At Moncalvo, renowned center for good food and wine, the visit includes the churches, rich in the works of an unknown artist and the large square on the bastions which each year in October hosts the crowd-ed Truffle Fair. You go long the hills of Basso Monferrato Astigiano to reach Castagnole Monferrato (whose name refers to the fruit of the forests which once covered these hillsides). Take the Valle Versa road, passing under the Castle of Castell’Alfero and you soon arrive at MONTECHIARO, a fortified commune founded in 1200 to unite and defend the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, of which there remains precious evidence, such as the little romanesque parish church of Saint Nazario and Saint Celso.
MONTIGLIO is also the locality of the regional truffle fair. Continuing down the valley you reach Montiglio, the village of the sun-dials, where you can see more than 40 ancient and recent examples. This is the land of truffles and art: there is the great castle where the Marquis of Monferrato lived, with the most important cycle of 13th century frescoes in Piedmont concealed in the park’s chapel. You should try the hazelnut specialties in the area.
Following a panoramic roadway you then head towards PIOVA’ MASSAIA, one of the most beautiful 17th century parish churches, whose cupola stands out amidst the countryside in this part of the Monferrato. Next you take the ancient Roman road for Industria, which was part of the Via Francigena in the middle ages (the road taken by pilgrims to reach Rome).This is an area rich in romanesque parish churches and castles. Two in particular are clearly visible: the grand medieval building at CORTANZE and the 17th century mansion at PIEA.Nearby is SOGLIO, whose small castle conceals one of the historical gardens of Piedmont. You must stop at CORTAZZONE to visit the romanesque church dedicated to San Secondo.
It is also worth visiting Settime and Settime e Cinaglio as you head towards the main town of the region. ASTI merits a thorough visit of its historical center, rich in medieval and baroque architecture.
The Truffle Fair is held here each November. From Asti you reach San Damiano d’Asti, following the hillside roads which pass through Revigliasco, the village of cherries, Antignano and San Martino Alfieri and castle surrounded by the Kurten historical park.
After visiting the historical center of San Damiano, with its elegant churches and buildings on the sides of Via Maestra, you ascend to Cisterna, among the rocks and woodlands of Roero. After cross-ing over the river Tanaro you can stop at Castagnole Lanze, locality of a hazelnut festivity in August. The upper part of the village is worthy of visiting.
Where to stay in Asti
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