Cities & Towns


Events & more...

km 5

Borgomale Castle The five-towered castle

Borgomale Castle pales in comparison to the other far more famous, much larger castles in the Langhe, but as it is located in hometown we would be amiss not to include it here.

This imposing medieval castle was built in the early 1400s on the site of an existing 12th century fortification by a rich banking family from nearby Alba—the Fallettis, who later became the Marquises of Barolo. The structure was once comprised of five towers, though at least four have disappeared over the centuries. The fifth may have also disappeared, but it seems to be part of the existing building. Entrance to the castle was once by drawbridge—the ropes used to raise and lower it passed through the long slit still visible on the façade. The drawbridge was replaced with a covered, external staircase during the Italian Baroque period (also still visible today).

Pope Pius VII is said to have sojourned at the castle during his journey to France for the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte. Borgomale Castle is also the site of the tragic Legend of Nella of Cortemilia.

The Community Wine Shop and much-acclaimed restaurant, I Crutin, is located on the castle grounds, as is the Borgomale town hall. This castle itself is a private residence.

km 18

Grinzane Cavour Castle The home of a national hero

Once the home of the architect of the Unification of Italy—Camillo Benso, the Count of Cavour—this magnificent castle sits imposingly perched on the top of a hill in the town of Grinzane Cavour near Alba. Information about its early history is scarce, though the castle’s origins have been diversely given as the 13th century or mid-14th century.

The castle is home to the rather large Langhe Museum, which is comprised of several rooms dedicated to rural civilization; ethnographic displays of original furniture items from the 19th century; the Count of Cavour; a hall of masks, which has a ceiling decorated with 157 panels featuring coat of arms, animals and allegory images; frescos and the white truffles of Alba. The castle also features an open-air museum—In Vigna—featuring the Count of Cavour vineyards, the Piedmont Regional Wine Shop, which was established in 1967 to showcase the Langhe wines, and a Michelin starred restaurant, Marc Lanteri Al Castello.

km 19

Roddi Castle A French-style castle

It is likely that the present castle was built on the site of an 11th century fortress by the powerful Roddese Falletti family towards the end of the 14th century. In 1526 it became the property of Count Gaio Francesco della Mirandola, grandson of the great philosopher and humanist Pico della Mirandola before passing to the Della Chiesa family in 1690 and to the House of Savoy in 1815 after the Vienna Congress, which was held after the Napoleonic wars to restore the territorial order of the European states and restore the legitimate power of the sovereigns. In 2001 the castle became the property of the Municipality of Roddi.

Like the nearby Serralunga d’Alba Castle, the Roddi Castle is essentially built in a French, donjon style—a towering, circular keep designed as a place of refuge should the castle be breached.

km 23

Guarene Castle A castle “built by correspondence"

The town of Guarene has been dominated for over seven centuries by some form of this castle: first as a Middle Ages fortress, then from the 18th century as the luxurious summer home of the Roero counts, and today as a luxury 5-star hotel.

In 1726 one of the Roero counts, Carlo Giacinto Roero di Guarene—an amateur architect—laid the first stone of the castle he had designed along with the famous Court of Savoy architect, Filippo Juvarra. For the next 23 years, Carlo Giacinto supervised the construction and furnishing of the castle on-site in the summer months, and in the winter, he sent daily and meticulous instructions by letter from Turin to the construction foreman—thus earning the castle the distinction of being “built by correspondence". After he died in 1749, Carlo Giacinto’s sons—Traiano and Teodoro—completed the castle.

This imposing, three-story building surrounded by elegant Italian-style gardens became a luxury 5-star hotel in 2011, though it has retained all of the hallmarks of the original castle.

km 24

Scarampi del Carretto di Pruney Castle A massive quadrangular block

The original castle was a large square tower that was modified sometime between the 12th and 13th centuries into a massive quadrangular block with two square towers on one end and a single circular towner on the other. Access to the castle is through a stone-arched door known as La Batajera. A long slit for passing ropes that once raised and lowered a drawbridge is still visible above the door.

The structure is embellished with ogival mullioned windows bearing the coat of arms of the Marquis Del Carretto family—the powerful lords who ruled the area until the 16th century.

