The hillsides of the Langhe and Roero are rendered so unique thanks to the presence of all the castles, historical residences and towers which are scattered on the hillsides and around which the many townships of the Alba and Bra districts have grown up.
BAROLO - Castello dei Marchesi Falletti di Barolo
Piazza Falletti, 1
This fascinating and imposing structure tells the story of more than one thousand years of a history filled with innuendo and interesting facts. A visit to the Falletti Castle (Castello Falletti) located right in the centre of Barolo, begins on the piano nobile in the large and luminous Sala delle Quattro Stagioni (The Hall of the Four Seasons), which takes its name from the four paintings above the doors, each dedicated to one season of the year. This room leads to the Sala degli Stemmi (The Hall of the Coats of Arms), where the ceiling is decorated with the emblems of the Falletti family, to the room of the Marchioness Colbert, and, finally to Silvio Pellico’s room where the walls – which appear to be covered in cloth – are actually painted with trompes l’oeil. This room leads to the Library where the author of “Le Mie Prigione” had access to more than 3,000 volumes still well preserved today. On the second floor, an Ethnographic-Oenological Museum is found, while Barolo’s Regional Wine Cellar (Enoteca) is located in the castle’s cantinas. From the castle’s terrace, a beautiful view of the lower Langhe focuses in on the vineyards.
BORGOMALE - Castello di Borgomale
piazza castello, 3
Telefono: 0173 529031
The little town of Borgomale, known to food-lovers for its gastronomic specialties and for its sparkling Dolcetto wine, has an ancient castle which was built, beginning in 1429, most probably on the remains of an ancient tower. It is a huge, imposing structure, a fortress built obviously for defensive reasons. When, in 1630 after peace with Cherasco, Borgomale fell under the dominion of the Savoy, the castle became nothing more than summer home for the Savoy nobles.
BRA - Palazzo Traversa
Via Parpera, n 9
Seat of the Museo Civico Storico Archeologico (Civic Historical Archeological Museum), Palazzo Traversa has very ancient origins. The building’s original core dates back to the 15th century and to the rich Malabayla family who chose Bra as their main home. A wonderful example of Gothic architecture, the palazzo has the characteristics typical of that period The high soaring façade is divided into four levels by jutting cornices and moulds characterized by two pointed double-arched windows with stone capitals and refined terracotta decorations; the main entrance and the dovetail crenellation are from a later period, as are the Baroque entrances located on the sides of the structure. The back of the house and the side facing the garden are very simple and austere - not having any formal functions, they were intended for the family’s daily life.
CASTIGLIONE FALLETTO - Castello di Castiglione Falletto
Of ancient origin, Falletto’s Castiglione Castle (Castello di Castiglione) is a “Castrum et villa”, property of the Marquisate of Saluzzo. Various noble families took turns, over the centuries, ruling the town dominated by the imposing quadrangular fortress. About mid-way through the 19th century, the castle’s owners were the Vassallo family of Dogliano who oversaw a good deal of restoration work carried out on the fortress, which gave it the dignity of a noble residency. When the Marquisate of Saluzzo fell, the castle became the property of the Dauphin and, then, of the Savoy. An interesting fact: on the outer bastions, several caper plants have been growing for some time, completely spontaneously. It is not by chance that every year, during the month of June, an event is dedicated to this plant, an event that links a major showcase of prized, local wines to this not truly “indigenous”, Mediterranean plant.
CHERASCO - Palazzo Salmatoris
via Vittorio Emanuele, 31
Telefono: 0172 489101 – Fax 0172 427055
At present, the property of the town, Palazzo Salmatoris was built between 1616 and 1620 by the nobleman, Giovanni di Audino Salmatoris who, in Lyon, made his fortune in the silk trade. The palazzo’s history is interwoven with the historical events that took place in the first years after it was built, in which Cherasco played a leading role. In 1631, while plague and war raged, the building welcomed and gave refuge to Vittorio Amedeo I and to his wife, Crsitina di Francia; in 1706, the Holy Shroud was packed away in the little hall “of silence” out of fear that it would end up in the hands of the French. Also in this symbolic place, Napoleon signed the 1796 armistice of Cherasco. In the mid 19th century, the palazzo was acquired by the Paoletti del Melle di Busca family who began important restoration work, calling in the best craftsmen and artists of the time to work on the project. Today, it is an important cultural and artistic centre, the ideal spot for exhibits and cultural events.
