Langhe, Roero and Monferrato

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Langhe, Roero and Monferrato: castles, truffles and divine wines


The area of Langhe, in the province of Cuneo in Piedmont is a great choreography: curvy hills as far as the eye can see, hazelnut trees, Autumn multi-coloured vineyards, timeless tiny villages and divine wine, an area whose name is imprinted in the history of the Italian wine and food production.

 Alba is the capital of this hilly area, Medieval and circular, it follows the line of its walls. There are plenty of forts and towers among which the Gothic-Lombard cathedral and the church of San Domenico stand out while the International White Truffles Exhibition attracts the gourmets from all over the world. On the other hand, Bra is a baroque jewel featuring a medieval and Sabaudian past and it’s rich of artistic remains belonging to different ages. The square of Caduti della Libertà (the Died for Freedom’s Memorial) is particular with its irregular sloping shape and it hosts the church of Sant’Andrea whose façade was finished in 1830 and its one-navy interior is richly decorated. 

After visiting Alba and Bra, there’s a wide choice at your disposal. Every tiny village features a number of excellent wine producers. Barolo, for instance, doesn’t need to be introduced. Two castles deserve to be visited in this area; Grinzane Cavour, dating back to the XIIIth century, enlarged in the XVIIth century, it was one of the residences of the Earl of Cavour, the regional wine-house and the Ethnographic Museum. Another interesting castle is Serralunga d’Alba, a very ancient fortress – rebuilt between the XIIIth and the XIVth century and featured by a vertical development and Gothic arches and mullioned windows. In the area of Asti and Alessandria the Monferrato stretches out; it is a route to be discovered leaving from Asti and getting along the left side of the Tanaro river where the Collegiata di S. Secondo is located; it is one of the most important Gothic styled building in Piedmont and it is dedicated to San Gottardo and Maria Assunta, built between 1309 and 1354 on the previous church. It is featured by three high bright navies and crossed-shaped pillars that make a Latin Cross in its interior; its walls are covered with frescoes ascribed to a number of painters from Piedmont and Lombardy belonging to the XVIIth century.

 The medieval and baroque architecture share the beauty of this town where the famous Palio is held on the third week of September. There are 1200 people disguised in their medieval costumes, 21 horses, plenty of flags and the propitiatory Eve’s dinners. Towards the South you enter the wine land: beyond the Tanaro river the hills are covered with vineyards and cellars. Each village shows its own castle – San Martino Alfieri, Calamandrana and Colosso, just to mention a few ones, the wine museums of Costigliole, Mombercelli and Nizza Monferrato. Among the many choices that are offered there are the historical cellars of Canelli, the underground cathedrals excavated in the tuff belonging to the XIXth century that are now racing to become the Unesco’s Heritage: the lined barrels under the secular vaults is a show that mustn’t be missed.


Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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