.


Abbey and Diocese of Bobbio

The diocese (Ebovium, or Bobium Dioecesis Eboviensis, or Bobiensis), which is suffragan to the Archiepiscopal See of Genoa, is coterminous with the civil district of Bobbio. This district is situated in the Province of Pavia and contains, besides Bobbio, its chief town, only two small villages and eighteen communes. The diocese was suppressed from 1803 to 1817, during which time it was annexed to Alexandria, then to Casala. Pius VII re-established it in 1818. Under Bishop Antonio Gianelli a congregation of priests was formed in 1839 under the title of Oblates of St. Alphonsus Liguori. They devote themselves especially to hearing confessions in prisons and hospitals, as well as to spreading good literature among the people. Bobbio also possesses a Congregation of Daughters of Mary, popularly known as Gianelliane.

HISTORY

The origin of the See of Bobbio, indeed of the town itself, is due to the establishment of a monastery here by the Irish saint, Columban, in 614. The Lombards, with other savage tribes, had invaded northern Italy under their leader Alboin in 568. A half-Arian, half-heathen horde, wherever they passed all the horrors of wanton destruction and cruelty marked their track. But at length the new barbarian ruler Agilulph, became less hostile and by degrees even not unfavorably disposed towards the Catholic Faith. Queen Theodelinda, whom he married in 590, was a fervent Catholic she had wonderful influence over her consort, and at last he was converted by the preaching of Columban. From the day of his baptism, Agilulph displayed great zeal for the conversion of his subjects, and for this purpose gave St. Columban a ruined church and devastated district known as Ebovium, which, before the Lombards seized it, had formed part of the Patrimony of St. Peter. Columban had set his heart on this secluded place, for while intent on instructing the Lombards he chose solitude for his monks and himself. By the side of this little church, which was dedicated to St. Peter, soon arose the walls of an abbey. Here the nucleus of what was to be the most celebrated library in Italy was formed by the Mss. which Columban had brought from Ireland and the treatises of which he himself was the author.

The sainted founder of Bobbio was laid to rest (23 November, 615), but his crosier passed into worthy hands. The names of St. Attala (627) and St. Bertulf (640) will live forever in ecclesiastical history. Both were conspicuous for holiness and learning, and both inherited Columban s apostolic spirit. It was indeed sorely needed, for a reaction towards Arianism set in, which became formidable under the Arian king, Rotharis (636-652). Arioald, the immediate predecessor of Rotharis, who became a Catholic, had before his conversion caused St. Bladulf, a monk of Bobbio, to be assassinated, because Bladulf would not salute him, as being an Arian. It is said that Attala restored Bladulf to life and delivered Arioald from a diabolical possession, the punishment of his crime and that this two-fold miracle led to Arioald's conversion. In 628, when St. Bertulf made a pilgrimage to Rome, Honorius I exempted Bobbio from episcopal jurisdiction, thus making the abbey immediately subject to the Holy See. Under the next abbot, Bobolen, the rule of St. Benedict was introduced. At first its observance was optional, but in e course of time it superseded the more austere rule hitherto in use, and Bobbio joined the Congregation of Monte Cassino. In 643, at the request of Rotharis and Queen Gundelberga, Pope Theodore I granted to the Abbot of Bobbio the use of the mitre and other pontificals. It has even been asserted that Bobbio had a bishop, named Peter Aldus, as early as the seventh century, but according to the best authorities (Ughelli, Gams, and others), the See of Bobbio was not founded till four centuries later, although recent investigation has shown that the name of its first bishop really was Peter Aldus (Savio, 158).

From the seventh century on, in the midst of widespread turmoil and ignorance, Bobbio remained a home of piety and culture. Through the efforts of St. Columban's disciples, increasing numbers of the Lombards were received into the Church. But during the first half of the seventh century, the large tract of country lying between Turin and Verona, Genoa and Milan, was m a very irreligious and disturbed state and even idolatry was not unknown. In fact not until the reign of the usurper Grimoald (663-673), himself a convert, was the bulk of the nation brought into the Church. But from that time Arianism disappeared in the West. The historians of the abbey regard as one of its chief glories the prominent part which it took in the final contest with this heresy. Theodelinda's nephew, the pious Arribert (653--663), restored all the lands of Bobbio which belonged by right to the Prince of the Apostles. Arribert II also gladly confirmed this restitution to John VII in 707. The unruly Lombards soon dispossessed the pope, but in 756 Aistulf was compelled by Pepin to give up the lands. In 774 Charlemagne made liberal grants to the Abbey. In 1153 Frederick Barbarossa confirmed by two charters various rights and possessions. Thus it came to pass that the abbots were for centuries entrusted with a large administration of temporals.

