Roero, a generous land

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The Roero is few handfuls of variegated, multiform hills with marked contrasts: woods and cultivated fields, wild rocks and orderly geometries.

This territory extends on the left bank of the Tanaro Albese, an area suited for wine, in the past, but above all today, thanks to Arneis, Nebbiolo, and Favorita, but also for Barbera, Bonarda and the local Brachetto variety production. Alongside the dedication to the land, to the vine, to the peach, which flourishes on these hills; this land is famous for  the «Madernassa pears», which owe their name to the hamlet near Vezza d’Alba, without forgetting Sommariva Perno and Baldissero strawberries.

Let’s trace an itinerary through this area starting from Bra, a delicious path, which highlights the charm of the landscape and of history.

The Zizzola, Bra

The first obligatory stop is Santa Vittoria d’Alba, known for the remains of the mighty walls of the castle and for the high square tower. Definitely  worth a visit the Assunta parish church, the church of Santa Vittoria, demolished in the 1700s and the church of San Francesco with its precious frescoes dating back to the 400s by the painter Canavesio. A little further on, there is Monticello, which in the past was owned by the bishop of Asti, and repeatedly the subject of contention. Climbing through vineyards, you will see farmhouses and a partly wooded landscape and finally you will reach the Castle: a unique building with two full-height towers that passed towards the end of the ‘700 in the hands of the Roero family, still owners. Very beautiful then, the ancient chapel of San Ponzio, which bears on the façade the date of the works by the count Manfredo Roero. Today the chapel preserves frescoes of considerable value dating back to 1200. Sommariva Perno, on the other hand, is an ancient village rich artistically thanks to the parish church of the Holy Spirit, and the castle, purchased in 1857 by Vittorio Emanuele II and transformed into a hunting residence, home of the  wife Rosa Vercellana, countess of Mirafiori.

Descending towards Alba on the eastern side we find Baldissero d’Alba which preserves the old castle with its crenelated towers. Our itinerary continues towards the villages of Corneliano and Piobesi d’Alba which developed in the Middle Ages thanks to links with Alba. In the first centre we find the remains of the supporting walls of the ancient castle and the decagonal tower, the church of San Bernardino, while in Piobesi, you can see the church of San Rocco and that of Santa Maria in the hamlet of Bricco. A short distance along the directive for Canale we find Vezza d’Alba known for the famous church of the Madonna dei Boschi. Going up towards Turin we meet Canale known for its delicious peaches. A climb leads you to Montà dominated by the ancient castle, surrounded by an old park. The ‘Santuario dei Piloni’ on the border with Santo Stefano Roero, a charming town, definitely  worth a visit. To complete the itinerary, we find Monteu Roero and Montaldo Roero. The first, ancient town is located exactly between the upper and lower parts of the municipal area, which are different from each other for land and crops. In mid-September, the chestnut festival is organized in this centre. About 5 km from Monteu there is Montaldo Roero, a medieval fiefdom that preserves the mighty and cylindrical ancient castle tower, which is more than thirty meters high.

Castellinaldo and Castagnito are the towns that we encounter on the road that leads from Borbore to the neighbouring province of Asti. Castellinaldo is perched on an impervious hill and its summit  is the castle that once belonged to the Malabailas. Here too the watchword is wine, from Arneis alla Favorita, alongside the production of classic blacks. In Castagnito, instead, worth a visit the churches of San Giovanni and San Bernardo. On the road to Asti, turning your gaze towards the hills you can see a series of countries: Guarene, Magliano Alfieri and just beyond Govone. Towards the inside Priocca. Surprising yourself in the evening, immersed in a silence of lights to gaze at the landscape is an indispensable experience, for an eye that does not get tired of observing.

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