The suggestive Monferrato, Piedmont region UNESCO heritage, rich in history, beautiful castles and food and wine delicatessen
The enchanting Monferrato, between wine and castles
Imagine walking on a beautiful autumn day, among paths that run through gentle hills, in the middle of the vineyards, or among woods and villages rich in history and traditions. All this is Monferrato, region of Piedmont between the provinces of Alessandria and Asti, UNESCO heritage since 2014, famous all over the world for its landscapes and its food and wine products. Here are produced among the best wines of Italy, to be enjoyed together with typical dishes, mushrooms, hazelnuts, cheeses and truffles. Visiting the Monferrato is a wonderful experience that satisfies all the senses.
Upper, Lower and Casalese Monferrato
The region is divided into three areas. Upper Monferrato, on the border with Liguria, is so said for its reliefs. Among the major centres are Novi Ligure, Ovada and Acqui Terme, each with important grape varieties in which red, white and sparkling wines are produced. In Acqui Terme, as the name suggests, you can enjoy the relaxation of thermal establishments. Also worth a visit is Gavi with the famous Medieval Fort, and Ponzone, which, growing on the coast of a hill 25 km long, enjoys a beautiful panorama of the surrounding hills. The Lower Monferrato includes several municipalities where, in addition to wines, grappa is also produced. The most important municipality is definitely Asti, a beautiful medieval town, famous for the palio and truffles, rich in history and monuments. In this area do not miss a visit to the “infernot”, small caves dug under the houses, once used to store food and as a hangout, recently rediscovered. Completing this magnificent region there is the Monferrato Casalese, whose landscape is formed by the plain crossed by the river Po, where rise the largest rice paddies of Italy. Visit Casale Monferrato, its beautiful historic centre and the civic tower.
The Monferrato is also known for the presence of castles dominating many villages. There is a path that starts from Ovada and touches eleven other municipalities, each with its castle: Molare, Cremolino, Prasco, Morsasco, Trisobbio, Orsara Bormida, Montaldo Bormida, Carpeneto, Roccagrimalda, Tagliolo Monferrato and Belforte Monferrato. Also worth seeing are the castles of Sannazzaro, Razzano, Lajone, Gabiano and Piea.
Thanks to its particular shape of the land and the continental climate, the Monferrato is a real paradise for wine lovers. It is difficult to define for non-experts a geography of the wines produced here, almost all DOC. In general, we can say that Dolcetto and Brachetto are produced in Acqui Terme; in Asti Barbera, Moscato and Grignolino. Also Ovada is the land of Barbera, while Novi Ligure is known for its Moscato, Cortese, Gavi and other excellent dry white wines, sparkling wines and Spumante.
Note: each area generally produces the characteristic wines of the whole Monferrato, but each has its own peculiarities. Every grape is an excellence, every wine is an ever new emotion. Cheers!
Where to stay in Monferrato
Continuing west, leaving behind Casale Monferrato, head towards Solonghello: it is a small medieval village that still retains a beautiful castle, typical of the area, once home of the local lords. A few minutes from the castle you can stay in an authentic historic residence, Locanda dell'Arte: always open, this elegant structure once housed the asylum of the country. It has 15 rooms of various types and sizes and offers its guests every comfort, from the indoor pool with spa area to the restaurant where you can enjoy traditional dishes and wines of Monferrato. An immense park and a suggestive panorama given by the nearby hills, with their changing colors in every season, together with the many places of cultural interest nearby, make it the ideal retreat for a holiday or a weekend to relax.
The Locanda dell'Arte is the right solution if you want to enjoy Monferrato!