Covering the hilly paths and roads of Piemonte means travelling far away from noise, immersed in a world of harmony and uncontaminated nature. These are lands able to donate a delightful pleasure, suspended among the nobility of vineyards and castles, villages, charming towns, gourmet restaurants and small country inns: a pleasure reserved to the most sophisticated connoisseurs who really know how to enjoy life.
Unique and striking landscapes, characterised by pure beauty, fairytale atmospheres which change colour according to the rhythm of the seasons, aromas, foods, wines, and unforgettable smells: the Piemonte hills are all this and more.
769,386 hectares divided between the hills at the foot of the Alps and the central part of Piemonte, in between the rivers Po, Dora Baltea e Stura, made of granite, porphyry, marl and sandstone. This is a land of great wines: Ghemme, Lessona, Nebbiolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, Moscato, Barbera, as well as of unrivalled sceneries: Europe’s longest Serra Morenica (former glacial formation), in the Biella province, the deep gorges and the picturesque ravines characterising the ‘Rocche’ in the Roero region, Ivrea’s morainic amphitheatre with the Gran Paradiso mountain in the background and the Rivoli - Avigliana hills, sprinkled with erratic boulders.
These are not only physical places, but also places of the mind: they truly are on a human scale, pervaded by a thousand-year-old tradition; visitors can relax and taste good food, ranging from Novara’s paniscia to the truffles found in the Langhe and Monferrato. The area is waiting to be discovered, visiting towns and castles, strolling between Agliè and Rivarolo in the Canavese, walking along vineyards and environments modelled by nature in the Torinese, Saluzzese and Pinerolese, discovering, clod after clod, a Piemonte which is both authentic and incredibly fascinating.
Halfway between the Alps and the Mediterranean, the Langhe hills are a unique and magical display, animated by an extraordinarily fertile nature and by food and wine traditions which are renowned throughout the world.
Between 450 and 800 metres tall, comprised between the rivers Tanaro, Belbo and Bormida, this countryside allows visitors to discover valuable foods, ranging from the sought-after white truffle, to the numerous D.O.P. (Protected Designation of Origin) cheeses – Bra, Murazzano, Raschera, Robiola di Roccaverano and Toma Piemontese –, without forgetting the ‘Round Gentle’ hazelnuts, which form the basis for Gianduja chocolate.
In this area, places endowed with extraordinary old towns appear as if from nowhere, such as Alba and Cherasco; and there are surviving traditions and legends, linked to farming culture, such as witches and pallapugno (a tennis-like sport played with footballs). Breathtaking scenery in which art mixes with gentle hills, with old hamlets and castles perched on top: La Morra, Barolo, Grinzane Cavour, Canelli, Santo Stefano Belbo, Dogliani, San Donato di Mango, made more precious by local wineries where the ‘King of Wines’, Barolo and its court, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera and Moscato, can all be tasted. These landscapes have been immortalised in the works of many writers, such as Pavese, Fenoglio, Lajolo and Nuto Revelli, whose words echo in the ‘Parco Paesaggistico e Letterario di Langhe Monferrato e Roero’ (‘Literary and Landscape Park of the Langhe, Monferrato and Roero’), designing a geography which offers endless routes to the visitors.
Like their twin, the Langhe, Roero embodies the essence of Piemonte, its most intense soul, where wild nature goes hand in hand with the orderly lines of fruit orchards and vineyards, over which towers and castles emerge, uniting past and present, art and food.
Much smaller than its neighbouring regions, Roero, situated in the extreme north-western part of the province of Cuneo, presents a diverse environment, rich in deep valleys, among which the ‘Le Rocche’ stand out: these are hundreds-of-metres-deep canyons, characterised by varied spires and imposing amphitheatres; not surprisingly, in popular imagery, the area has always been inhabited by witches and bandits – but it is also the cradle of unrivalled truffles.
This is a noble land in many aspects: in the name, which derives from an aristocratic family from Asti which governed it during the Middle Ages; in its landscape, rich in vestiges from the past and in the production of precious wines, including the wines coming from the local grapes ‘Arneis’, Roero, and Roero Superiore. Here, visitors can enjoy a pleasant abandonment, strolling in the Castello di Magliano Alfieri (Magliano Alfieri Castle) or in the castle of Govone, a Savoy residence which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or in the streets of the village of Guarene, which hosts one of the most notable aristocratic mansions of the 18th Century in Piemonte.
Tourists can go on many different trips in Monferrato: they can visit places connected to Alfieri or baroque residences and palaces, as well as medieval castles and towns or Romanesque buildings, and then of course great food and wine and many folk festivals. The magic world of the Monferrato hills, which are overlooked by vineyards, medieval castles and XI century churches, can be experienced in any season. From the Monferrato plain to the Apennines visitors will find a great natural environment, including the charming Parco delle Capanne di Marcarolo (Park of the Huts of Marcarolo), as well as delicious food, from mushrooms to truffles, and great quality wines. There are also golf courses and many museums, such as the Museo del ciclismo (Museum of cycling) that celebrates the feats performed by champions Fausto Coppi and Costante Girardengo, who were born in Alessandria. We can come across small villages and interesting resorts in the hills, some of which are very popular not only for their historic or artistic heritage. Acqui Terme for example is renowned as a state-of-the-art spa resort, which was already known to the Romans for its therapeutic waters that pour out at a temperature of 75°. Visitors can also go back in time through the many folk festivals that are held throughout the year such as the crace of the Palio, the Assedio di Canelli (Siege of Canelli) and the Festival delle Sagre (Village Fairs Festival).
Castello di Magliano Alfieri
Situated in the heart of the Langhe, Roero, Monferrato and Canavese, hilltop castles dominate the territory beneath them. The buildings, which range, in appearance, from military fortresses to Medieval castles, have often been, in the past, the dwellings of choice for the local aristocracy. The royal residences, once witnesses of a majestic past, now house museums, regional wineries, wine growers’ cooperatives or, simply, host events and historical re-enactments, which represent an original way to discover the charm of Piemonte’s breathtaking historical and artistic heritage.
MAIN CASTLES ON PIEMONTE HILLS
32% of Piemonte is made up of hills. This territory gives rise to some of the world’s best-loved wines, such as Barolo and Asti Spumante, two of the enological excellences of Monferrato, Langhe and Roero, and which, together with the Novarese and Canavese hills, can boast over 40 D.O.C. (Controlled Designation of Origin) and 9 D.O.C.G. (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) wines. The history of wine production in Piemonte is over 2000 years old, and narrates a tale made up of sweat, ploughs, and experimentation, which, with the passing of time, has generated an extremely rich and complex ensemble of vineyards, unique to the region, which have become, in time, sacred names for connoisseurs.
Last Updated on 18/02/2013