The castle, most of which has been turned into an ethnographic museum, is almost entirely open to visitors, and the vast green that separates the castle from the nearby Sanctuary of the Madonna del Carmine is an ideal place for a summer picnic.

km 26

Serralunga d’Alba Castle An unfurnished fortress

The Serralunga d’Alba Castle is considered to be one of the best-conserved examples of 14th century noble castles of Piedmont. This slender, majestic castle was built on the site of a 12th century defensive tower between 1340 and 1357 as a military fortress for the Falletti family, in fact, there are no furnishings, as it was never used as a residence. Its towering keep—donjon in French—was rather avant-garde for the time, in fact, these types of tall circular towers are more common in French castles and are rather unique in Italy.

The spacious palacium—the original defensive tower—was the seat of public affairs where the lord of the castle administrated justice. The room above it was used as the living quarters for the troops stationed there and has a latrine carved into the wall—a relative comfort for that period. The third floor was an open, patrol walkway protected by merlons that was later roofed over from which there are spectacular views over the rolling, vineyard-covered hills of Barolo.

The Salone dei Valvassori—characterized by a coffered ceiling and a terracotta floor—is the main room of the castle. It has a small chapel that contains a 15th century fresco painted by an unknown artist that depicts the martyrdom of Catherine of Alexandria. Inside the adjacent circular tower, there is a trace of the so-called razor well—the final destination for those sentenced to death.

km 28

Magliano Alfieri Castle A young noble castle

The Magliano Alfieri Castle is one of the younger noble castles in the Langhe. Its construction was commissioned in the mid-17th century by Catalano Alfieri, a member of the Alfieri family of Magliano and Castagnole delle Lanze. Catalano died before the structure was finished. His son, Carlo Emanuele, completed the building towards the end of the century.

Part of the castle is a museum in its own right and part has been dedicated to museums of local culture. The grand Coat of Arms Hall has a high, pavilion vault decorated with the plaster coats of arms of the Alfieri family. Eagle Hall, so named for the subject matter of the frescos that adorn its ceiling, and the Nobel Chapel, with its frescos and paintings, are all part of the original castle.

The Antonio Adriano Civic Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions has a section dedicated to plaster ceilings—a very particular construction technique once widespread in the humble peasant houses of the lower Langhe. The Landscape Theater allows visitors to immerse themselves in the hills and rivers of the Langhe and Roero through the displays of cultural objects, documents, and an interactive, multimedia system.

km 28

The Roero of Monticello Castle A fortified residence

This castle has the distinction of being owned and inhabited by the same family—the Roero Counts of Monticello—since 1376. Its origins date back to the 10th century, when the Bishops of Alba commissioned the building of a defensive fortress on the site. This fortress was seriously damaged during a long siege that ended in 1187 and was rebuilt in 1348 by the Malabaila family. The Roero Counts received the territories of Monticello and Castagnito as their reward for having liberated the inhabitants of the area from oppressive feudal lords in 1376.

The Roero’s began a major restructuring of the castle that culminated in 1787 with the elimination of some of its defensive elements, which made the castle more suitable as a residence and earned it the title of a "typical example of a fortified residence". The castle has a unique architectural peculiarity: each of the three towers has a different form—one is square, one is circular and the other is octagonal.

Though still the private residence of the Roero family, much of the castle is open to the public.

km 34

The Royal Castle of Govone A summer residence fit for a king

Like many of the other Langhe castles, this one was also built on the remains of an earlier fortress. In the 17th century, the Solaro Counts, Lords of Govone commissioned the architect Guarino Guarini to expand and embellish the existing structure, and though he prepared the plans, he did not complete the endeavor. A century later, working from Guarini’s designs, the architect Benedetto Alfieri completed the project.

In 1792, with the death of Count Amedeo Lodovico Solaro, who had no direct descendants, the castle was purchased by Vittorio Amedeo III, King of Sardinia for his sons Carlo Felice, Duke of Genevese, and Giuseppe Benedetto Placido, Count of Moriana. The castle was confiscated by France after Napoleon’s invasion of Piedmont and bought at an auction by Count Teobaldo Alfieri di Sostegno in 1810. Prince Carlo Felice bought the castle from Alfieri in 1816 and thus resumed possession. When Carlo Felice became king, he chose Gavone Castle as one of his two summer residences (the other was the Ducal Castle of Agliè).

