of Nadia Toppino
A city on a human scale, which in recent years has increasingly become an appreciated tourist destination, thanks to the events that animate this little gem of Piedmont.
Situated between the hills of the Roero, land of “fortresses”, vineyards and castles, the city of Bra is a crossroads of history, culinary excellence and culture.
Of ancient origins, it has roots that date back to the Neolithic age and touch the Roman Empire and the Savoy dynasty, whose traces are still clearly visible in the area. Today it is a city of almost 30 thousand inhabitants, famous in Italy and in the world for being the home of the Slow Food movement, for its excellent sausage, for its international opening events and for being one of the cradles of Piedmontese baroque.
Walking through its streets you will discover its squares, the rounded façade of the Palazzo Comunale, the church of Santa Chiara, a masterpiece of the royal architect Bernardo Antonio Vittone, the church of the Trinity, also known as the “Battuti Bianchi“. And then, there are the museums of Natural History, Art and Archaeology and Toy and the central Via Cavour, a meeting place, of cafés and historic places, where the writer Giovanni Arpino used to spend his days. We cannot forget the Zizzola, a symbolic building of the city that, from the top of the Monteguglielmo hill, dominates the city and the medieval Palazzo Mathis, subjected to an important intervention during the eighteenth century and to the baroque taste of the time, owes its current appearance. Inside, on the noble floor, are the works of greatest artistic value with numerous frescoes from the seventeenth century and oil paintings dating back to the eighteenth century. The building, renovated with the contribution of the Cassa di Risparmio di Bra Foundation, today houses the city’s Tourist Office and is a prestigious venue for exhibitions and cultural events.
November can be an excellent time for a visit to Bra, to better enjoy the autumnal delights of local restaurants, and also delight sight and cultural spirit with some exhibitions.
In this period Palazzo Mathis hosts the photographic exhibition “Roero”: this UNESCO World Heritage land with extraordinary landscapes of wine, rich in ancient villages and castles perched on the hills, fortresses and traditions will be at the centre of the event scheduled from 8th September to 8th December, with 39 large format images.
The author of the shots is the photographer Carlo Avataneo, professor of Literature, journalist and author of books and calendars, including the one, famous and now in its 33rd edition, which tells about Piedmont, its culture and its landscapes through photography . During his career as a photographer, Avataneo won first prize at the prestigious European Photo of the Year (Tuttifotografi 1986), at the portrait contests (Photographic Progress 1988) and at the International Hanbury Gardens Award, 1999 edition, which in the ambit of Grinzane Cavour reported the best photo book of the year on landscape, parks and gardens.
He has made numerous exhibitions and screenings, including the exhibition I Luoghi del Spirito in Piedmont which, received in the spaces of the RAI Auditorium in Turin, accompanied the Exposition of the Shroud and the Places of Cavour in Piedmont, part of the calendar of events of Italy 150.
The exhibition “Roero”, sponsored by the European Union, the Piedmont Region and the Consorzio Tutela Roero, can be visited free of charge from Sunday 8th September to 8th December 2019, on 9-12.30 and 15-18 from Monday to Friday and from 9 to 12.30 on Saturday and Sunday.
We give you some suggestions:
The visit to the exhibition is also a gastronomic stage, walking through the centre you can stop in several characteristic and historic restaurants.
- Osteria del Boccon Divino, Via Mendicità, 14. Opened in 1984, it offers dishes anchored to the traditions of Langa and Roero. The Osteria is located inside the courtyard that houses the Slow Food national headquarters and is developed on the first floor with three rooms. The wine list includes the small and large wineries of the Langa and Roero with important national and foreign presences.
- Osteria Murivecchi, Via G. Piumati, 23., where in 1880 there were the first Barolo aging cellars of the Ascheri family, a real tavern was created where you can eat following the menu written on the blackboard, made only of typical Piedmontese dishes , with a family service on old wooden tables and the chance to taste wines by the glass.
- Badellino Restaurant, Piazza XX Settembre, 4. Four-generation chefs, the Badellino family since 1917 has been offering genuine products from the Langhe and Roero area. Here we celebrate the “cultural rite” of the trolley of appetizers, first and second courses. Never fail the Bra Sausage and peppers with anchovies, always on paper the typical dishes of Piedmontese and Langa cuisine: agnolotti del plin, tagliatelle, fondue, braised in barbera, lamb, trout, seasonal vegetables.
- Battaglino Restaurant, Piazza Roma, 18. Founded in 1919, it has always been a bastion of genuine Piedmontese cuisine: rigorously raw Bra sausage, vitello tonnato, crepes with mushrooms, vegetable pies. In this period the boiled mixed with sauces and the tripe with celery and leeks from Cervere is a must.
- La Bula, Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, 25. The right place for those who prefer fish. It is located under the “wing” part of the market in the historic centre, where in the past the fish stalls were positioned. It is not uncommon to dine accompanied by a pleasant background music played by the various jazz artists who sporadically perform.
- Pollenzo Agency Restaurant, Via Fossano, 21 (Pollenzo Bra). The restaurant is characterized by local cuisine in full harmony with the Slow Food philosophy and careful research into the choice of raw materials. The presence of products from Slow Food Presidia is accompanied by a lively cuisine capable of enhancing its qualities and flavours.