Municipality of Val d'Arda, near Piacenza, Vernasca is a picturesque town whose surrounding hills are mostly covered with vineyards that produces fine wines, appreciated since the Middle Ages.
There is evidence of settlements in the area of Vernasca since the Neolithic Ages, later it was populated by the Ligurians, that built a complex system of "castellieri" (small fortified villages, built a short distance one from each other, so that the in case of raids, the alarm would have been spread faster). The Romans took over from the Ligurians and the early Middle Ages, it became part of the possessions of the Abbey of Val Tolla: in this period (presumably in the X century), a castle was built, which was already mentioned in some documents of Emperor Enrico II. In 1029, the castle was bought by the Marquis Ugo of Provenza, and then it passed to the Malaspina, until in 1048, it returned to the Abbey, of which it submitted the same destiny and fate. In the late Middle Ages, Vernasca became part of the territories ruled by the Sforza of Santa Fiora until the eighteenth century.
Sites of interest:
- the ancient Parish Church of St. Colombano, situated in a dominant position on the river Arda, was built adjacent to the castle, but of the original XII century structure there no remains. Rebuilt in a new location, the new church was subject to landslides and a fire in 1925, which gave way to the progressive destruction of the church. Today remain only a few simple decorative friezes of the portal of the apse, a fragment of a fresco depicting Saint Colombano in the act of blessing and a great fresco of the Coronation of the Virgin;
- the Church of St. Colombano, built in the late XIX century, houses a fine wooden statue of Jan Geernaert;
- the XIX century Chapel of Our Lady of Pione;
- the Oratory of Mignano, which features a semicircular apse of the Romanesque period;
- the Regional Park of the River Stirone;
- the Geological Natural Reserve of Placenziano.