La storia di Sorbolo Mezzani

The Municipality of Sorbolo Mezzani was born in 2019 from the merger of the municipalities of Sorbolo and Mezzani

Sorbolo – La storia

The oldest human settlements in the Sorbolo area consist of the traces of the presence of terraced villages from the Bronze Age, found in Casaltone and Coenzo and an Iron Age settlement in the Ramoscello area.

In the Roman Age Sorbolo was characterized as a transit area of ​​the trade routes between Parma, Brescello and the Po River.

From the fields emerge today the materials of the Roman era, especially in the area of ​​Ramoscello; the area between Via Mantova and Frassinara, which with Pedrignano bears in itself the memory of the Roman centurial subdivision, in the course of the canals, ditches and plantings.

The oldest archival document in which the territory of Sorbolo is mentioned dates back to the year 835, when Queen Cunegonda establishes the dowry for the Monastery of S. Alessandro which includes precisely some assets “in Sorbulo qui regitur per Tuesperto “. (read more)

From the early Middle Ages, the land reclamation and recolonization works began by the monastic orders of Parma: the monasteries of San Giovanni Evangelista, Sant ‘Uldarico and the Cistercian Abbey of S. Martino de’ Bocci, whi

Mezzani is a toponym that derives from the Latin word medianus, once used to indicate the islands of the Po (along the course of the river there are in fact several places that bear this name). The inhabited centers of the municipality have sprung up on what were once islands of the Po, called Mezzani, then joined to the Parma shore. In medieval times, the present inhabited centers arose. The first was Casale, founded on an island of the Po that already existed in 890; defined as “insula iuxta Padum” to become “Casalis ripae Padi” a few centuries later, as the river had moved further north.

The Emperor Charles the Fat in 880 granted the banks of the Po, Parma, Enza and Taro rivers and the islands that were in them to the Bishop of Parma. Privileges that were later confirmed by Otto III in 973 and by Henry VI in 1195. For this reason Upper and Lower Mezzano, formed as islands of the Po, became possessions of the Parma episcopate. The time of their formation is not certain, however Abbot Giovanni Romani mentions an event that took place at the “Mezzano del Vescovo” as early as 1131.

The Mezzano mentioned is the Superiore, the Inferiore was formed after 1306. Before the two banks were joined to the right bank of the Po, the riverbank began at Coenzo and continued along the S. Antonio embankment (today reduced to simple country road) up to the majesty of S. Cristoforo di Mezzano Superiore, visible today on the provincial road.

Mezzano Rondani was built on the Lombard bank of the Po. In the 15th century, after a major flood that affected the area between Casalmaggiore and Fossacaprara, the river moved northwards and the town found itself on an island and was later united with the riva parmigiana. The word Rondani comes from the name of a family that owns several properties in the country. While Mezzano Rondani, Casale and Mazzabue were part of the ducal jurisdiction, Mezzano Inferiore and Superiore were always the territories of the Bishop of Parma who in Mezzano Superiore had a palace in which he lived during his visits.

The Parma episcopate granted the local population various tax privileges. After several attempts, in 1763 the Dukes of Parma succeeded in obtaining the renunciation of their lordship from the Bishop; the population, deprived of the autonomy and privileges they had enjoyed until then, refused to swear allegiance to Duke Philip I of Parma; to quell the rebellion the ducal dragons had to intervene. ch owned vast plots in the territory of Ramoscello and Frassinara.

The presence of religious orders will play a fundamental role in the structural and functional organization of the territory from the tenth to the sixteenth century.

Alongside the religious system, there was political power. An expression of this power is the system of fortified places, whose role was twofold: defensive and safeguarding commercial transits. The military role of the most important garrison of the territory of Sorbolo was played by Coenzo, in particular in the period of greatest tension between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, this allowed the control of the trades coming from the riparian territory of the Po, from the Reggio area (Brescello, Boretto, Guastalla) and from Parma.

From the fief and ecclesiastical property we arrive, with the Farnese age, to the settlement of the bourgeois classes or noble families of the city; this is the case, for example, of the Calvi Family, created noble in 1693 by Ranuccio and invested with Coenzo, the Campori-Menafoglio marquises, in 1636 by decree of Francesco I, the Gruppini who obtained the ducal familiarity in 1648 and the Lalatta, marquesses from 1695, owners of several farms, mills, a villa and a palace in Sorbolo.

With the 19th century and the relative constitution of the Municipality (the first Mayor of Sorbolo, Giovan Battista Pinetti, dates back to 1806), new public works and roads were built. In September 1808 the first school was inaugurated; social life is livened up: since 1864 in Sorbolo there has been a Mutual Aid Society among artisans; in 1891 the “Cooperative Society among workers” was born and in 1885 the “Cooperative Society of Welfare” with the purpose of opening a shop, organizing work and credit on a cooperative basis.


The coat of arms of Sorbolo

The coat of arms was made official in 1930 by Royal Decree. On the left there is a two-arched bridge on which a guardhouse, a house on the left and a silver star that surmounts the bridge appear; on the right a large rowan tree is represented; in the lower part a grassy countryside appears. The bridge, of fundamental importance for the life of this town, for a long time represented a real border; while the rowan symbol and the green base of the coat of arms indicate the prevalent agricultural activity that characterized Sorbolo at the time.

The coat of arms of Mezzani

There are two versions of the municipal coat of arms. In the original one, on green ground, there are the red walls of a castle whose door is surmounted by a golden lily stand out. The castle recalls the castle of Felino exchanged to the bishop of Parma in exchange for the passage of the Mezzani to the Duchy of Parma, but it could also be the castle built by the prelate to defend his possessions from the companies of fortune. The golden lily of the Bourbons always recalls the sale of the Mezzani to the Dukes of Parma.

The green field on which the castle stands represents the fertile and flat countryside of the municipal area. In the same coat of arms, there were originally blue horizontal lines that symbolized Upper Mezzano and red gold vertical lines representing Lower Mezzano. These lines, however, are no longer recognizable today in the old banner displayed in the council chamber of the municipality. Subsequently, a new coat of arms was chosen, the current one, which represents a bridge that spans three watercourses, Parma, Po and Enza, the rivers that cross the Mezzani area. The bridge is dominated by two cornucopias.