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BOBBIO AND ST. COLUMBA

Description

Located on the left bank of the Trebbia River , in an area inhabited since prehistoric times, Bobbio is the most important town of the valley, it is a  river beach tourist resort and ski resort thanks to its proximity to Mount Penice.

Its history is identified with that of the Abbey of Saint Columba, founded in 614, which in the Middle Ages became one of the main seats of religious and medieval culture in Italy, with a famous scriptorium and library. Following the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, the town was annexed to Pavia and only in 1923 it was returned in the province of Piacenza.

The area of Bobbio was already populated in the Stone Age and was subsequently inhabited by Ligurian settlements. After the Gauls  Bobbio entered in to Roman hands. The city's name derives from the stream that flows south from the village. In 614, the Irish monk Columba arrives in Bobbio with his disciples, when Agilulfo - Lombard king - donated the area to them. Here Columba finds only a small church in ruins, dedicated to St. Peter, and starts restoring it. Columba is 70, tired and possibly ill: he dies on 23rd November 615 and his disciples bury him in St. Peter's church. The head of the community will keep changing from monk to monk, all followers of the Saint. The community grows in number: in 643 counts 150 monks. Around the convent settle the first laymen.

Bobbio Abbey, with its schools, the Library, the Scriptorium, the Monastery and its economic organization rapidly becomes a political power. The lands owned by the Abbey in the Lombard period extend to the whole north of Italy. In June 774, Charles king of the Franks, conquered Pavia and ended the Lombard reign. Few days after, Bobbio monks received new benefits and took the side of the new king. Thus Bobbio opened its doors to the Franks, leading them to Liguria and middle Italy. The power of the king gets hold of Bobbio monastery, which becomes an imperial monastery and the Abbey is now a rich fief.

In 1014 the Abbot receives the episcopal dignity and jurisdiction, so that Bobbio becomes an autonomous religious community. During the first few years the Abbot and the Bishop are the same person, then the two roles are handed over to two different persons with a subsequent division of benefits. From now on, Bobbio will begin its decline. The internecine feuds between Abbot and Bishop, adding up to the struggles with rising powerful figures - the Communes - eroded the city control over the territory.

Today the Abbey is home to the Abbey Museum, with a collection of archaeological material and works related to the figure of the saint from the fourth to the eighteenth century, and the Museum of the City, with a didactic introduction to the city housed in the former refectory.

Information Office
Last update
Saturday, 02 December 2017
News and information edited by the Tourist Information Office of the Municipalities of Bobbio, Borgonovo V.T., Castell'Arquato, Piacenza and Vigolzone