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A tour of Alta Langa: wine, hazelnuts and art

The San Maurizio Wine Club invites you to discover and explore the wine territories of Piedmont and Italy, to discover all their richness and uniqueness.

The Alta Langa, as its name suggests, is a matter of altitudes, with hills reaching up to 900 metres. And of borders: with Liguria, to be precise. These elements have a profound effect on food and wine production, which, due to the climate, alternates between vine and hazelnut cultivation. At the centre of one of the five historic Vie del Sale (Salt Roads), travelled centuries ago to transport sacks full of precious crystals from Liguria to the transalpine countries, stands the Relais San Maurizio, witness to the intersection of different traditions and cultures that have been able to exist thanks to the unique climate of this area of Piedmont.

The villages of the Alta Langa – a territory comprising more than 140 Piedmontese municipalities including Murazzano, Dogliani, Bergolo (one of the smallest municipalities in Italy characterised by stone buildings and paintings that, in this place surrounded by nature, colour the walls of public and private buildings in an unusual hymn to expressiveness), Mombarcaro – represent a somewhat different itinerary and, precisely for this reason, one that is particularly fascinating and in part yet to be discovered. One possible itinerary starts at the Relais San Maurizio from which one departs to visit the underground cathedrals of Canelli, where the tradition of classic method sparkling wine in Piedmont was born. It continues towards the steep hills of Moscato d’Asti to Loazzolo, home of the Moscato Passito that bears its name, with some of the most delicious expressions of quality of this wine, as precious as it is rare.

 

 

The ‘selfie’ break is in Cossano Belbo at Altalena Gigante while, for lunch with a view over the entire Belbo valley, the must stop is in Castino at Vola Bontà per Tutti, a young company full of energy and with proposals strictly made with local ingredients. The route then descends towards Cortemilia, home of the IGP Piedmont Hazelnut, with the inevitable coffee stop (accompanied by some tasty hazelnut desserts) at the historic Canobbio bar-pastry shop.

For art lovers: the spectacular view framed by mountains from the Rocca di Roccaverano fortress and, not far away, an open-air contemporary art museum, the Parco d’Arte Quarelli. It is a magical place where, between a curve in the hillside and the trees of a forest, works of art emerge framed by the breathtaking landscapes of the valleys leading to Liguria. To be tasted: Robiola di Roccaverano, both fresh and seasoned. In addition, every first Sunday of September (this year, 4 September) it happens that the Alta Langa hosts the territory’s largest art festival, a moment of suspension and wonder in which the guest is invited to live an immersive experience in the art and nature of the Quarelli Art Park. Every year a new beginning: a new work on permanent display is inaugurated.

And to end the day, returning to Santo Stefano Belbo, an aperitif at the Roma bar (better to book as there is a risk of not finding a place).

 

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