A particularity of the castle is the 18th century Chinese wallpaper, which was used to entirely decorate the four rooms of the princesses’ apartments—among the most significant of the genre, in terms of surface area, richness, and the number of scenes.

km 40

Castle of the Beraudo Counts of Pralormo Tiptoe Through the Tulips

The site of the castle was originally occupied by a 13th century fortress that was enlarged in the 14th century by the Pralormo branch of the Counts of Roero, who added the three towers still visible today. In 1399, the fiefdom—and thus the castle—was divided among three Roero bothers in equal parts and as the years passed, the number of heirs who owned a piece of the castle increased dramatically. Giacomo Beraudo—ancestor of the present owners—managed to obtain a third of the fiefdom in 1679 and the following year he was awarded the title of count. One of his descendants—Count Carlo Beraudo di Pralormo—obtained title to the entire castle in the early 1800s

The famous German landscape architect, Xavier Kurten—who was much in demand by the House of Savoy during the 19th century—designed a magnificent English garden to embellish the castle grounds. Each spring since 2000 the park is the site of Mister Tulip, a botanical event that features the flowering of thousands of tulips and daffodils. Each year, the tulips are freshly planted with different varieties and color schemes specifically chosen to illustrate the history of the tulip.

Another particularity of the castle is a huge collection of model trains—both electric and mechanical—the fruit of Count Edoardo Beraudo of Palormo’s passion. The collection, which started with a Marklin spring-wound train running on tracks set up on a billiard table, now spans three large rooms, complete with dioramas, highly detailed model-train stations, and tunnels bored through the walls.

km 0+

Wine Tasting On-sight, nearby, or further afield

As is situated in the heart of one of the world’s preeminent wine-growing areas and opportunities for tasting some very fine wines abound. We are also wine producers, so on-site tastings of our wines (and others) can easily be arranged. We can also recommend and arrange visits to many of the other local producers. Practically every town in the Langhe/Roero area has wine shops that offer wine tasting, some for free, some for a fee. Wine bars are also present in many of the towns. No matter if you prefer red, white, rosé, sparkling, or sweet wine, the area produces famous bottles of them all, and many not-so-famous, but nonetheless incredibly delicious wines, too.

Wine Tasting: On-sight, nearby, or further afield
km 0+

Savoring local products The Langhe/Roero area is more than wine

A platter of locally produced cured meats and cheeses is the perfect accompaniment for a glass of fine wine. The hams, sausages, salamis, and cheeses produced in the Langhe/Roero region are some of the finest in Italy, if not the world. We can prepare platters to be enjoyed by the pool, or recommend locales that serve them. Many of the wine shops and wine bars around the area offer platters of assorted cured meats and cheeses, or you can “do it yourself” by visiting one (or more) of the many open-air markets held throughout the Langhe/Roero territory where the vendors are more than happy to let you taste their products.

km 0+

Private cooking lessons Learn to make some great Italian dishes

When you return home, instead of just telling your friends about the wonderful food and wine experiences you had in Italy, prepare them some dishes yourself. Let them taste some of the delicious food you enjoyed while here—cooked by you, the Italian way.

We can organize cooking lessons in private homes where you can learn to cook some of the dishes of the amazing local cuisine. An Italian – English translator is available and the lessons are possible year-round.

Private cooking lessons: Learn to make some great Italian dishes
km 3+

Bike rentals Explore in the fresh air

The vineyard-covered hills surrounding are laced with winding dirt roads that can be explored on a bike in any season. Several facilities in the area rent both regular bikes and e-bikes that can be charged onsite. Some facilities offer accompanied bike rides, or you can bike the surrounding hillsides on your own.

Bike rentals: Explore in the fresh air
km 5

Horse riding Saddle up

Another enjoyable means of exploring the area is on horseback. The nearby Associazione Ippica San Bovo (San Bovo Equestrian Association) is an equestrian school and stable that offers accompanied horse rides year-round along the crests of the hills through the vineyards and chestnut trees. For the novice, they provide riding lessons for people of all ages.

Horse riding: Saddle up
km 18

The International White Truffle Fair of Alba Not just truffles

Each year, from the beginning of October to mid-December, the city of Alba goes all out in the celebration of its world-famous delicacy—the white truffle.

The fair originated in 1928 when Giacomo Morra, an Italian entrepreneur, organized an exhibit dedicated to the white truffle as part of the local harvest fair. Morra’s exhibit was such a success, the following year an entire fair dedicated exclusively to this exquisite tuber was organized.

