Langhe, land of castles
Alba, Barbaresco, Barolo, Govone, Grinzane Cavour, Magliano Alfieri, Mango, Murazzano, Roddi, Serralunga d'Alba
Castello di Grinzane Cavour
If you are a tourist and a traveler in search of fine food and wines, do not deprive yourself of the literary and peasant world of the Langhe. Places that really exist, but above all found in literature that are the settings for stories by Cesare Pavese (Your villages, The Moon and the Bonfire), Beppe Fenoglio (Johnny the Partisan, Ruin) and Davide Lajolo (I mè). A land in which a love for creating things has altered its hilly landscape over the years, bringing genuine quality products to the table. Wines like Barolo, Barbaresco and Moscato d’Asti are known all over the world as is the Alba truffle.
The Langhe offers more than just material culture as this itinerary though the area’s castles will demonstrate. We leave from Alba, the city of 100 towers, to go to Pollenzo. Its castle was the royal residence requested by King Carlo Alberto in which he cultivated his passion for agriculture as well as the one for creating a small “Savoy Versailles”. It is now the location of Italy’s first School of Gastronomic Sciences. From Pollenzo to the Castello at Serralunga d’Alba: a hymn to uprightness in a land of mild horizons: stretching to the sky, it offers an observatory onto a landscape that features the gentleness of the hills. Other vertical buildings are the Tower at Barbaresco, a square plan designed building – originally included in the castle’s defence complex – and the 13th century Tower at Murazzano that constituted the keep of fortified architecture.
Most of all, the Langhe is a land of castles. Among the main ones we have the Castello Grinzane di Cavour that rises above the vineyards of Camillo Benso, the man who first transformed this location into a production centre for the marvelous wines of the area. Not far from here, crossing the hills that Cesare Pavese defined as the Sargasso Sea of his youth, we arrive at the Castello di Barolo protected by an amphitheatre of hills. This castle is subject to constant transformation and as of autumn 2009 will host the Museo del Vino (Wine museum) designed by François Confino, creator of the scenography at Torino’s Museo del Cinema. There is a royal air to the hall of honour and the wide staircase connecting the Castello di Govone, one of the loveliest residences in Piemonte, to its park. Roddi, with its decorated tower overlooking a priceless garden, also deserves a visit. The Castello di Magliano Alfieri is tied to two extraordinary literary personages: Vittorio Alfieri and Beppe Fenoglio. The author of Johnny the Partisan evokes this imposing Baroque style building like this: le erte guazzose tenebre del crinale di Magliano (the thick, wallowing gloominess of Magliano’s crest). Mango, an integral part of the Comunità Collinare (Hill Community) of the “Sei in Langa” (Six of the Langa” – Neive, Camo, Castiglione Tinella, Neviglie, Treiso and Barbaresco – included within the muscat and Brabaresco area of the Langa features a castle that indicates a double nature: it began as a small fortress filled with secret passageways, now known as a country residence that is admired and lavishly furnished.
Date of last update: 12/01/2010
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