The fame of Bobbio reached the shores of Ireland, and the memory of Columban was dear to the hearts of his countrymen. Bobolen's successor was St. Comgall who had resigned his see in Ireland in order to become a monk of Bobbio St. Cummian who did the same died in the abbey about 730 (Holder-Egger in "Mon. Germ. Hist.") and the learned St. Dungal (d. after 827) bequeathed to the abbey his valuable library, consisting of some seventy volumes, among which was the famous "Antiphonary of Bangor ". A tenth-century catalogue, published by Muratori, shows that at that period every branch of knowledge, divine and human, was represented in this library. Many of the books have been lost, the rest have long since been dispersed and are still reckoned among the chief treasures of the later collections which possess them. In 1616 Cardinal Federigo Borromeo took for the Ambrosian Library of Milan eighty-six volumes, including the famous "Bobbio Missal", written about 911, the Antiphonary of Bangor", and the palimpsests of Ulfila's Gothic version of the Bible. Twenty-six volumes were given, in 1618, to Paul V for the Vatican Library. Many others were sent to Turin, where, besides those in the Royal Archives, there were seventy-one in the University Library until the disastrous fire of 26 January, 1904. As scholars of later ages have owed a great deal to the Bobbio manuscripts, so, too, did those of the tenth century. Gerard of Aurillac, for example, who was afterwards Pope Sylvester II, became Abbot of Bobbio in 982 and with the aid of the numerous ancient treatises which he found there he composed his celebrated work on geometry. And indeed it appears that at a time when Greek was almost unknown in western Europe, the Irish monks of Bobbio read Aristotle and Demosthenes in the original tongue.

In the year 1014, the Emperor Henry II, on the occasion of his own coronation in Rome, obtained from Benedict VIII the erection of Bobbio as a see. Peter Aldus, its first bishop, had been Abbot of Bobbio since 999, and his episcopal successors for a long time lived in the abbey, where many of them had been monks. According to Ughelli and others, Bobbio was made a suffragan see of Genoa in 1133 but Savio finds this subordination mentioned for the first time in a Bull of Alexander III, dated 19 April, 1161. From time to time disputes arose between the bishop and the monks, and in 1199 Innocent III issued two Bulls, restoring the abbey in spirituals and temporals, and empowering the bishop to depose an abbot if within a certain time he did not obey.


Attractions in Bobbio

Saint Columbanus Abbey

The Saint Columbanus abbey is a large complex but only a few areas are open to the public. The ground floor corridor, the yard, and the main cloister can be explored by visitors. The abbey is also home to the Abbey museum which has an impressive collection of artworks and objects that date back to the Renaissance, Medieval and Roman age. The Town Museum is also located in the complex.

Hills over Bobbio

Basilica of Saint Columbanus, Bobbio

The Basilica of Saint Columbanus was originally built in the 15 th century over the remains of an old 10th-century church. The interior of the basilica is extremely beautiful with nave frescoes dating back to the 16th century. There is a 15th-century gothic wooden choir, a 12th-century mosaic, a marble sarcophagus dating back to the 15th century, two marble tombstones, and a beautiful 12th-century gate.

Main Square in Bobbio

Malaspina Dal-Verme Castle

The castle was built in the 14 th century on a hill that overlooks the town. Over the centuries, the castle has been damaged many times and the remains of the castle, two small towers and the defense walls that still exist are open to visitors. The castle provides good views of the town and the surrounding landscape.

The Cathedral of Bobbio

The cathedral of Bobbio was originally built in the 11 th century and has two large towers. Much of the façade that visitors can see today dates back to the 15 th century and the three portals of the cathedral are done in the gothic style of architecture. The interior of the cathedral has three naves and beautiful 18th-century decorations. Saint John Chapel can be visited through the right transept where beautiful 15th-century frescoes of the Annunciation are done.

Stone buildings in Bobbio

The Old Bridge

The old bridge is 280 meters long and has eleven unequal arches. It is believed that the bridge dates back to the Roman age, however, it is first documented in 1196. The bridge is known by several different names, the Devil’s Bridge and the Hunchback Bridge due to its irregular shape. Several legends are attached to the origin of the bridge.

Cathedral in Bobbio

Getting to Bobbio

Bobbio is located 45 km from Piacenza. The best way to reach the town is by driving down visitors who have their own car can easily drive down to Bobbio. From Piacenza visitors can take the state highway 45 Piacenza-Genova to reach Bobbio. The landscape here is quite beautiful, the highway runs through the valley of the River and has some very beautiful views so driving down to the town is quite enjoyable. Along the road, visitors would also come across several small villages.

