Municipalities of the Alta Langa: Borgomale

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Borgomale (lit. “borough of apples”) is the typical village in the heart of the Langhe; it is characterised by a towering castle on a hill which dominates the Berna creek, by the parish church of Sant’Eusebio Martire and by the municipal wine shop with its suggestive “Crutin” (literally winery) dug in the tuff.


Borgomale (known as “the borough of apples”, or “the borough of Adimaro”, from the name of its founder) has an elongated shape area; it is crossed for about 10 km by the state route number 29. From the bridge “Mabuc”, in the north side, it extends up to the Belbo river, in the south. The little historical centre arises on the tuff rocks close to the castle, and it conserves the grace of the medieval borough. From the 12th century, the Marquises of Vasto, the Marquises of Ceva and Cortemilia and, in succession, the Del Carretto of Gorzegno, the Della Chiesa, the Falletti, the Busca, the Rabino, the Prandi were lords of the town. Even Francesco Sforza, invading the lands of Monferrato in 1431, took possession of the castle of Borgomale. With the treaty of Cherasco (1631) the fief of Borgomale, together with 74 other Albanian lands, became a Savoy possession.

The castle

The ancient castle, named “castle of the five towers”, was built starting from 1429 by the Falletti of Alba, on the ruins of an ancient fortification of the XII century. To this fortified house it was possible to access only through a drawbridge. During the Baroque period it was built an external stair, painted with architectural decorations and lockets representing knights. Among the rooms there are also the hall of arms, the staircase of honour, the room of Caminata, the frescos hall and the walkway. In the place where the current terrace overlooks the Berria valley, arose a massive tower. 

The castle hosted Pope Pius VII during his trip to France for the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte. It is the manor house where it is set the romantic and tragic legend of Nella da Cortemilia, here segregated by the cruel feudal lord Lionello. According to other versions of the legend, Nella was born here, where her mother was reclusive as a prisoner. She was gave to a poor farmers family who took care of her and then fell in love with the lord of the village. After the discovering of her origins, she died due to the flood of the Bormida river. The manor has recently been bought by the professor of Turin Giovanni Massara, who has attended the restoration. Many noble families of Cuneo had been hosted here: the Carretto of Gorzegno, the Della Chiesa, the Falletti, the Busca, Rabino, the Prandi, the Canonica and also Francesco Sforza, who, in 1431, invaded the territory of Monferrato, which included the castle of Borgomale. With the trait of Cherasco (1631) the fief of Borgomale, along with others 83 lands of Alba, became property of the Savoy. 

In 2005 the work of art “Diciotto finestre di Borgomale” by Pinot Gallizio was exhibited in Mondovì. He is a painter who dreams to realise in Alba a city for the gypsies. In 1965 he promoted the first World Congress for the bohémiens. In the occasion of the summer event “Castelli aperti” the castle has been visited by many local and foreign tourists. 

The castle is opened to the public in some particular occasions, for example during the Patronal Feast, but normally it is closed because it is private.

The municipal wine shop

The restoration works ended in 2005 and they brought to the light the ancient wineries (named “crutin” and “infernot”) dated to the era of the construction of the castle of Borgomale.

The two “crutin” are open to the public; they are dug in the tuff and they have dome vault. They are on two underground floors; the first winery, the widest, was used as a store for wine and food; the second one, lower, was a kind of icebox: it was filled with snow to conserve meat.

This two “crutin”, without snow, have a constant temperature of 10-11°C with a moisture content of 80-90%. It has been restored to become a shop window for the promotion and the selling of typical products; it opens on Fridays 20.30 – 24.00, the other days it is opened upon reservation. The wine shop proposes the typical meal of the farmer traditions of the Langhe with local wine tasting, cold cuts, sheep law milk cheese, honey, marmalade and sweets made with hazels and spelled. 

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