This year the vineyard landscape of the Monferrato area together with Langhe-Roero was recognised as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Monferrato is a series of hills below the River Po in the southeast corner of Piedmont. Still off the radar of many tourists this area is one of Italy attractions and is certainly worth discovering if you are a lover of Italian culture, history, good wine and food.
Monferrato is often described as a “cultural landscape” as what we see there today is a result of collaboration between nature and man. The rolling hills are dotted with medieval castles and numerous vineyards sweep across the horizon.
The Monferrato area boasts some of the most beautiful castles in Italy. One of them, Castello di Camino, dates back to the 11th century. Its splendid frescoed halls have seen many royal guests over the centuries. Another magnificent castle worth visiting is the 13th century Castello di Uviglie. It sits in a prominent position overlooking the Monferrato hills. The castle is private property but it is possible to make an appointment to organize a visit. There is an excellent restaurant inside and the owners of the castle produce excellent wines.
Monferrato is one of the most famous wine regions in Italy. Award-winning Barbera d’Asti, Asti spumante, Dolcetto d’Asti and the Gavi are coveted by wine connoisseurs worldwide, so a visit to a vineyard is a “must” if you are in the area.
Food is another great attraction in Monferrato. Its traditional cuisine will satisfy the most refined palates: rich egg pasta tajarin, delicious meat ravioli agnolotti al plin, various risotto dishes with wild mushrooms and wine, hearty meat sausages and oxtail cooked in wine. The area is also known for its white truffles of Montechiaro d’Asti, that, according to some experts, are as good as the ones from the nearby Alba area.
In case you overindulge on all the delicacies that Monferrato has to offer, head to the small town of Acqui Terme. Sipping on the termal water from the local hot sulphur springs will cure you from any symptoms of immoderation and make you want to continue getting to know the wonderful hills Monferrato.
Photos by: Angelo Amboldi, Andrea Marchisio, Regione Piemonte.