Alessandria & Monferrato
If Piedmont is considered to be the land of great wines, the Monferrato area could be defined as the region’s heart of generosity. Tradition and innovation seem to be the winning combination for the wines belonging to this vast and varied land. Vines and wines are a matter of culture, tradition and history in the Monferrato, so much so that they represent the land itself.
- The History
According to legend, Monferrato’s boundaries were marked in 960 A.C by Aleramo, the emperor Ottone’s son-in-law, who, riding for three days and three nights, was able to mark them out.
The Aleramo dynasty died out in 1305 and Monferrato was taken over by the Paleologi’s, who established the capital of the marquisate at Casale. In 1559 the Gonzaga’s, dukes of Mantova, took charge, and later, at the beginning of the 1700’s the Savoia family ruled up until the unification of Italy.
Each commune, large or small, had a population of roughly between 150 and 1500 inhabitants. The villages were like precious jewels as throughout the years they were beautifully built and decorated, starting from the wonderful churches, the votive chapels, to the ancient mansions dating back to previous periods.
- Sacred Mount of Crea ( Sacro Monte di Crea)
Even though it’s a hill, not even 500 metres high, it’s known by everyone as ‘Mount’. Not only is it Monferrato’s pride and joy, but the Sacred Mount of Crea is also a National Regional park and is part of the UNESCO heritage.
First information concerning the basilica goes back to 1152, when it was built on pre-existing foundations. It wasn’t until 1589 that the other 23 chapels that represent the life of Christ were built, each including beautiful paintings and statues. Probably the most fascinating of all the chapels, is the Paradise chapel, which stands at the top of the hill, boasting a superb view.
- Events and Manifestations
Fiera del Bue Grasso (Fattened Ox Fair): This is an ancient tradition, dating back to nearly four centuries ago, and takes place every year, on the 2nd Wednesday of December. The manifestation is dedicated to an ancient Piedmontese bovine race, enhancing it’s gastronomic qualities, such as the “Sontuoso Bollito Misto”.
Fiera del Tartufo (Truffle Fair): During the last two Sundays in October, under the old arches of Moncalvo, the local trifulau ( truffle hunters), display their truffles.
Festa delle Cucine Monferrine (Monferrato Cuisine Festival): The various Monferrato Communes prepare their local dishes in the main square in Moncalvo, celebrating one of the area’s most loved events.
Blu Notti Blues (Blue Nights Blues):
A great summer Musical Festival that takes place in Moncalvo’s vast square Carlo Alberto. Concerts ranging from blues to jazz go on through out the whole summer.