With the entry of the Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato on last June 22th, Italy has reached 50 in the list of sites included in the Unesco World Heritage List.
Our country then confirms the first position in the world, also inaugurating a new category in the prestigious ranking, a number of areas, six for the accuracy, linked to the production of wine, to form the vineyard landscapes of Piedmont:
|The six core zones Unesco and the buffer zones surrounding them|
Langa of Barolo includes territories which have a historic vocation for the cultivation of the Nebbiolo grape-variety, used to make the red wine suitable for long periods of ageing named Barolo, one of the Piedmontese oenology products of higher consolidated international prestige. Medieval villages like Barolo, Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga d’Alba, are characterised by the imposing presence of castles in an excellent state of repair.
Grinzane Cavour Castle was home to Camillo Benso Count of Cavour during the first half of the 19th century. Currently represent a center of excellence for the knowledge and enhancement of the winegrowing culture within the Langhe-Roero and Monferrato district.
Hills of Barbaresco where we find vineyards mainly cultivated with the Nebbiolo grape-variety, used to make the red wine characterized by long periods of ageing called Barbaresco; it falls rightfully within the programme of great Italian wines recognised at international level and the villages of Barbaresco and Neive.
Nizza Monferrato and Barbera is the area selected within the territory of the DOCG Barbera d’Asti, and specifically within the Nizza subzone, which represents the portion of territory traditionally considered as the primitive area of dissemination of the Barbera grape-variety, used to make the wine, which is Piedmont’s most exported wine.
Canelli and Asti Spumante, within the territory of the DOCG Asti and specifically within the Canelli subzone, the area is cultivated mainly with the Moscato Bianco grape-variety. This vine is used to make the aromatic sparkling wine (spumante) known as Asti, Italy’s most exported white wine.
Monferrato of the Infernot is an area characterized by the spread of a unique type of architectural structure carved into the so-called Pietra da Cantoni and used for domestic storage of the bottles, which is a true work of art linked to the popular "know-how".
The curiosity for these places, many times evoked talking about Langhe of the writers Pavese and Fenoglio, prompted me to visit them, especially after they had entered the UNESCO world heritage list. This is an extremely "central" area to the Italian history, past and present, just think of the Kingdom of Italy with the Savoia family and a protagonist of the Italian Unit as Cavour yesterday and the slow food movement with Eataly and Grom today, but curiously, almost always on the edge of the chronicles, and never in the spotlight as Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence and Venice...
Barolo - Cherasco - Grinzane Cavour
A land this, for many years the vegetable garden of Milan and Turin, of farmers that today have become international business thanks to the production of wine and to the worldwide eno-gastronomic tourism. In fact, foreign tourists - we even met some from Taiwan! - appreciate this kind of "holiday", nestled in the hills of Italian timeless farmland.
Probably the eno-gastronomic itineraries through Italian farmlands are the contemporary version of the "Journey to Italy", what in the nineteenth century was called the Grand Tour and all European and American intellectuals like Goethe and Stendhal, made and told through books and journals still very popular.
The UNESCO recognition, long chased through a lot of work, is a milestone, but also a starting point for a correct development of the territory.
La Morra, one of many orange flags (eco-tourism by TCI) in the area along with Barolo, Cherasco, Grinzane Cavour, Monforte d'Alba and Neive (which is also among the most beautiful villages in Italy), offers a spectacular view of the whole area of the Langhe and allows a perfect reading of the topography of the area.
|Panorama from La Morra|
During the beautiful (and tiring) walk from La Morra to Barolo and return in the middle of the vineyards, I went through the Borgo Cerequio, probably one of the most interesting examples of the area's redevelopment in key tourist and gourmet.
|The vineyards and the Borgo Cerequio|
The client Michele Chiarlo and the architects Simona De Paoli, Mariano Mulazzani and Luigi Duretto have transformed an ancient village, probably of the eighteenth century, in a contemporary structure called Palas Cerequio through a renovation, maintenance and rehabilitation of three rural buildings for a total of 800 square meters of gross area.
|Images of Palas Cerequio yesterday and today (from architect De Paoli)|
They have created environments of contemporary taste and "classic", through a careful study of the materials, open spaces and greenery, while maintaining without conflicts that winning combination of old and new that is perhaps the real challenge ahead for us Italians, if we want to enhance the our territories without twisting and destroy them, but actualizing them. The idea of treating more freely and contemporary buildings of lower quality, reserving the conservation for the most important was the perfect guide for intervention.
|Images of Palas Cerequio from opera wedding e booking|
The nearby Chapel of Madonna delle Grazie, called Sol Lewitt (author of the exterior, the interiors are by David Tremlett), bold explosion of color in the landscape, shows the ability that these territories have to deal with the contemporaneity.