Over the years the fair has grown to include art exhibitions, theater performances, concerts, and markets, which offer many of the area’s other gastronomic specialties—including, of course, wines— Medieval costumed historical and folklore commemorations, a beauty contest to elect the Queen of the Langhe, and much, much more.

The International White Truffle Fair of Alba
km 16+

Truffle hunting Only a simulation, but you might get lucky

A simulated truffle hunt with a local Trifulau (truffle hunter) and their amazing dogs is a pleasant way to spend a few hours in the woods of the Langhe. From October through December numerous Trifulau conduct these simulated searches to give visitors a rare opportunity to see this ancient endeavor up close. We personally know a few Trifulau and can assist in organizing a hunt.

Truffle hunting: Only a simulation, but you might get lucky
km 17

Alba Donkey Palio A Medieval revival

Every year on the first Sunday of October, the city of Alba holds a goliardic, bare-back donkey race (palio) in Piazza Osvaldo Cagnasso—a re-enactment of an event from the 13th century.

As the legend goes… In 1275 Alba was at war with the town of Asti. Troops from Asti set fire to the Monastery of San Frontiniano, just south of the town. As a display of their momentary supremacy, the people of Asti ran a horse race around the walls of Alba. Since in reality, all the Asti troops had done was to defeat a community of friars without affecting the integrity of Alba, the Podestà (Medieval magistrate) of Alba ordered a donkey race as a way of making fun of Asti’s “victory” celebration.

Because Asti has been running a horse palio every year since time immortal, Pinot Gallizio, an eclectic artist from Alba, thought it would be fun to revive the mockery of the town’s ancient rival and organized a donkey race in 1932. Since then, the palio has run every year (except for some periodic interruptions, like the Second World War).

Alba Donkey Palio: A Medieval revival
km 18

White Truffle World Auction For those with deep pockets

If you have some pocket change left over after buying your Ferrari and would like to delight your taste buds while also contributing to a charitable cause, this event is for you.

Every year since 1999 the world’s rich and famous gather, either in person or via a live connection, at the Grinzane Cavour Castle in early November to bid on the most prestigious specimens of the Tuber magnatum Picco. The auction is non-profit and the proceeds are donated to charities all around the world.

In the ensuing years, the event has grown to include other items on the auction block such as barrels of Barolo en primeur, magnum bottles of Barolo and Barbaresco wine, and giant panettone (a traditional Italian Christmas cake).

White Truffle World Auction: For those with deep pockets
km 41

The Asti Palio A tradition for over nine centuries

The palio was once only a bareback horse race that had been run nearly every year since at least the 13th century. Now it has become a traditional Italian festival that lasts several days and culminates with the race in Asti’s Piazza Alfieri on the third Sunday of September.

Considering the palio was already a tradition when the first recorded race was run in 1275 around the walls of Alba to taunt the population, it obviously had more ancient origins.

For nearly a week, Asti turns back the clock to medieval times. Colorfully costumed musicians, flag-wavers, and townsfolk parade through the streets of the town celebrating Asit’s past glory.

The Asti Palio: A tradition for over nine centuries
km 41

La Douja d'Or The best of Italian wines

The event, which began in 1967 and was named for la douja, an ancient, pot-bellied Piedmontese wine mug, is organized by the Asti Chamber of Commerce to promote Italian wines. Starting in the middle of September each year (the duration of the event varies), wine producers from all over Italy compete for the right to place the prestigious Douja d'Or on their labels. Judges for the event are from the Italian National Organization of Wine Tasters (ONAV).

During La Douja d'Or there are many exhibitions, concerts, and related events dedicated to wine tasting, spirits, vermouths, and Piedmontese cuisine. In some years a special section of La Douja d'Or is dedicated to food and wine from various parts of the world.

La Douja d'Or: The best of Italian wines
km 81

CioccolaTòThe ultimate chocolate experience

For ten days in late autumn each year, Turin’s baroque Piazza San Carlo emanates the decadent aroma of the food of the Gods—chocolate in all its forms and shades.

This annual chocolate fair is filled with cultural events, workshops, chocolate tasting, displays of Master Chocolatiers’ exceptional products, and chocolate-themed games and activities for children.

Turin has been the chocolate capital of Italy since the first hot chocolate was served in Turin in 1560 at the court of the Savoy, which fostered chocolate production in Piedmont by keeping the tax on cacao and sugar low.

CioccolaTò: The ultimate chocolate experience

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