The Land of the Moon and the Bonfires
The Langhe: known above all for its wine and cuisine, but also for its landscape and art.
A stunning region, full of vineyards and historic villages; its uncontaminated landscape criss crossed by medieval roads and dotted by patrician palaces, churches, and fortresses from a distant past that now blends with the present.
A land with so much to explore and taste. Alba is, of course, the heart of this area of Piedmont. A city famous for its truffles, as well as for its picturesque historic centre with the Duomo, Church of San Domenico, and medieval layout full of towers and fortified homes. Then there is Barolo, a town known for its famous wine. In 2014 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While strolling through the natural landscape and traversing vineyards, one may catch a glimpse of the Castello Falletti (with wine museum inside) and medieval village. The castle is a unique structure: climb the stairs to the top to enjoy a view of the gentle hills of the Langhe.
Then there’s Bergolo, the “stone town”; Neive, with its trattorias; Bossolasco, with its charming historic centre dotted with roses; Murazzano, known for its medieval tower and its typical cheese; and the tiny San Benedetto Belbo, where Beppe Fenoglio spent his summer holidays as a child. And of course Santo Stefano Belbo, the home of delicious Moscato wines, but above all the birthplace of the famous author Cesare Pavese who set the events of his last novel, La Luna e i Falò [The Moon and the Bonfires], here in this very area.
But while the hills of Piedmont were once explored through their history, through Pavese and Fenoglio, through their antiques and their peasant tradition, today this is no longer the case and it is, rather, contemporary art, with its avant garde writers and musicians, who have taken centre stage. These days people come from all over the world to visit the Barolo Chapel, on the road to La Morra, where a small church that was never consecrated (a shelter for 20th century harvesters) was painted by two internationally famous artists. The first, British artist David Tremlett, in the mid-1990s, painted the interior with the colours of Africa and Australia, while the second, American artist Sol LeWitt, transformed the exterior with his famous wall paintings.