Moving Around the Town

Bobbio is spread over an area of 106 sq km, but most areas can be explored on foot. The churches, monuments and the important attractions are all concentrated close to the center of the town so it is easy to visit most attractions on foot. Those who have their own car can also visit the other parts of the town by car. The locals mainly use the state buses for commuting so visitors can use them as well if they do not have a car.

Stay and Accommodation

Bobbio is quite a small town and although many visitors come to the nearby Trebbia River, there aren’t many good hotels in the town. Most visitors come to Bobbia as a day excursion for Piacenza and the nearby towns and do not generally spend a night in the town. There are only a handful of farm houses and old country homes on the outskirts of the town that are available on rent to visitors. Most good hotels are located in the nearby centers of Piacenza and Pavia so visitors can stay there and visit Bobbio during the day. There are a few B&B in the town like B&B San Nicola and B&B Dar Dom where visitors can stay.

Bobbio River

Eating in Bobbio

Although there aren’t many hotels in the town, there are plenty of options in terms of restaurants and pizzerias. Bobbio has quite a lot of good places to dine out where visitors can find simple Italian dishes made from local ingredients, good quality olive oil and local cheese varieties. Good wines are available almost everywhere and there are also a few places where visitors can try traditional desserts and pastries. Some of the best restaurants in Bobbio are Ristorante II Vecchio Mulino, Entoca San Nicola, Ristorante Ra Ca Longa, Ristorante La Scarpone, Ristorante Replica and Ristorante Locanda Nobili.

Shopping in Bobbio

There are only a few places in Bobbio where visitors can shop. The local old market where visitors shop for their daily requirements is the best place to shop. There are a few good shops that sell terracotta pottery and artifacts in the older section of the town. Apart from this visitors can also purchase locally made fabrics, textiles and food items. The best things to purchase in Bobbio are cheese, olive oil and local wine.


Bible Encyclopedias

The diocese (Ebovium, or Bobium Dioecesis Eboviensis, or Bobiensis), which is suffragan to the Archiepiscopal See of Genoa, is coterminous with the civil district of Bobbio. This district is situated in the Province of Pavia and contains, besides Bobbio, its chief town, only two small villages and eighteen communes. The diocese was suppressed from 1803 to 1817, during which time it was annexed to Alexandria, then to Casala. Pius VII re-established it in 1818. Under Bishop Antonio Gianelli a congregation of priests was formed in 1839 under the title of Oblates of St. Alphonsus Liguori. They devote themselves especially to hearing confessions in prisons and hospitals, as well as to spreading good literature among the people. Bobbio also possesses a Congregation of Daughters of Mary, popularly known as Gianelliane.

The origin of the See of Bobbio, indeed of the town itself, is due to the establishment of a monastery here by the Irish saint, Columban, in 614. The Lombards, with other savage tribes, had invaded northern Italy under their leader Alboin in 568. A half-Arian, half-heathen horde, wherever they passed all the horrors of wanton destruction and cruelty marked their track. But at length the new barbarian ruler Agilulph, became less hostile and by degrees even not unfavorably disposed towards the Catholic Faith. Queen Theodelinda, whom he married in 590, was a fervent Catholic she had wonderful influence over her consort, and at last he was converted by the preaching of Columban. From the day of his baptism, Agilulph displayed great zeal for the conversion of his subjects, and for this purpose gave St. Columban a ruined church and devastated district known as Ebovium, which, before the Lombards seized it, had formed part of the Patrimony of St. Peter. Columban had set his heart on this secluded place, for while intent on instructing the Lombards he chose solitude for his monks and himself. By the side of this little church, which was dedicated to St. Peter, soon arose the walls of an abbey. Here the nucleus of what was to be the most celebrated library in Italy was formed by the Mss. which Columban had brought from Ireland and the treatises of which he himself was the author.

