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Salt road

By defining "Via del Sale" shall indicate the ancient roads, the many paths which in the past down through the Appennino, the Po plain and hilly areas of northern Italy to the Ligurian coast. These ancient routes of communication, demonstrate the importance of Appennino in the life of the ancient civilization: the first people crossing it were Liguri Iriati, that about three thousand years ago went to the plains to colonize new lands, it became in the twelfth century, connection with the important port of Genoa . The city of Liguria in fact, exceeded Venice in the marketing of products from the East, was the most important commercial center during the Middle Ages.


The name of these important lines of communication and exchange is linked to a mineral salt, of great value in the past, this element was essential in fact, and storing food. The salt was not easily available in the northern area and was the only "tool" available to store, preserve and maintain in good condition many foods that otherwise would have emaciated. That is from the Middle Ages until the fifteenth century, the network of trails and paths from the plain to the sea became so way dense and important.

There was not a single Via del Sale, because all the peoples of different regions of Terre Alte along the paths on their territory to reach the sea and to retrieve the many useful products to survive, by selling their items of trade, represented mainly by wool and weapons. La Via del Sale "Lombarda", given in particular the territory of the Oltrepò Pavese, penetraded Staffora at the Valley of Voghera and easily reached the village of Varzi. From here on, the paths and mule tracks led toward the South and across the Bogleglio Monte and Monte Chiappo, first came to Mount Antola then Torriglia. From this center point of junction of Roads Sale of Emilia, Lombardia and Piemonte, the journey continued easily up to Genoa. 

From the Middle Ages until the fourteenth century the territory of Appennine of Pavia was affected by powerful feudal families, first and foremost that of Malaspina: these gentlemen, in agreement with the city of Pavia, intensified trade, guaranteed the flow of goods and imposed a system of fees and taxes to move along in their territory: the fees were required from travelers in exchange for security and protection.

With the official opening of this route to the sea, Varzi became the commercial center of great importance: from small town became a country of great importance, additioned of new buildings, with a castle and surrounded by walls to provide a safe hotel to traders . Multiplied so that shops, stores and warehouses for goods in transit, increased the custom offices for collection of taxes. The salt was the item of commerce for the revitalization of the entire area.