“Once upon a time there was a small village called Brescello.We continue the story always the same and always different, because the story of the priest Don Camillo and of the mayor Peppone is always the same: Brescello seen from the right is the village of Don Camillo, seen from the left is the town of Peppone, seen from above is of the people who quarrel without ever being enemies, so much so that the conscience always has the last word.”
from Il Compagno Don Camillo, by Giovannino Guareschi
Brescello is a must for villages and literature lovers. In fact, we’re talking about the place where all the adventures of Don Camillo and Peppone are set.
Brescello is a small and quaint village, survived to numerous floods and battles, which unfortunately erased many of the evocative buildings of the Este era and previous ones.
Built by the population of the Galli Cenomani, Brescello was conquered by the Romans, who renamed it Brixellum. Destroyed by the Lombards after the fall of the Roman Empire, it then passed under the Byzantine domination and, later, under the Este Family, which governed it until 1859.
What to see
The village encloses the evocative Piazza Matteotti, the beating heart of the village’s life. Even more suggestive is to retrace the places of the “Piccolo Mondo” saga, the one of Don Camillo and Peppone.
Giovannino Guareschi has given a place in Italian literature to this small village in Emilia, immortalizing the Italian lifestyle after World War II, with all its contradictions. The perennial ideological clash between the communist comrade Peppone and the intransigent priest Don Camillo is the real star of Guareschi’s novels and movies.
All the buildings and locations of the films can be visited: from the house where Peppone shows his newborn son, to the railway station, to the Virgin Mary’s statue shown in one of the first films. Even the symbolic objects of the set can be visited: the locomotive, the bell that falls on Peppone, the tank and a sculpted bust as a tribute to Giovannino Guareschi.
The community of Brescello is committed to enhancing its literary part, perhaps the most famous, but activities and beauty in the village are not lacking. In addition to the two museums regarding the Piccolo Mondo (the Peppone and Don Camillo Museum and the Brescello and Guareschi Museum), there is also the Archaeological Museum.
What to eat in Brescello
Brescello’s culinary tradition is made of traditional country dishes, rich in flavor.
Among the first courses, the great pasta classics stand out: tortelli, tortelloni and fresh pasta.
The second courses are mainly based on red meat, but roast meats of guinea fowl, pheasant and rabbit are also noteworthy.
The single courses are born from the culinary (and geographic) intersection of Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia. They are nourishing and simple: polenta and melted cheeses (in particular Parmigiano Reggiano), fried dumpling with salumi.
The typical dessert of Brescello is the Spongata, a soft cake ideal accompanied by a glass of Lambrusco wine or Moscato sweet wine.
How to reach Brescello
Brescello is located in the Po Valley, in the province of Reggio Emilia, about 27 km from the city on the banks of the river Enza.
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