It is the capital of the “King” of wines. Barolo is a splendid town with medieval origins, surrounded by the hills of the Langhe, and is one of the eleven communities where the grapes from the “Nebbiolo” vines, used for producing Barolo wine, can be cultivated. A showcase for this precious “nectar” with its brilliant red garnet color and intense bouquet, is Barolo’s Regional Wine Cellar (enoteca) and the Ethnographic- Oenological Museum housed in the 11th century Falletti Castle which dominates the historical center of the city.
During the fair dedicated to that precious tuber, the truffle, there is a running of a horse race, whose idea was hatched up in the post-war period by a group of long-time friends spurred on by Pinot Gallizio, a pharmacist and famous artist.
The nineteenth-century city is organized around the new urban center of Savona square, from which part of the way to the land and the sea (over the Langhe), while also appears significant urban design of the twentieth century, careful all'insediarsi of new production: Miroglio for textiles and Ferrero for the food (mother of the famous Nutella), driving forces of the economy of the whole region, together with the extraordinary wine production, which Alba is the undisputed capital.
When the Romans arrived here, they chopped down the forest of oaks that existed in place of Barbaresco to make room for grape vines. Perhaps the ancient gods had already chosen the fate of this land: to end up producing from its Nebbiolo grape, one of the most prestigious wines in Italy, among the first four to receive DOC recognition in 1966 and DOCG in 1980.
Barbaresco wine is made only from the vineyards in the towns of Barbaresco, Treiso, Neive, and the hamlet of San Rocco ad Alba which have the greatest sun exposure. A sea of vine rows is a view to admire from the massive tower that rises up in the center of the town, the largest in the Langhe, it reaches 36 meters. The regional Barbaresco Enoteca (Barbaresco Wine Cellar) is located in the former 19th century church, San Donato, where, besides promoting Barbaresco wine, there is a large selection of the best wine production from the area.
Wine experts agree to frankly reveal their secrets only once a year: on the first Sunday of September during the festival of the patron saint. On that day, they open their cantinas and offer guided tours of their vineyards to the curious and to tourists, living this reoccurring moment as a great thanksgiving feast.
My weight in Nutella and truffles: this was what the Pantagruelian French actor Gerard Depardieu asked Alba for in order to participate in the truffle fair. Alba is the capital of the white truffle and of Dolcetto, the red wine. This has made it a favorite stopping off point for tourists the world over interested in fine foods and wines. Alba is also a city of art that takes time to cultivate its own traditions.
As many towns in the Langhe, Neive is particularly proud of its wine heritage. In order to promote this heritage, the town has set up, in the cantinas of its Town Hall, the Bottega dei Quattro Vini (Barbera, Dolcetto d’Alba, Barbaresco, and Moscato), a showcase of local production. In the Palazzo dei Conti di Castelborgo’s cantina, an important chapter in Piedmont oenological history was written. Here, in 1854, the famous French oenologist, Oudard, was the fist to experiment with making wine from the nebbiolo grape, which quickly led to his winning a gold medal in London for his creation of Barbaresco wine.
The historical center of old Neive is considered among the best preserved in the area with a closed circular installation which originally had two doors. Inside, are the prestigious palazzos which were the homes of families from Neive’s wealthy middle class, such as the Casaforte of the Cotti banking family, which is the oldest structure in town. Among the many points of interest are: the Baroque churches of San Pietro and San Paolo, and the Baroque Confraternity of San Michele, the City Tower, the Palazzo Cocito, and Piazza Italia