The sainted founder of Bobbio was laid to rest (23 November, 615), but his crosier passed into worthy hands. The names of St. Attala (627) and St. Bertulf (640) will live forever in ecclesiastical history. Both were conspicuous for holiness and learning, and both inherited Columban's apostolic spirit. It was indeed sorely needed, for a reaction towards Arianism set in, which became formidable under the Arian king, Rotharis (636-652). Arioald, the immediate predecessor of Rotharis, who became a Catholic, had before his conversion caused St. Bladulf, a monk of Bobbio, to be assassinated, because Bladulf would not salute him, as being an Arian. It is said that Attala restored Bladulf to life and delivered Arioald from a diabolical possession, the punishment of his crime and that this two-fold miracle led to Arioald's conversion. In 628, when St. Bertulf made a pilgrimage to Rome, Honorius I exempted Bobbio from episcopal jurisdiction, thus making the abbey immediately subject to the Holy See. Under the next abbot, Bobolen, the rule of St. Benedict was introduced. At first its observance was optional, but in e course of time it superseded the more austere rule hitherto in use, and Bobbio joined the Congregation of Monte Cassino. In 643, at the request of Rotharis and Queen Gundelberga, Pope Theodore I granted to the Abbot of Bobbio the use of the mitre and other pontificals. It has even been asserted that Bobbio had a bishop, named Peter Aldus, as early as the seventh century, but according to the best authorities (Ughelli, Gams, and others), the See of Bobbio was not founded till four centuries later, although recent investigation has shown that the name of its first bishop really was Peter Aldus (Savio, 158).

From the seventh century on, in the midst of widespread turmoil and ignorance, Bobbio remained a home of piety and culture. Through the efforts of St. Columban's disciples, increasing numbers of the Lombards were received into the Church. But during the first half of the seventh century, the large tract of country lying between Turin and Verona, Genoa and Milan, was in a very irreligious and disturbed state and even idolatry was not unknown. In fact not until the reign of the usurper Grimoald (663-673), himself a convert, was the bulk of the nation brought into the Church. But from that time Arianism disappeared in the West. The historians of the abbey regard as one of its chief glories the prominent part which it took in the final contest with this heresy. Theodelinda's nephew, the pious Arribert (653--663), restored all the lands of Bobbio which belonged by right to the Prince of the Apostles. Arribert II also gladly confirmed this restitution to John VII in 707. The unruly Lombards soon dispossessed the pope, but in 756 Aistulf was compelled by Pepin to give up the lands. In 774 Charlemagne made liberal grants to the Abbey. In 1153 Frederick Barbarossa confirmed by two charters various rights and possessions. Thus it came to pass that the abbots were for centuries entrusted with a large administration of temporals.

The fame of Bobbio reached the shores of Ireland, and the memory of Columban was dear to the hearts of his countrymen. Bobolen's successor was St. Comgall who had resigned his see in Ireland in order to become a monk of Bobbio St. Cummian who did the same died in the abbey about 730 (Holder-Egger in "Mon. Germ. Hist.") and the learned St. Dungal (d. after 827) bequeathed to the abbey his valuable library, consisting of some seventy volumes, among which was the famous "Antiphonary of Bangor". A tenth-century catalogue, published by Muratori, shows that at that period every branch of knowledge, divine and human, was represented in this library. Many of the books have been lost, the rest have long since been dispersed and are still reckoned among the chief treasures of the later collections which possess them. In 1616 Cardinal Federigo Borromeo took for the Ambrosian Library of Milan eighty-six volumes, including the famous "Bobbio Missal", written about 911, the Antiphonary of Bangor", and the palimpsests of Ulfila's Gothic version of the Bible. Twenty-six volumes were given, in 1618, to Paul V for the Vatican Library. Many others were sent to Turin, where, besides those in the Royal Archives, there were seventy-one in the University Library until the disastrous fire of 26 January, 1904. As scholars of later ages have owed a great deal to the Bobbio manuscripts, so, too, did those of the tenth century. Gerard of Aurillac, for example, who was afterwards Pope Sylvester II, became Abbot of Bobbio in 982 and with the aid of the numerous ancient treatises which he found there he composed his celebrated work on geometry. And indeed it appears that at a time when Greek was almost unknown in western Europe, the Irish monks of Bobbio read Aristotle and Demosthenes in the original tongue.

In the year 1014, the Emperor Henry II, on the occasion of his own coronation in Rome, obtained from Benedict VIII the erection of Bobbio as a see. Peter Aldus, its first bishop, had been Abbot of Bobbio since 999, and his episcopal successors for a long time lived in the abbey, where many of them had been monks. According to Ughelli and others, Bobbio was made a suffragan see of Genoa in 1133 but Savio finds this subordination mentioned for the first time in a Bull of Alexander III, dated 19 April, 1161. From time to time disputes arose between the bishop and the monks, and in 1199 Innocent III issued two Bulls, restoring the abbey in spirituals and temporals, and empowering the bishop to depose an abbot if within a certain time he did not obey.


Watch the video: How One Man Brought Peace To The Middle Ages. Columbanus: The Monk Who United Europe. Parable