- Art & Culture
Village of varzi
Back to the past across the architectural beauties and the alleys of the medieval village
Varzi stands in the centre of the Stàffora Valley, in the province of Pavia, in the heart of Oltrepò Pavese.
A visit to the medieval town centre is like going back in time: eight centuries of history documented in the architectural traces of its churches, towers and castle.
Via del mercato is believed to be the original part of the town that, rebuilt and modified over the centuries, is currently flanked by a double row of arcades built from the 14th to the 16th centuries. Over time, it became the site where the weekly market was held. Another characteristic street is via della Maiolica, which runs along the base of the defence walls. Be sure to note the unique building that protrudes from the wall, where slits were made for firing weapons. Vicolo Dietro le Mura is an authentic tunnel located above the medieval defensive walls, surmounted by a continuous series of homes, which can be accessed from Via Porta Nuova. The shapes of the walls, the windows on the south-facing arcade and the wooden doors with their posts constitute genuine works of rustic medieval art.
Via di Dentro, between the two towers – Torre di Porta Sottana and Torre di Porta Soprana that was elevated in the 19th century to build the structure for the clock bells – has always been the hub of the village. Through the centuries, this street has been lined with the village's most important offices, where the most important families have lived, where the announcements of the communal or feudal government were made and where public auctions took place. On the south side of the street stands the 17th-century Chiesa dei Rossi church, which was founded by the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity, and next to it, the hospice for pilgrims.
The church known as the Chiesa dei Bianchi is located on the north side of village. Built in 1646 by the Confraternity of the Gonfalone, this oratory is unique for its interior built in the shape of four-leaf clover, to imitate the great cathedrals.
In addition to the Town Hall (formerly known as Palazzo Tamburelli) another interesting and unique landmark is the Malaspina Palace and Tower (of the Witches), built in the 12th century and gradually expanded and transformed up to the 18th century. This imposing 13th century tower is referred to "of the witches" since twenty-five women and various men accused of witchcraft were imprisoned there during the Inquisition in 1464, who were later burned in the nearby square.
The square known as piazza della Fiera is the centre of village life, where you can sit in the shade of the trees of the public gardens or in one of the many venues that open onto the large open space. Those who love to taste the local specialties should be sure to sample the salami of Varzi, renowned throughout the world.