Montà or Montà d’Alba (La Montà in Piedmontese) is part of the geographical delimitation of the Roero. It is the second municipality located further north of its province after Ceresoled’Alba.
The obligatory stop is the Piloni Sanctuary with the Way of the Cross, a place of worship of pre-Christian origin, and a varied outdoor offer with the Trail Network, which will take you to discover the majestic Rocche di Montà.
For sports enthusiasts there is also the indoor and outdoor municipal swimming pool, and the Valle delleRocche Outdoor Centre for mountain bikers.
The passage already in Roman times of an important road that went up the slope (the mounted mud) and ancient finds document a remote interest in the area. Around the year 1000 the formation of the “villa” begins (between the eighteenth-century bell tower and the old parish church), while other settlements are forming in the surroundings (Morinaldo, Desaia, Laione, Turriglie, Tuerdo) with its cemetery church and its own territory. But everything changed in the mid-1200s, when the Municipality of Asti, determined to annihilate its opponents (especially the Biandrate accounts) to keep the trade routes open, shocked the entire area. In 1257 the decentralized settlements mentioned were completely or partially destroyed or depopulated: the inhabitants were forced to merge into the “villanova”, which widened like a fan from the ancient villa and into which exiled Anterisian exiles who did not consider moving in the “villanova” of the nearby Canale. In 1363 the fief of Montà was purchased by the Roero family, who in 1441 sold it to the Malabaila of Asti, by extinction of which it reached the Isnardi di Sanfré at the end of the 16th century, then at the end of the 17th century at the Parella di S.Martino, then to the Wilcardels, and half to the Falletti of Barolo. The inhabited area suffered several times because of the wars, but the worst episode occurred on July 7TH, 1691, when five thousand soldiers of the French general Catinat reached the country and in reprisal they sacked and burned all the houses. This episode is recalled during the September festival held every year in the town.
WHAT TO SEE
Parish of Sant’Antonio Abate
During the sixteenth century the Malabailas had the ancient oratory near the castle demolished, in the highest part of the villa, and had the parish church of Sant’Antonio Abate built. The structure is still late Gothic, with the central nave articulated on five arches and the lateral ones only on four. The choir is solved with five corners and respective pilasters. During the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries the church was widely reshaped, and today’s bell tower and facade were built.
Castle of the MorraLavriano
The castle of Montà has relatively late origins because the ancient Roman fortress stood at another point, and today it has totally disappeared. It was built where we can still admire it in 1363 at the behest of the Roero, but was completely rebuilt by the Isnardi family in 1647.
The geographical position on the important passage from the basin of Canale to the Po plain places the manor in great history, but together it brings sad pages that see it being sacked and impaired: in 1544 for part of the imperial troops of the Marquis of Vasto ; in 1691, by 5,000 French under the orders of Catinat, who in retaliation set a branch on fire, together with the villa.
Today it appears as a gentle seventeenth-century dwelling complete with a finely decorated round tower, large porch, elegant hall of honour, scenographicaccess portal and large garden. Inside there are still magnificent paintings and frescoes of architecture painted in trompe l’oeil, as well as a tunnel that is lost in the dark, an internal well with the imposing wheel for the extraction of water and the fascinating prisons.
It stands near the ancient door of the villa, and was built by Asti after 1257 to symbolize a new community, no longer dependent on local lords. The continuous repairs and suburbs of the first decades of the XVIII century. induce the Municipality in 1754 to proceed with the reconstruction of the work. Commissioned to the wall master Antonio Broglio, the new bell tower uses the materials of the old tower and, in addition, another 115,000 of bricks and pantiles, as well as 632 pieces ‘between paintings and tiles’; in 1756 and 1780 the clock faces are affixed. Behind the tower there is a suggestive panoramic balcony.
Confraternity of San Michele
It was started on the Piazza degliAjrali by the CompagniadeiDisciplinati in 1845 and ended in 1854. Currently located in Piazza S. Michele. Outside it has a neoclassical facade and a pleasant bell tower; inside three longitudinal naves, two altars and a large choir for the company’s office. The decorative apparatus is from 1907, the work of Lorenzo and Costantino Mossello; the gilding is by Bernardo Arduino. The cave of the Virgin of Lourdes has been located on the right side since 1910. S. Michele is also remembered for having been the church of the canonical Servant of God Francesco Chiesa, eminent personality of the Albese diocese in the first decades of the 1900s and co-founder of the Pious Society of Saint Paul.
It is currently used for conferences and can be visited on request.
Sacro monte deiPiloni
It is the smallest PiedmonteseSacro Monte, surrounded by lush nature, between vineyards and chestnut trees. It is an ancient religious complex of pre-Christian origin and a destination for pilgrimages from remote times, overlooking the panoramic Valdiana. Consisting of the Romanesque Church of Sts. Giacomo minor and Filippo, the thirteen hexagonal chapels of the Via Crucis containing coloured plaster statuary groups depicting the scenes of the Passion of Christ, and a final stop, the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the model of that of Jerusalem, at the highest point of the entire route.
The Church of Sts. Giacomo minor and Filippo has an ancient history. It is in fact certain that there was a religious building here well before the thirteenth century. Towards the end of this century, however, it was rebuilt, and in some parts of the church the Romanesque and Gothic construction methods can still be observed. For example, the bas-reliefs in the brick shelves on the side of the church date back to the second half of the thirteenth century. They represent human figures, zoomorphic or simple decorations.
In some parts of the wall the first examples of transition between the late Romanesque and Gothic periods can be identified. The facade still shows brick decorations arranged in a sawtooth and an ogival shaped window. The church has undergone numerous changes over the centuries.