Zavattarello, considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, is a municipality in the province of Pavia, surrounded by the bright greenery of the Oltrepò Pavese.
Its name may seem a bit bizarre, but it has ancient roots. It comes from the vulgar Latin savattarellum, or “place where the savatte (slippers) are made”, to indicate the prevalent activity in the ancient village, where there were numerous shops of slippers manufacturers. Today it is a small village where the inhabitants are nice and welcoming and where you move mainly on foot to reach any point, avoiding the stress and noise of traffic. The heart of Zavattarello develops around the fortress.
On the relief of the village is the Castello dal Verme, an imposing stone fortress that takes its name from the Dal Verme family who conquered the feud and therefore also the Castle. It is a building that has withstood numerous sieges thanks to its massive structure and the grandeur of the walls. Inside it consists of about forty rooms divided into a system with several separate levels, connected by various secondary internal stairs. From the tower and the terrace you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding area, the countryside, the woods, the hills with the other castles in the area. Visiting the Castle offers the opportunity to discover how people lived in medieval times. Courtyards, halls with ancient traces of frescoes, buildings that were once used as kitchens, bread ovens, cellars and a complex system of walkways along the walls. It is said that the castle also hosts a ghost, a legend that can be discovered by participating in guided tours organized in the structure. The castle is also home to lunches or dinners on the occasion of private visits, during which it is possible to organize customized menus.
Although small, the village of Zavattarello is home to a very active community. Its inhabitants organize cultural events and historical re-enactments right in the Castello dal Verme. Zavattarello is also the destination of numerous bike or e-bike tours dedicated to the Oltrepò Pavese. Pedaling after pedaling, you can smell the scents of fruit trees, see castles and vineyards, count on the variety of landscapes, the quality of the cycle paths and make a stop for a tasty break.
The village is also known as the “City of Honey“. This ancient production seems to have started for the first time in the nineteenth century, right in the Castello dal Verme. The honey, much appreciated, received numerous awards already in 1869 and is still a real pride of Zavattarello, called “nectar of the gods” that you can know and taste on the occasion of the Mushroom and Honey Festival in September. The quality is so high that the honey has even won the Goccia d’Oro award, so coveted by Italian beekeepers. The beekeepers of the Oltrepò Pavese, in addition to producing quality honey, aim to preserve the specificity of the place and the honeybee, considered essential for the preservation of the ecosystem of the Oltrepò Pavese and protagonist of the production of ” Zavattarello Gold”.
In addition to honey, there are many typical products of this town, some of them have very ancient origins. Among the first courses that can still be tasted today there are the “Agnolotti”, a light handmade flour and egg pasta, stuffed with meat stewed in wine and seasoned with the same cooking sauce; with the scraps of agnolotti pasta are made the “Taglierini” seasoned with porcini mushroom sauce or stuffed chicken broth. Finally, the “Miccone”, the typical bread of the Oltrepò Pavese of about a kilo of weight, well cooked on the outside, and soft inside, little seasoned and low in salt, is the result of a leavening that lasts about two whole days.