GOVONE - Castello Reale di Carlo Felice di Casa Savoia
Piazza Roma, 1
Tel: +39 0173-58103
Previously owned by the Solaro Earls, the Castello di Govone became a possession of the Savoy in 1792. In 1686, the diplomat Ottavio Francesco Solaro started the restoration of the old Medieval castle, closely linked to the village, truly transforming the palace thanks to the work of architect Guarino Guarini. In the second half of the 18th century, the Solaros acquired several particularly valuable statues (atlantes, dogs, river allegories and the statues of the two Moors), which had been ejected from the Royal Palace of Venaria Reale following the dismantling of the 17th-century park; the statues were integrated in the design of the main façade and of the double staircase in the entrance hall. The 19th-century phase was characterised by the rearranging of the interiors and by the renovation of the decorations, chosen by Charles Felix and his wife between 1819 and 1825, and carried out by the architect Michele Borda from Saluzzo; particularly noteworthy are the frescoes, the wooden and the mosaic floors, while, among the wooden furnishings, those realised by Giuseppe Maria Bonzanigo stand out.
GRINZANE CAVOUR - Castello di Grinzane Cavour
via castello, 5
This is one of the oldest and most imposing castles in the Langhe. The huge construction has two square towers – one large and stocky, the other tall and slender – linked to two cylindrical towers. After many owners, it belonged to the Marquis of Monferrato near the end of the 15th century; through inheritance, it then became the property of the Dukes Clermont-De Tonnerre, uncles of Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, who, not only chose the castle as his private residence, but acted as its mayor from 1832 until 1849. At present, the castle houses the Piedmont Regional Cavour Wine Cellar and an Ethnographic Museum. The castle is the permanent seat of the “Grinzane Cavour Literary Prize”.
GUARENE Castello di Guarene
Via Alessandro Roero, 2
Telefono: 0173 - 611101
In the heart of the Roero area, in one of its best preserved towns, is one of the most beautiful manor homes in Piemonte, the Castello (Castle) di Guarene. It was built in 1726 by Count Carlo Giacinto Roero, a leading figure in Piemonte society during the first half of the 18th century and a man of great culture and humanity, to take the place of a more ancient 13th century castle. Today, it is the property of the counts Provana di Collegno, who inherited it from the last of the Roero family, but is open to the public for exhibits and special events. The castle, built respecting Juvarra-inspired designs, is a very elegant, majestic structure. Inside the castle, the various rooms are sumptuous and richly furnished with period furniture and objects. Two gardens complete the property. The first one, created where there was once a riding school, is a formal garden designed following the fashion of a “garden labyrinth”; the second one, in front of the palazzo’s rear entrance, is a classic example of an Italian-style garden. It was designed by Carlo Giacinto Roero himself, who nurtured a great passion and interest for gardening and who, in order to create his project, asked the gardener from the castle at Govone, Xavier Kunter, to help him.
GUARENE - Palazzo Re Rebaudengo
Piazza del Municipio
Tel: 011.3797600 Fax: +39.011.3797601
Completely restructured and modified to be an exhibition space, this 18th century building has been the seat of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo since 1997, a European hub of research and experimentation in the contemporary arts. The original structure with its simple, horizontal lines proved particularly well suited to be turned into a large and luminous exhibit space easily accessible to the public. Next to the rooms used for exhibits is a 150 square meter video room for installations and special projects. One part of the palazzo, however, has retained its original aspect, creating a fascinating contrast between the ancient and the modern.
MAGLIANO ALFIERI - Castello degli Alfieri di Magliano
Piazza Raimondo, 1
Tel: +39 0173-66117
The structure was built between 1649 and 1680. Of noteworthy interest are the noble chapel and the room with the coats of arms of the Alfieri family done in the 19th century in plaster by stucco artists from Lucania. The castle, cited by Vittorio Alfieri in his letters, has housed, since 1994, the Museo delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari – Cultura del gesso (Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions – The Culture of Plaster) which documents a particular area artistry: the plaster work on the ceilings of farmhouses in the area of Roero, Monferrato, and the Bassa Langa, very popular, ethnographically, in this geographical area between the 16th and 19th centuries. This phenomenon can be explained by the area’s high number of gypsum caves which furnished an abundant and economical material. In the rooms of the castle, about a hundred decorative motifs are documented and various uses of plaster in local building construction are illustrated.
