Monferrato: harmonious hills steeped in wine, tradition, art and culture
History has left its mark on these hills with artistic beauties ranging from Romanesque to Baroque styles, a heritage of castles, towers, villages, palaces, works of art and ancient parish churches which nowadays offer itineraries of great interest, all to be discovered.
Wines such as Alta Langa, Moscato, Barbera, Brachetto, Nizza, Ruchè, Terre Alfieri, to name but a few of the most famous DOCGs, represent the wine productions of excellence which make Monferrato an important oenological region in the Italian panorama of designations of origin.
Excellence on the plate: traditional products, innovative recipes
The cuisine is rich in flavours and aromas, which reflect the great generosity of this land, and it combines tradition and top-quality local products. Whether it is the many varieties of vegetables which find their greatest expression here, or the tender and delicious meats, everything here recalls the simplicity of traditional recipes, seasoned with a touch of creativity.
Just think of the stuffed pasta, which reaches its peak in the Agnolotto: with a traditional filling or with “guanciotti d'asino” (donkey cheeks), hunchbacked or squared, though always challenging the nearby Agnolotto del Plin, its Langhe cousin.
Monferrato, where history and legend are entwined in a timeless tale.
The Romanesque style
Charming abbeys of mythical origin, tiny parish churches and small rural churches, mostly built between the 11th and 13th centuries, adorn the hills of Basso Monferrato, offering visitors endless reasons to be mesmerized.
You will be enchanted by the imposing magnificence of the Abbey of Santa Maria in Vezzolano, which legend has it was built at the behest of Charlemagne, and you will be enraptured when you visit the so-called "Golden Triangle of Asti Romanesque", with the parish church of San Secondo in Cortazzone, the church of Saints Nazario and Celso in Montechiaro d'Asti and the one dedicated to San Lorenzo, near the cemetery of Montiglio. There are also many other small jewels of Romanesque architecture nestling in the rural landscape, built as resting places for the pilgrims who crossed these lands along the Via Francigena in the Middle Ages. Many of these churches have survived in good condition because they were located near small cemeteries; others fell into disuse and were abandoned in the hills and recently restored, but they are all worth a visit, even just for the atmosphere that surrounds them.
The Vineyard Landscapes of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato
Welcome to the land where BuonVivere has been awarded the UNESCO recognition.
Mile-long tunnels run deep and house a treasure trove of thousands of bottles: these are the Underground Cathedrals of Canelli. This is where the first Italian Spumante was born around the mid-19th century, thanks to Carlo Gancia. An evocative network of routes tells visitors a story of art, passion and top-level wine-making tradition.
Nizza Monferrato is the homeland of Barbera d'Asti, which becomes Nizza Docg among these hills of neatly combed vineyards. A must-see is the view from the Campanon, which towers over the town hall, the symbol of an old town consisting of porticoed streets lined with old shops, some of which still feature their ancient shop signs.
Hidden beneath the houses or in the darkest corners of the cellars, dug out by hand from a special clayey rock called pietra da cantoni (canton stone), the “infernot” protect the most precious bottles in their depths.
The Asti area, a land of traditions and folklore
The Palio of Asti is the oldest in Italy to be documented as from 1275, a well-established tradition which suggests it was already well known in the second half of the 1100s. A tradition which does not affect only Asti, but also all the participating municipalities. The race is run in September, but preparations already begin in spring, in combination with the San Secondo celebrations. Actually, people think all year round about the Palio, which is not just a race: it is a city that revives its traditions, villages, boroughs, municipalities all dressed up for the occasion, parades of walk-ons in costume, jockeys and flag-wavers. A city on display to relive a centuries-old tradition.
But September in the Asti area is also marked by a series of events related to food and wine and the local area: don't miss the Douja d'Or and the festival delle Sagre (festival of Fairs) with its parade of floats re-enacting scenes of rural life from the early 1900s.
How to reach us
All you have to do is get on the road. It does not matter what means of transport you use, as long as it suits your needs and gets you exactly where you want to go.
Here are a few tips fto build your perfect itinerary.