The Langa of Moscato
The hills of Moscato, set between the Belbo and Tinella valleys, dominate the Barbaresco ones and together they overlook the Monferrato of Asti and the highest Langa.
The starting point is Canelli (see itinerary Canelli, the "Gatway to the World"), home to the sparkling wine invented by Carlo Gancia in 1850. The Underground Cathedrals are a must-see, they are at the heart of the UNESCO recognition.
From Canelli you climb up to Sant'Antonio, the watershed with Monferrato marked by the beautiful Torre dei Contini (Contini Tower). Next, you walk along the ridge that leads to Calosso, one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in the whole area. Calosso, with its scaled-down Castle, the Museo Memorie di Futuro (Museum of Future Memories) and its sandstone crotin dug out of tuff, is a pretty little village that deserves a stop to taste the rediscovered “Gambarossa” vine in the Cantina Comunale (Municipal Wine Cellar), to date the last DOC wine to be born in Piedmont.
Castiglione Tinella overlooks Calosso on the opposite hill, with its old town made of stones, tiles and bricks, the Bottega del Vino (Wine Shop) and the 'Versi in Vigna' (Lines in Vines) in the rows, which decorate each side of the village. As you leave the village you will come across the tiny Church of San Carlo, another splendid panoramic viewpoint. Next you reach Valdivilla, with the memorial to the partisans of the Langhe Division (i.e. the Autonomous brigade of Mauri, Poli and Fenoglio) and finally, the junction leading to Camo, with its creative Museo a Cielo Aperto (Open-air Museum). Then there is Mango, the highest hilltop village, with the Enoteca Regionale (Regional Wine Centre) Colline del Moscato set in the late Renaissance Busca Castle, the memorable Monument to the Dog and the Pinacoteca delle Langhe (Langhe Art Gallery).
From Mango you continue towards Neviglie, a pleasant rural village nestled in-between vineyards on the southern side and woods on the north, and whose parish Church of San Giorgio houses an absolute masterpiece: the last painting by Macrino d'Alba, "Lo Sposalizio di Santa Caterina (The Marriage of Santa Caterina)". From here you can join the Langa of Barbaresco itinerary (see itinerary Langa of Barbaresco), descending towards Neive. The route continues on to San Donato with its "House of Memories" of rural civilisation.
Next, just like Fenoglio's Partisan Johnny, you descend towards Cossano Belbo via the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Rovere. Cossano Belbo is located along the Belbo river, just like the neighbouring village of Rocchetta Belbo. In Cossano Belbo, a special place to visit is the Enomuseo (Wine Museum) Toso, the ideal place to know and preserve all the secrets of the art of winemaking of these hills. On the way up to Scorrone, you get to Santo Stefano Belbo, a village where everything refers to Cesare Pavese, who was born here in the summer of 1908 and took his life in the summer of 1950, just a few months before his masterpiece "La luna e i falò" (The moon and bonfires) was published, a novel that everyone should read before travelling to these hills. The village welcomes us with its ancient ruined tower, the soft sandstones of the romanic Abbey of San Gaudenzio, the imposing size of the Confraternity of Saints Giacomo and Cristoforo, the romantic spires of Moncucco and, above all, the Pavese Foundation. For those who love the bright colours and the contaminations of contemporary art, not to be missed a visit just outside the village, where a Relais Château is home to a precious treasure, the Open Space San Maurizio 1619: a chapel frescoed by Tremlett, an English artist ‘at home’ in the Langa, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the monastery.
Finally, still on the ridge, you head out to the wooded hermitage of Loazzolo (also a tiny DOC wine: a great moscato passito) with the WWF Oasis of the Luja (see itinerary Parks of Monferrato Area) and then on to Cassinasco, with the first of the many towers of the Langa Astigiana (see itinerary Langa Astigiana from Monastero Bormida). From the Sanctuary of Caffi, through a shady descent amidst branches and dry stone walls, you return to Canelli.
Texts by Pietro Giovannini
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Via dei Prati
Via dei Prati