Progetto Turris: look at the territory from the top of the towers

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The Turris project carries out the networking of the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato Towers for a total of 13 fortified structures with the creation of a tourist ring of over 200 Km.

of Nadia Toppino

It was May 30th, 2016 when the “Turris” Association was established with the intention to coordinate all the municipalities of Langhe Roero and Monferrato or of the UNESCO site area in which historical towers were present.

In November 2019 the Turris project carries out the networking of the Towers of the territory, for a total of 13 fortified structures with the creation of a tourist ring of over 200 Km.

Barbaresco, Corneliano d’Alba, Santa Vittoria d’Alba, Viarigi, Santo Stefano Belbo, Cortemilia, Albaretto della Torre, Rocca Cigliè, Murazzano, Camerana, Castellino Tanaro, Castelnuovo di Ceva and Niella Belbo are the municipalities that today have joined the initiative.

The promoter of the initiative, Pietro Giovannini, recalls that the UNESCO recognition was not given to the natural landscape but to the cultural one, that is a landscape codified and made unique by man over the centuries:

“To grasp the essence of a landscape, there is nothing better than rising from the ground and admiring what surrounds us. And the towers represent an important resource in this sense, because they are monumental assets that have always fascinated arousing imagination and interest in people of all ages ”

The municipalities of the project are not only fascinating in themselves but allow us to perceive first and better a unique territorial geomorphology that unites the Apennine mountains (and in the case of Castelnuovo di Ceva, even the distant sea line itself) to the first hills of Roero, Langhe and Monferrato .

Here is the list of towers that are currently included in the project:

  • Albaretto della Torre: the tower dates back to the XI-XIII century and is municipal property. Located in the public square of Albaretto, it was built in stone and has a square shape (dimensions are: side 5 m x height 28 m). At the top there is a triple order of hanging arches. This element, in addition to the distinctive frieze, also determines the overhang of the terrace at the top.
  • Barbaresco: the tower dates back to the 12th-14th century and is municipal property. Located in the historic centre, it was built in brick and has a square shape (side dimensions 9 m x height 30 m). Its specificity, only recently detected, is the very rare one, concerning its external brick wall structure that contains another pre-existing one, less elevated and filled with earth and rubble, in function of a solid base.
  • Camerana: the tower dates back to the 12th-13th century and is municipal property. Located in the public square, it was built in stone and has a rectangular shape (side dimensions 4 mx 5.5 m x height 37 m). The high tower, although severed at the top, is made of cut stone.
  • Castellino Tanaro: the tower dates back to the XI-XIII century and is municipal property. Located in the panoramic fortress, it was built in stone and has a round shape (dimensions are: diameter 10 m x height 32 m). An interesting document of 1387 in which the marquis Giovanni di Ceva redefines the agreements with the local community, also foreseeing that the men of Castellino must provide for the custody of the door of the upper ricetto of the castle, and that they must repair the damages and help the marquis « ad castellandum, riparandum et fortificandum castrum et turrim Castellini … ».
  • Castelnuovo di Ceva: the tower dates back to the 13th century and is municipal property. Located in the panoramic fortress, it was built in stone and has a square shape (dimensions are: side 5 m x height 25 m). The towers were historically two; the remaining main tower, which had for some time been left at the top, probably dates back to the first half of the 13th century.
  • Corneliano d’Alba: the tower dates back to the 13th century and is privately owned. Located in the panoramic fortress, it was built in brick and has a decagonal shape (dimensions are: side 2.3 m – diameter 9 m – height 22 m). The peculiarity is in the precisely cut corner bricks to accommodate the angle resulting from the specific geometric system.
  • Cortemilia: the tower dates back to the XI-XIII century and is municipal property. Located in the panoramic fortress, it was built in stone and has a round shape (diameter 8.30 m x height 30.3 m). The great master tower, which remained untidy but still with six floors and one underground, was erected in the second half of the thirteenth century, commissioned by the Marquis Manfredo Del Carretto or his son.
  • Murazzano: the tower dates back to the XI-XIII century and is municipal property. Located in the historic center, it was built in stone and has a square shape (side 5.5 m x height 33 m). From historical documents: “Going up with a ladder leaning outside the door of the tower, there is a vast chamber … a trap door opens above a large room, which has for its floor the tuff [marne] of the hill and is devoid of openings: evidently a dreadful prison .. “
  • Niella Belbo: ​​the tower dates back to the 12th-15th century and is municipal property. Visible are the remains of a castle, datable to the first half of the 13th century, which was completely destroyed during the seventeenth-century wars: instead keep the square-based tower with two entrances and a tower-gate, both located inside the  town .
  • Rocca Cigliè: the tower dates back to the XI-XIII century and is privately owned. Located in the public square, it was built in stone and has a square shape (side 4.5 m x height 28 m). According to historical memories of the end of the nineteenth century it is the “tall tower that is said of eight trabucchi which indicates where the castle once stood …”
  • Santa Vittoria d’Alba: the tower dates back to the XIII-XIV century and is privately owned. Located in the panoramic fortress it was built in brick and has a square shape (side 9 m x height 30 m). The raising of the pre-existing main tower and the strengthening of the castle’s perimeter structures are unique examples of the types of defences of the stately complexes in the Roero area.
  • Santo Stefano Belbo: ​​the tower dates back to the 10th-12th century and is privately owned. Located in the panoramic fortress it was built in stone and has a rectangular shape (dimensions: sides 9 x 7 x h 26 m). For a long time it has been reduced to an imposing ruin, but its dominant position and its uniqueness established for a long stretch in the Belbo valley make it a historical and architectural testimony of undoubted value.
  • Viarigi: the tower dates back to the 14th century and is public property. Located in the panoramic fortress it was built in brick and has a square shape (side 5.8 m x height 26.5 m). The Tower has always been called “dei Segnali” and is the result of stratifications of interventions following the original construction, and has been completely restored in recent years.

It is possible to make a tour of the towers with an estimated journey time of about 5 hours. But it is in tranquillity that it is necessary to enjoy the landscape and the beauties, savouring the different areas that this project wants to enhance.

Here you can discover the territory through the food and wine  specialties (and then a special mention must be made of the Regional Enoteca of Barbaresco, Roero and Coline del Moscato, as well as the Consortiums for the protection of the Piedmont Hazelnut and Murazzano PDO) or through the natural beauties (as the Eco museum of the Rocche di Corneliano, the tourist truffle ground of Barbaresco, the Natural Reserve of the Sources of Belbo in Camerana, the Ecomuseum of the Terrazzamenti in Cortemilia), you can choose literary oaths (following the poems of Beppe Fenoglio, Cesare Pavese, Augursto Monti and Luigi Einaudi) or do some sports  (think about the ascents of the champions of Albaretto, Rocca Cigliè, Murazzano … and  the great crossing of the Langhe that reaches the sea!). Langhe means also still art (there are places rich in Romanesque and Gothic frescoes in the various churches …).

It is worth making a tour of the Towers to discover the city from a different perspective and enjoy a tasting experience with the local products!

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Progetto Turris

Informations: Tel +39 335 803 88 84 ; info@turris-piemonte.it

Sede: Piazza del Municipio, 1 – 12050 Barbaresco (CN)