Villages & CastlesVillages & Castles

Emilia-Romagna for kids: castles and woods in Emilia

by /// January 11, 2023
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

72 h

72 h




72 h

72 h




Are you looking for places and activities to do with the whole family between Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia?
Here is a 3-day itinerary to experience the Emilia area in a child-friendly way.

Cervarezza (RE): Cerwood Adventure Park

Our itinerary starts in the province of Reggio Emilia, inside the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines National Park; here, in addition to numerous excursions suitable for children, there is Cerwood, the largest Adventure Park in Italy (open from April to October).

Cerwood, Parco Avventura Cervarezza (RE)
Cerwood Adventure Park, Cervarezza (RE)

For the little ones, in addition to the Baby and Junior playground, the park offers 11 Adventure Trails with activities suspended among the trees up to two and a half meters above the ground (accessible above the height meter), the Dwarfs Path, an easy circular route, and the Tubby Tracks for thrilling slides with rubber dinghy.
A mountain bike rental is also available on site, to go and explore the surrounding centuries-old beech forest.

Parma: the Talking Statues and the Puppets Castle

The second stop leads us to discover the city of Parma in a very original way: it’s the Talking Teens project a special audio guide over the phone thanks to which kids will be able to discover the history of the city and its most famous personalities by receiving a phone call directly from Giuseppe Verdi, Arturo Toscanini, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Parmigianino, Correggio, and others.

Parma, statua Giuseppe Verdi Ph. Vivida Photo PC via shutterstock solo uso editoriale
Parma, the bench with the statue of Giuseppe Verdi Ph. Vivida Photo PC via shutterstock solo uso editoriale

The complete itinerary includes 16 statues, located in the squares of the city (here’s the map); once you arrive at the place where the statue is located, you can choose to receive the call in 3 ways:
1. dialing the telephone number shown on the license plate;
2. by scanning the QR code;
3. by downloading the App (for iOS or for Android).
The phone call, lasting approximately 2-3 minutes, is available in Italian or English; you can also receive a video call in LIS, the Italian sign language.

After a walk in the city, a recommended stop with children in Parma is the Castello dei Burattini (Puppets Castle), one of the most important collections in Italy dedicated to animation theater, which is located on the ground floor of the former monastery of Saint Paul.
The museum itinerary, with free admission, is made up of 5 rooms, in which you can observe marionettes and puppets, but also playbills, posters, scenographic devices, and scripts that the Parmesan puppeteer Giordano Ferrari has collected in over sixty years of activity.

Boschi di Carrega Park: ampoule treasure hunt

A few kilometers from Parma there is a small forest known and used since the Farnese era, the Boschi di Carrega Regional Park. Here, among oak and chestnut woods, meadows & small artificial ponds, it’s possible to go hunting for Blowing in the Woods ampoules.

Parco dei Boschi di Carrega, Blowing in the woods Ph. VisitEmilia
Parco dei Boschi di Carrega, Blowing in the woods Ph. VisitEmilia

More or less hidden around the woods, hanging from the trees, there are in fact numerous little bottles; once found, it will be possible to extract the sheet they contain and discover for each one the message they hold – a message dedicated to nature, biodiversity and respect for the environment.

Fontanellato: the Masone Labyrinth

Moving to the next stop towards the north-west, we reach Fontanellato and the Labirinto della Masone, the largest labyrinth in the world, designed by Franco Maria Ricci and made entirely with bamboo plants of 20 different species, between 30 cm and 15 mt high.

The route is over 3 km long and allows adults and children to experience an adventure worthy of Alice in Wonderland.

Fontanellato, Labirinto della Masone Ph. @oissela_93
Fontanellato, Labirinto della Masone Ph. @oissela_93

In the heart of the labyrinth, there are some buildings with fascinating architecture where the artworks collected by Franco Maria Ricci during his life are on display: a journey through the History of Art spanning over 5 centuries, with works ranging from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth century.

Castell’Arquato: the Fortress of the Knights

The itinerary continues in the province of Piacenza, to reach a place that seems to have come out of a legend or an adventure film with ladies and knights. We’re talking about the village and castle of Castell’Arquato, whose fortified profile, full of towers, bell towers & crenelated walls, stands out over the surrounding area.

It’s no coincidence that this fortress was chosen as one of the sets of the famous film Ladyhawke. But the village is also one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy as well as one of the Italian Touring Club’s Orange Flag villages.

Castell'Arquato Ph. Colombo Nicola via shutterstock
Castell’Arquato Ph. Colombo Nicola via shutterstock

Here, a walk through the alleys of the village up to the monumental square overlooked by the Palazzo del Podestà, the Collegiate Church and the imposing Rocca Viscontea is a must. The view that can be enjoyed from the high keep alone is worth the visit to the Fortress, but inside there’s also a Museum of Medieval Life, with models of war machines and a reconstructed weapons room.

Gropparello Castle: the Park of Fairy Tales

The last stop on our child-friendly Emilian itinerary is the Castle of Gropparello, a medieval fortification immersed in the Vezzeno valley, built on a rocky promontory of volcanic origin.

In this scenic manor, surrounded by crenelated walls and dominated by two towers (the entrance one with a drawbridge and the mighty central keep), according to legend, the ghost of Rosania Fulgosio still roams today.

Castello di Gropparello via facebook | Ph. @donnavagabonda
Gropparello Castle | Ph. @donnavagabonda via facebook

Inside the park of the Gropparello Castle there’s the Parco delle Fiabe (Park of the Fairy Tales), a place specially designed to make children experience the magical atmosphere of fairy tales, among knights, fairies, elves and witches. Here, accompanied by costumed guides, the children are involved in medieval fairy-tale imagery, moving along paths, small hidden gardens and clearings.

Inside the park, there are also the Vezzeno Gorge and the Museum of the Rising Rose.


Elisa Mazzini

Social Media Manager for @inEmiliaRomagna and full-time mom.

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