This area is a meeting point for history and culture of Piedmont and Liguria, where the strong sensations of the mountains are mitigated by the sea air in this valley marked by the movements of peoples and commercial activity since the pre-Roman days. At Nucetto, Nucetto, Perlo, Nucetto, Priola and Ormea you come across the remains of castles alternating with those of ancient Saracen towers.
Departure point is always the town of Mondovi, with its artistic and architectural treasures concentrated in the district which is built on the top of a hill. From Mondovi you leave in direction of Ceva (about 25 kilometers) and reach Garessio (another 25 kilometers), known for its spa gardens and typical dishes with white chestnuts.
It is worth visiting the ancient medieval district and the sanctuary Nostra Signora delle Grazie di Valsorda, built around 1400 as an oratory. In the second half of the 1600’s it was expanded to commemorate a miraculous event, and between 1901 and 1925 a larger sanctuary with a grandiose cupola was constructed next to the ancient one. (Opening hours: summer – everyday 08.30/18.00 hrs., winter – Saturdays and Sundays 09.00/17.00 hrs. Information: tel. +39.0174.81318 (During the summer) +39.0174.803499). Do not miss tasting the typical confectionery, Garessini.
In Val Casotto, in the territory of the village of Garessio (about 12 kilometers) you find Castello Reale. The actual construction, dating from the 11th century, as is Certosa, was built during the 1700’s on a design by Vittone. It became property of the Savoia family in 1837. The prayers and labors of the Certosini were substituted by the diversions of hunting at the court of Carlo Alberto, and Vittorio Emanuele II made it his summer residence.
Inside there is prestigious accommodation, such as the green room, with its baroque chairs, and the Camera della Musica. Worthy of attention are the lampshades, tapestries, doors and paintings, especially the portrait of the Dama in Nero which is thought to be attributed to Van Dyck or to his school. (Opening hours: 09.30/12.00 hrs and 14.00/19.00 hrs. – Information: tel. +39.0174.351131).
Further down in the village of Pamparato you have the chance to taste typical products and Dolcetto delle Langhe Monregalesi DOC (ref. Route 2). From Pamparato you can make a deviation in the Mongia valley to reach the summer and winter tourist center of Viola St. Gree. The historical center of Ormea (about 11 kilometers from Garessio) is marked by trevi (narrow roadways) and dotted with particular statues realized by noted contemporary sculptors in black marble from a local quarry. Worthy of note is the parish church of S. Martino which boasts gothic frescoes from the 1300’s and a painting of the crucifixion by Moncalvo.
The ancient town doorway is housed in the splendid romanesque parish church bell-tower, dating from the 10th century. We recommend a stop at the local restaurants which offer “polenta” with buckwheat flour, mountain potatoes, “tultei” (large ravioli which are fried or toasted on the stove) and fine cheeses from mountain pastures such as Sora, Ormea and Raschera. A mention should be made to local wines: Ormeasco, Briga Alta, Viozene and Upega from the higher part of the valley, which also provides unforgettable mountain landscapes.
Where to stay in Cuneo
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