In Langhe Monferrato Roero there is plenty of excitement and many forms of art which interact. And those who do not produce art are the ones who preserve and promote it.

There was a time when I loved everything that was antique. I used to plan my weekends and go where I knew I could find antique markets. It was at one of these markets that I met Luca, who was also looking for some rare pieces from ancient times. It was love at first sight: a 19th-century writing desk and its marquetry inlayers were to blame! We did not buy it but then, market after market... we finally got married. A lot of things have changed since our marriage, especially our tastes, and one fine day we discovered that we were no longer interested in antiques and vintage, but were attracted by modern and contemporary design. We no longer go to markets, or at least not as often as we used to, and we spend our free time visiting exhibitions, museums and artistic gems that we come across partly by chance and partly through reading specialized magazines.

This is how we ended up in Asti, by following every form of expression of artists such as De Chirico, Dalì, Ernst, Kandinskij, Klee. All together, you might ask? Yes, indeed! We found them in a magical place: a laboratory which transforms the genius of great painters into tapestries by using ancient techniques which have remained unchanged over the centuries. The rigid heddle looms, on which the hands of the weaving masters move swiftly, are quite imposing and the works they produce, thread by thread, draw on modern figurative art: this is a combination which creates an internationally recognized aesthetic appeal.  

A whole new world has opened up to us! In our imagination, this area was usually associated with great food and wine experiences, but the discovery of Tapestry encouraged us to travel along ridges and valleys in search of other artistic delicacies to nourish our minds and souls. We have found so many, and every time we come back here we find many others.

We have been coming here for three years now, always on weekends, sometimes for a few days more: our work is very demanding and we can only take a few days off. We plan our trip when we know that either Alba or Asti will host an international art exhibition. So we start from here and then... we get lost and wander from North to South. From Basso Monferrato to Alta Langa.

Therefore, it can happen that on these hills you find the studios of some young artists and see them at work. They are talented creators of beauty who have already exhibited in the most diverse places, but who have chosen the harmony of these landscapes as their ideal place to create and live. I believe that the environment plays a key role in terms of inspiration: there is genuineness in these villages, an old-fashioned way of life where everyone knows each other and where you have the feeling of being an integral part of a community. Only now do I fully understand the meaning of Cesare Pavese's words: “A village means not being alone, knowing that in the people, in the plants, in the land there is something of yourself, that even when you are not there it stays and waits for you. But it is not easy to live there and not be restless”. I realized it just by seeing and immersing myself in this atmosphere.  And that part “it's not easy to live there and not be restless”, a legacy of youthful reading, began to echo within me when I first bumped into some of these villages. There is plenty of excitement here, and many forms of art interact (painting, sculpture, music, theatre and photography), and those people who do not produce art are the ones who preserve and promote it and make it accessible to all visitors, by merging it with the landscape and the vineyards.   Therefore, it is not surprising to find various expressions of land art, open-air galleries, cultural parks, murals and installations, all created with the aim, sometimes unconsciously, of enhancing these places, while preserving their atmosphere in both a sustainable and engaging way.

Art and design are everywhere here: you can find them in small village museums but also in restaurants, hotels (some are boutique hotels, others art studios providing hotel accommodation) and even in some wineries, the much-appreciated "wine architecture" where we tasted the wines which have made these lands famous.

I was surprised when I found out that the photographer who captured and immortalized Kate Bush, my favourite singer, lives and exhibits here! And when I was walking around and bumped into one of the works by David Tremlett! Just like us, he loves Langhe Monferrato Roero so much that he always finds new occasions to come back here. He has transformed four small churches into precious gems: a mix of bright colours and geometric shapes which make them dissonant yet at the same time in harmony with their surroundings.

There is love and passion on these hills, there is plenty of excitement, creativity and the self-awareness of those who know, like Pavese wrote, that "a village is needed".

There is love and passion on these hills, there is plenty of excitement, creativity and the self-awareness of those who know, like Pavese wrote, that "a village is needed".

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