The Langhe, which most probably means ‘stretches of land’, is a historical region of Piedmont that’s renowned worldwide, not simply due to the wealth of traditions and local produce, but more especially because of its picturesque, hilly landscape, that sits halfway between the Alps and the sea.
Dotted with hills and vineyards alternating with castles and historic villages surrounded by lush parkland, the Langhe boasts astonishing historical and artistic heritage, officially recognized as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Such is the landscape which visitors to the Langhe can admire: a magical land, to be handed down, narrated, visited and savoured slowly. Among the many highlights, Roddi and its castle, La Morra with its charming belvedere and the colourful Cappella del Barolo (an un-consecrated church built in 1914 as a shelter for the workers of the surrounding vineyards), Monforte d’Alba (the Cathar town), Serralunga alba with its unique and impressive castle, Castiglione Falletto with intact fourteenth-century forts and Grinzane Cavour, preserving the wonderful Salone degli stemmi (Hall of the coats of arms) and the bedroom where Camillo Benso stayed.
A visit to the Castello di Barolo is imperative, once home to the Falletti Marquis, the Enoteca Regionale and, from 2010, of WiMu (Wine Museum), an installation offering a multimedia and multi-sensory trip into the world of wine. While on the subject of wine, not far from Barolo castle is the Museo dei Cavatappi (the corkscrew Museum), which completes the experience.
Wine is indeed the undisputed star of these lands, which, thanks to the rich soils, offer choice in abundance: Asti Spumante, Barbaresco, Barbera d’Alba, Barolo, Dolcetto d’Alba, Dolcetto di Dogliani, Moscato d’Asti and Nebbiolo d’Alba, all high-quality wines.
Another of the local delicacies is the much sought after white truffle, a real buried treasure with characteristically intense aroma, which has its own annual celebration in the form of the now-famous Fiera Internazionale del tartufo bianco d’Alba.
The traditional produce from the Langhe does not stop there though, there are also cured meats, cheeses, meats, the famous “tonda gentile” hazelnut and the ‘torrone’, the regional nougat sweet that, according to reliable sources, was already being enjoyed in Roman times. Thanks to this impressive collection of local produce, the whole area has, of course, become a destination for food and wine tourism, but the attractions don’t end there.
Since the 1950s, the Langhe has found its place on the tourist route not only because of its fine traditions, but also as a literary region. The land of Cesare Pavese’s “Moon and the Bonfires”, Beppe Fenoglio’s “Partigiano Johnny” and “The Twenty-three Days of the City of Alba” has gradually become a key destination, turning these hills into one of the most famous literary landscapes, so much so in fact that today it is home to major literary prizes, including the Premio Grinzane Cavour.
The Langhe: a world that’s packed full of the flavours of a fine land and honest labour, and where creativity and ingenuity are able to draw out from the soil and vineyards quality produce that’s famous for good reason.