Asti and province: Truffles and woodland treasures – Serole to Rocchetta Palafea

roccaverano panorama chiesa
Roccaverano panorama chiesa – photo

SEROLE is the most southerly municipality of the Asti province, confining with Liguria, covered with chestnut trees, Saanen goat pastures and wild forests. In the countryside fortified farms from the 16th century are still visible. From Serole you proceed to ROCCAVERANO, passing OLMO GENTILE with even older farms and the little commune with fascinating castle and ever present watchtower. Roccaverano is the capital of the Langa Astigiana area and the highest village.

It is composed of a complex of stone buildings and real works of architectural art, such as the renaissance parish church, inserted in the particular man modeled landscape of terraces, providing pastures for the Roccaverano breed of goats and hazelnut groves which produce the Tonda Gentile hazelnut. You then pass through SAN GIORGIO SCARAMPI, with its wine cellars, typical products and important Culturel foundation with headquarters in the ancient Disciplinanti church.

robiola di roccaverano
robiola di roccaverano

You then proceed to VESIME at valley bottom, where you can stop in the central square dominated by the medieval municipal palace and can try the typical hazelnut cake.

A little further on, at Cessole, you discover a real architectural curiosity in the beautiful parish church superimposing the church of the Confraternity. In front is the open gallery of the market founded in the 17th century.

The next place on the route is Bubbio with its historic “polentone” festivity and cake shops with “amaretti” and other sweetmeats made from hazelnuts. After BUBBIO, along the banks of the river Bormida, you go uphill to CASSINASCO, dividing line between Langa territory and that of Monferrato. Its tower, damaged by the war in the 1600’s, provides a look-out with a view all over the small village, famous for its production of hand-made nougat with hazelnuts and local honey.

Nearby is the sanctuary of Madonna of Caffi (the name derives from Arabic). After a few winding paths you reach CANELLI, capital of Asti Spumante and Moscato, which are fine accompaniments to the hazelnut specialties produced by pastry shops in the town center (among which the characteristic “coppi”). During the San Martino festivities in November Canelli hosts the Regional Truffle Fair.

Nizza Monferrato,
Nizza Monferrato – Photo

From Canelli you proceed to Nizza Monferrato, city of the truffle and cardoon which accompany the original “bagna cauda” marathon in November.A walk under the ancient porticoes of Via Maestra allows you to taste “belecauda”, the traditional chickpea “farinata”. Following the area of production of cardoons along the banks of the river Belba and among poplar plantations, where truffle hunters go in autumn, you reach Incisa Scapaccino (here the cardoon is known as the crooked type).From the artistic point of view, the upper part of the town is the most interesting with the gothic church of Carmine. Nearby is Cortiglione, where each year the ancient ritual of grain threshing is celebrated. Going up the river Belbo towards Canelli you reach Calamandrana, where truffle hunters meet. Shortly after Calamandrana a good road leads to Rocchetta Palafea, thus you enter the Langa Astigiana area.

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