MANGO - Castello dei Marchesi di Busca
Piazza Castello, 19
Tel: +39 0141-89291 - Fax +39.0141.839914
Imposing and Baroque, yet with basic and sombre lines, Mango Castle (Castello di Mango) is located in the heart of the Langhe and dominates the town’s ancient hamlet, offering visitors a singular and spectacular view of the surrounding hills. Property of the Duke of Mantua and then of the Savoy starting in 1714, today it houses the Regional Wine Cellar (Enoteca) of Moscato Wine and a restaurant with a party room where, every year, cultural events are held.
MONESIGLIO - Castello Dei Caldera
Tel: +39 0174-92316
The Monesiglio Castle (Castello di Monesiglio) located along the Bormida River, where the lands of the Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato meet, has a rectangular layout dominated by a crenellated tower. Built by the Caldera family in the 13th century as a defensive structure, it was, after various fortunes and many owners, purchased by the Aglie family and turned into a noble residency in 1785. The Armory and the "Party Hall" ("Salone delle Feste") are located on the piano nobile, while the "Pink Room" ("Sala rossa") and the noble "Hall of the Coats of Arms" ("Sala degli Stemmi"), recently restored to its original splendor, are located on the second floor. During the restoration work carried out during the 1940's in the castle's interior chapel, prized frescos dating back to the 16th century and attributed to the artist Antonio Occello da Ceva were uncovered.
MONTICELLO D’ALBA - Castello di Monticello d'Alba
Via Castello n° 1
Tel: 0173 - 64113
"You see a huge hill all covered in vineyards and farmsteads and wooded and bare at tips," writes Cesare Pavese in Paesi tuoi while looking out over Monticello d'Alba. It was on these hills, located left of the Tanaro River, that one of the best preserved medieval castles in all of Piedmont is located. Imposing, with a square floor plan, it has a façade with two towers â€“ one square and one round. The patrol on the four sides underlines the defensive architecture. The object of repairs and modifications between the 14th and 18th centuries, it lost its draw bridge over a moat in favour of a splendid Italian style garden. In the castle's interior, it is possible to visit the Hall of Arms, the Billiard Room, and the Hall of the Coats of Arms, furnished with period pieces and decorated with precious stucco work. Today, the castle is a noble residence and still belongs to the Roero family, and ancient and noble dynasty from this area, and, now and then, is open for tours.
RODDI - Castello di Roddi
Piazza Carlo Alberto, 2
Tel: +39 0173- 35833 - Fax: +39.0173.363878
Among nut trees and vineyards, the high and imposing castle dominates the centre of Roddi, a typical Langhe town a few kilometres from Alba, the capital of white truffles. The first mention of a fortified construction dates back to the year 1000, and through the centuries, and after many owners, it reaches Giovanna Carafa, the wife of Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola, the nephew if the famous literary figure. Today, other than its medieval origins, it possible to admire all the parts added on during the 14th and 15th centuries, the period when the manor was enriched with lacunar ceilings and other decorations.
SALICETO - Castello di Saliceto
via Vittorio Emanuele, II
Tel: +39 0174-98021 – Fax +39.0174.98586
"They said hill as we would have said sea and woods...and for me, it wasn't a place like other places, but an aspect of things, a way of living..." it is the Langhe as seen by Cesare Pavese. And, in fact, the ancient Castle of Saliceto is located along the Via del Sole, connecting Piedmont to Liguria. Belonging to the Marquis' del Caretto di Bagnasco and to the Damiani di Priocca, it became property of the Savoy in 1532. In 1639, Madama Reale gave it to Capitan Buttino da Ceva, who defended it from an assault by the Spanish who had decided to avenge the death of Don Martino d'Aragon killed in Cengio with a musket. Extensively damaged, the castle has been reconstructed and is now once again open to the public who can enjoy the splendidly decorated rooms and the 16th century frescoes.
SERRALUNGA D’ALBA - Castello di Serralunga
Via del Castello, 1
Tel: +39 0173-613358 www.piemonte.beniculturali.it
Built by Pietrino Falletti in the 15th century in the heart of the Langhe, the castle was restored in 1949 thanks to the interest of the then President of the Republic Luigi Einaudi, the “professor”, particularly attached to the area - so much so that he bought a farm near Dogliani which still today produces a red wine dedicated to him. On the top of the Serralunga d’Alba hill, is the dramatic outline of the structure consisting of a parallelepiped group with two towers – one taller and square and the other one cylindrical – and of a corner turret that towers over a high wall with Gothic lancet windows. The interior is made-up of three halls one on top of the other connected by a spiral staircase. According to experts, the Serralunga Castle is one of the most refined examples of fortified Gothic architecture.