The Chianti Region of the north west
This enchanting land, embedded like a green emerald in a white shining jewel that is the Piedmont Region, can be a real surprise for its visitors.
Hills, Castles, Romanic Churches, Modern Museums, Medieval Cities, Contemporary Art. Langhe are not only Food And Wine. Follow us discovering the widespread heritage of our land.
Getting there: Turin airport (TRN) or Genoa (GOA) are about 90 minutes away from Alba - Milan Malpensa (MXP) and Linate (LIN) are about 2hrs away.
Moving around: Rental Cars (Major companies in both Airports), Private Cars and Minivans with driver available throughout the region.
What to visit:
Alba for its International White Truffle Fair (2017 will be number 87!) but also its medieval towers and houses.
Bra for its Baroque architecture and its typical veal sausage (called Salsiccia di Bra) and cheese (called Bra)
Mondovi’ for its funicular railway that links the lower city to the upper, the peculiar automated “Moro” (a Moor robot) that rings the bell of the Santissimi Pietro e Paolo Church and for the Annual Balloon Festival (held in January)
Monticello d'Alba Castle: Just a short distance from Alba, this is one of the best-preserved medieval buildings in the area, also thanks to the fact that ever since 1376 it has always belonged to the Roeros of Monticello. This typical example of a fortified Monticello residence has a unique architectural feature: three towers each of a different shape and size: one square, one round and one octagonal. The castle is built on three floors. The great staircase leads to the armoury hall and the adjacent chapel dedicated to St. Barbara. On the second floor is the picture gallery with portraits and coats of arms of the Roero family. Next is the billiard room, followed by the gallery of Diana the Hunter. The ancient 14th-century structure of the courtyard, situated at the mezzanine floor level, has been preserved. Local sights: Natività di Maria Vergine, Immacolata Concezione, SS. Antonio e Lorenzo, S. Grato, Maria Ausiliatrice, San Bernardino, San Ponzio frescoes, ethnographic museum.
The castles of the Marquis Tapparelli D’Azeglio of Lagnasco consist of three different buildings that were built at the end of the XI century and developed until the XVIII century. After having been shared with other noble families, at the end of the XIX century the last descendant of the dynasty Emanuele d’Azeglio Tapparelli took the castles under his control. After his death in 1890 the castles and the estate were given to the community, as Emanuele d’Azeglio Tapparelli was a noble man not only of dynasty, but also of spirit. From 1998 to 2008 some renewing works upgraded this extraordinary example of artistic and architectural evolution.
The high medieval tower of Camerana stands among the castle ruins in the present structure of the village; the manor had belonged since the 13th Century to the Del Carretto family, who kept it for several centuries. The castle was extensively damaged during the war between the French and the Spanish in the 16th Century, but it was rebuilt and restored in the 19th Century and turned into a noble residence. Later it collapsed, but it is still possible to visit the tower.
Torre di Murazzano. This ancient building stands on a hilltop in a beautiful public garden which offers a wonderful view on the surrounding landscape The stone tower (with a square plan and a terraced top) is the one remain of the complex, surrounded by a few other ruins of related structures. It belongs to the municipality of Murazzano and it is open to the public.
The castle of Roddi is small but precious: a moment you can see it, but it will hide itself at the next curve. It was originally built as a defense castle and today you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama from there, almost like a picture. Roddi is on the hills towards Alba and it is a medieval village around its castle. Its origin goes back at the Roman period. Its name derives from Celtic (presumably “raud” or “rod” meaning “river”) and clearly designates the river Tanaro. The Castle was built in the XIV century by the ancient noble family of Falletti di Barolo. This family possessed other amazing castles such as that of Castiglione, Serralunga and Castellinaldo. Carlo Alberto di Savoia bought the Castle in 1836. In spite of the different owners, the high and massive castle preserved the typical characteristics of medieval buildings. Now, it hosts a cooking school and a museum devoted to the truffle and its “inventor”, Giacomo Morra.
The Castle of Serralunga d’Alba rises on the amazing landscape of Langa, in the very heart of Barolo wineyards and landscape The Castle of Serralunga d’Alba was built around 1340 and 1357 and it represents a unique example in Italy from the point of view of its architectural structure, because it is a French Donjon. It was not as important from the military point of view as it had an important role in the control of the local productive activities. This is shown by its strongly vertical structure, which underlined the prestige and richness of the family Falletti during the XIV century. During the XIX century many scholars were interested in the Castle of Serralunga d’Alba, which later became a national monument protected by the State. In 1949 the association “Opera Pia Barolo” (which was created by Giulia Falletti, the last descendant of the family Falletti di Barolo) sold the castle to the State. During that period the castle was renewed.
What to taste:
Since the early 14th Century there are records of wine making in this region, its proximity with France being both a challenge and an opportunity. The competition with the French in terms of food and wine or rather “Savoir Vivre” is always been very strong and it still alive even today. This rivalry increased the search for quality, exclusiveness and constant commitment to reach perfection.
Among the most important red wine we can mention the Nebbiolo, Barbera d'Alba, Barolo and Barbaresco A white wine worth a tasting is the Roero Arneis. You cannot miss the sweet wines too: Brachetto and Dolcetto among the most famous.
Langhe is also the territory of the Truffle (tartufo) the most expensive “mushroom” or fungi in the world. Alba’s Truffle is so famous that they named it Truffle of the White Mother "trifola d'Alba Madonna" thus giving it a sacred and holy image to this sought after ingredient for the most delicious dishes of the International Haute Cuisine.
The first Italian traditional food that I suggest you to try in Langhe Region is the “Salame Cotto” (a cooked salami served as a starter very typical here). Another famous Italian food of Piedmont is the “Carne Cruda all’albese”, a raw meat chopped with a knife and seasoned with pepper, olive oil and lemon. If you have a lot of appetite, you can enjoy two traditional Italian main courses: the mixed boiled meats with red and green sauces (“Bollito Misto alla piemontese con bagnetto verde e rosso“) or the mixed fry of the Piedmont (“Fritto misto alla Piemontese”), that is a very traditional dish made of 21 courses where almost everything is fried, including bisquits!. Of course you cannnot miss the traditional “Tajarin al Tartufo” (a typical hand-made egg pasta served with butter and small sliced truffles). Also the “Raviolini del Plin” (small ravioli stuffed with meat) and “Bagnacauda” (a typical dish with vegetables, milk cream, garlic and anchovies) are famous dishes of Piedmont and Langhe. Local cheeses include robiola, Murazzano, Bra tenero (soft) or duro (hard), bross.
Desserts have the Hazelnut as main protagonist. You have to taste the hazelnut cake (“Torta alla nocciola”), the “Bunnet” (a sort of pudding with chocolate and amaretti bisquits) and the “Torrone“. Very typical is the chocolate and hazelnuts cream. The famous “Nutella” produced by Ferrero Company but you can find less famous producers that produce handmade and superb chocolate and hazelnut creams!
Suggested accommodation: Boscareto Resort, where every detail draws inspiration from the territory the nature itself and the natural phases of the seasons.
Suggested to visit using an e-mountain bike to better intake the rare and real flavours of the region.
See also our TOUR – A GOOD YEAR – WINE DISCOVERY ON TWO WHEELS. DISCOVER THE LANGHE REGION WITH YOUR BIKE.