In the Mondovi and Valli Monregalesi area the point of reference is Mondovi whose historical center conserves artistic and architectural treasures, such as the medieval Piazza Maggiore; baroque church of San Francesco Saverio; 17th century Synagogue; Duomo; the frescoed halls of the ancient university and the gardens of Belvedere with the medieval Torre dei Bressani. About 5 kilometers away is the Santuario Basilica Regina Montis Regalis di Vicoforte, commissioned by Carlo Emanuele I of Savoia, the construction of which was commenced 1596. The work was terminated in 1733 by Gallo who “closed” the structure with the dome (the largest of the elliptic types in the world) and the cupola.
The 6,032 sq. m vault is the largest surface in the world painted with a single theme: the life and glory of Maria (Opening hours: everyday 07.00/12.00 hrs. and 14.30/19.00 hrs., for information: tel. +39.0174.565555). Here you can try the local “Sorrisi del Santuario” sweets and taste Dolcetto delle Langhe Monregalesi in one of the wine cellars in the area.
Not to be missed is the chapel of San Fiorenzo di Bastia (about 8 kilometers from Mondovi), built between the 10th and 15th centuries with splendid frescoes from the 1400’s (open every Sunday from May to October 15.00/19.00 hrs. – information: www.sanfiorenzo.org). At Niella Tanaro the parish church of Maria Vergine Assunta, built over the remains of an ancient pagan temple, conserves frescoes from the second half of the 15th century (Information: tel. +39.0174.226105 and 226195).
Not far from here we point out the town of Carrè, capital of Piedmont’s “bue grasso” boiled meat and Clavesana, home of Dolcetto and locality of the area’s wine cellars. In the Casotto valley, Pamparato (about 25 kilometers from Mondov) is a classic example of a medieval mountain village. You should see the little chapel dedicated to San Bernardo di Chiaravalle with the cycle of frescoes dating from 1492 which illustrate the life of the saint. (Information: c/o the parish church tel. +39.0174.351133) and the ethnographic museum. Here maize flour biscuits are produced and Raschera DOC cheese is matured. (It is possible to visit the cellars where the cheeses are stored.) You should taste “polenta” made with buckwheat, cupete (pastries containing dried fruit) and Dolcetto.
Nearby, in the village of Valcasotto, is Castello Reale, summer residence of the Savoia family (ref. Route 3). In a radius of 15-20 kilometers from Mondovi you can see beautiful medieval frescoed chapels, such as the romanesque parish church of S. Maurizio di Roccaforte Mondovi with two asymmetrical naves, two apses and cycle of romanesque Byzantine frescoes (Information: c/o the parish church tel. +39.0174.65154).
Between Roccaforte and Villanova you can see the 13th century sanctuary of Santa Lucia which clings on a rock face. In the upper part of Villanova Mondovi is the 14th century parish church with prized frescoes depicting the stories of San Sebastiano (Information: c/o the parish church tel. +39.0174.699042).
At San Michele Mondovi is the chapel of the Madonna della Neve with a cycle of paintings dating from 1403 depicting the Citta’ Celeste and Opere di Misericordia counter-placed to Inferno and Cavalcata dei Vizi (Information: c/o the parish church tel. +39.0174.222095). We point out the splendid karst caves at Bossea (in the territory of the village of Frabosa Soprana, about 30 kilometers from Mondovi), which are of spectacular vastness and contain the remains of the extinct ursus speleus. Finally we mention the caves of Dossi and Caudano in the territory of the villages of Villanova Mondovi and Frabosa Sottana respectively.
Where to stay in Cuneo
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