Mombaldone was in ancient Mons Baldus (from the Germanic Bald or “upstream”), the hill on which stood the eight mansi of the monastery of S. Quintino Spigno.
Things to see
Nestled in the badlands, an oasis in a desert of tufa softened by the broom, Mombaldone is the only village of Asti Langa still surrounded by the original walls.
Walking through its unique central street, from which depart alleys and passageways, arches and courtyards, means taking a trip down memory lane, a trip back in time. The dominant color is gray el’ocra of the houses of dry stone walls, occasionally enlivened by the red tiles of the old Piedmont emerge on the left skillful restoration.
The ancient fortified village of medieval character, still well preserved, is built in Roman times near the route of the Via Aemilia Scauri, most famous stretch of the Via Julia Augusta from the Ligurian Sabazia (Savona) led into the gates for the Padania. The town is divided into two areas separated by the castle, now in ruins. The building units, characterized by medieval structures, offer constructive details in sandstone, the window sills, the portals (some with arms Carretto) to the vaults. There are many facades in stone (pietra serena stone of Langa).
The urban layout is simple: a linear scheme served by a single road, paved with pebbles and sternìa. The town is reinforced towards the valley by strong defensive walls.
From Via Cervetti, you can see the entrance door to the shelter, with a pointed arch, with its intact form of medieval origin. It provides access to the ancient village, whose agglomeration in drafting linear axis on the main road is full of Renaissance-inspired residences, reworked, embellished or restored between the mid-seventeenth century and the present day. On the Piazza Umberto I, the epicenter of the village, converge more monumental emergencies.
The first is the Oratory of SS. Fabian and Sebastian, built on the moat of the castle in 1764, designed by Pietro Barozzi, and restored in 1995-1997: the large classroom and sober, with decorations of 1883, is currently hosting conferences, exhibitions, meetings, cultural and musical events.
The second is the parish church of St. Nicola, built in 1790 on a hexagonal plan, always on the castle moat, by Giovanni Matteo Zucchi: The interior houses seventeenth-century paintings (including some of John Monevi) and a gigantic organ built by the Brothers Collino Turin in 1885.
Past the square, the road climbs towards the top of the highest of the village, where the country is dispersed in the countryside. It runs along what remains of the Castle (XIII-XIV c.), Partially demolished in 1637.
At the center of the castle stands a square tower, now little more than a ruin, ruined not only by time and neglect but also by the will of nobility. It was, in fact, the Marquis Aleramo of the Wheelbarrow, whose family since 1209 was granted the investiture of the fief of Mombaldone, to donate in the last century of the stones of the tower to allow for the completion of the construction of the railway that connects Mombaldone in Spigno . The descendants of the Del Carretto are still settled in the Castle: no longer dominate on the inhabitants, but lovingly watch over the preservation of the village and its historical and cultural identity. Via Roma, in fact, between the embankment of the Castle and the dark Portiola – a cavern supported by vaults in stone that connected the main road with a steep slope at the end which was near the river, the trough of the Horses ready to be ridden in the event of a stampede – is the palace said the Fortress. The massive building with exterior stone, already documented in 1209 and rebuilt several times since 1981 is home of the Hereafter, a restaurant with international appeal, by the Marchioness Gemma Del Carretto leads guests into fascinating atmosphere Hairdressing Enlightenment furnished “Josephite” and “Teresino” and eighteenth century. And the noble history of the family is an essential ingredient here.
Leaving the village, a modern settlement, formed in 1870 around the railway construction of the line Acqui-Savona, you can look to the north of the bridge over the Bormida, the old mill of Mombaldone (XVI-XVII century.).
The old building over the centuries has ensured the survival of the local community, but is now devoid of the original equipment.