Thanks to our grandfathers: Banca Alpi Marittime.
The Piedmont community of Mondovì’s Civic Printing Museum is an additional testament to the area’s historical and cultural relevance.
It contains the most extensive public collection of printed media tools and machines in all of Italy, which it uses to illustrate the history behind more than 500 years of printing in the area.
In the 15th century, the town of Mondovì was one of the most important of the Duchy of Savoy.
As a hotbed of intellectual thought and entrepreneurial spirit, it was a likely site for the flourishing of typographical art.
Indeed, it was here that the printmaker Antonio de Mattia di Anversa produced the first printed book of the Piedmont region in the year 1472 with the economic support of Baldassarre Cordero.
This landmark historical moment denoted the beginning of a long printmaking tradition in the town, which is celebrated in its modern Printing Museum.
Photo Credits: Ezio MasseraAny suggestions?
The elegant town of Mondovì consists of two separate areas, a lower part and the historical centre, situated on a hill just above the modern town.
Mondovì, previously known as Mons Regalis, has a long history of independence.
Its position on a hilltop offered refuge to the inhabitants of the lower villages, who tried to escape their common lord, the bishop of Asti. Together, they founded a new community. Nonetheless, like all other towns in the area, Mondovì was later occupied by Charles I of Anjou, the bishops of Asti, the Visconti, the Marquisate of Montferrat, the Acaja and, from 1418, the House of Savoy. In fact, its position on the route from Torino to the Alps, the Apennines and the sea made it a place of immense strategic relevance.
The symbol of the town is the cable railway (funicolare) that connects the two areas and offers a fast and fun way to reach the amazing medieval old town. It was designed by famous designer Giorgetto Giugiaro in 2006 to replace the original railway, which was established in 1886 and had stopped functioning in 1975.
If you decide to pay a visit to the lively Mondovì, your itinerary should start from the baroque lower district of Breo, the present commercial core of the town, where you can admire the Church of St. Peter and Paul, some elegant baroque palaces and the San Filippo Church, built between 1734 and 1757.
From here, make your way to the cable railway and reach the upper town and its beautiful Piazza Maggiore, surrounded by arcades.
There are some interesting palaces on the piazza: the 13th century Bressano house, the Governor’s palace, Fauzone Palace, which now houses an interesting pottery museum and the 17th century Jesuit church La Missione, with paintings by Andrea Pozzo.
In the vicinity, you can visit the Printing Museum, a collection of printing machinery and historic graphic arts equipment, the 18th-century Synagogue and the Misericordia church.
In the Vescovado (Bishop’s Palace), seat of the university between 1556 and the 18th century, you will be able to admire some interesting halls such as the Sala delle Lauree (Graduation Hall) and the Sala degli Arazzi (Tapestries Hall).
In the Belvedere garden you’ll be able to relax and enjoy breath-taking views over the Alps or visit the impressive, 29 metres high Bressano Tower.
Back in the piazza make sure not to miss the many shops, cafes and restaurants before you head back to the cable railway. If you prefer to walk down, several routes will lead you to the lower town in less than an hour.Any suggestions?
His chocolate factory is not as big as WillY Wonka’s, doesn’t offer golden tickets or saluting oompa loompas, but Silvio Bessone’s passion for chocolate has created something equally special as was the original product of Roald Dahl's imagination.
Silvio’s chocolate museum, opened in September 2011 in the hilly village of Vicoforte, is not just an exhibition but an opportunity to learn about the history of cocoa and chocolate production through the words of this genial chocolate maker and his wife Mery.
Starting from the cocoa bean you will learn about all phases of chocolate making. You’ll be able to see, touch and taste not only chocolate bars and pralines but also the actual cocoa beans. There are interesting videos providing detail on different aspects of cocoa growing and chocolate making, the countries where cocoa comes from and the various fair trade projects that Silvio’s factory runs worldwide. There is even a “green” corner with cocoa and coffee plants.
A real treat for the senses is the “annusario”, a scent experience that allows visitors to smell almost thirty different varieties of cocoa.
The museum is also an inn and a restaurant and the best way to visit it is by booking one of the special packages offered by the Cioccolocanda, which include a stay at the inn, a meal plan (normally breakfast and dinner), a cake making course and a tour to the museum.
The locanda (inn in Italian) has six rooms, each dedicated to a different cocoa-producing country, plus a special room named after the famous Piedmontese chocolate Gianduja. All items on the innovative restaurant menu have something to do with cocoa and the different ingredients are combined in the most delicious ways.
Whether you are staying at the inn or just visiting the museum make sure you taste some of the delicious pralines produced by Silvio’s factory. The museum can be visited every day except on Wednesdays, but check the official website to book in advance.Any suggestions?
The imposing Baroque Sanctuary of Vicoforte prominently sits between the Alps and the Mondovì hills.
An important centre of worship and a major pilgrim destination, its origins are linked to what is considered a miraculous occurring around 1590, when a hunter accidentally damaged a fresco of the Madonna with Child on a votive column, causing it to bleed. Following this event the hunter began collecting money to repair the column and the place began to attract local worshippers.
In 1594 a chapel was erected to thank the holy Mary for freeing Vico from the plague: this attracted even more people.
The fast-growing stream of pilgrims led the Bishop of Mondovì to commission the construction of a sanctuary for the worshippers who were flowing to the area. Thanks to the financial backing of Duke Charles Emmanuel I, he was able to appoint famous architect Ascanio Vitozzi, who designed a grand structure inspired by the monumental architecture of the Roman buildings. Works began in 1596 but both the architect and the duke died before the building was completed and constructions came to a halt.
The sanctuary was not finished until the 18th century, under architect Francesco Gallo, who created the impressive elliptical dome and the so-called lantern above it.
The dome is one of the largest of its kind having a surface area of 6,000 square metres.
Decorated with the largest single-themed fresco in the world, it depicts scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary and her Glorious Assumption. Interestingly, the four towers and the Cistercian monastery were not completed until 1884.
The richly decorated interior of the Sanctuary has only one nave and inside stands a small marble temple (il tempietto) that holds the historic pillar with the image of the Holy Mary.
Visitors are permitted to admire both the interior and exterior of the Sanctuary, while the 266-step ascent to the dome, which involves the use of helmets and harnesses, is certainly not for everybody and must be booked separately.
The Sanctuary also offers accommodation in the adjoining monastery. A stay in the quiet and simple rooms of the hostel is the best way to enjoy this fascinating and majestic place of peace and faith. Check the website for opening times and rates.Any suggestions?
As in most mountain areas, wood carving has been a widely spread activity in Mondovì and the neighbouring villages for centuries.
From the riches of the forest came the raw materials used for the production of objects that could be traded with the Ligurian people in exchange for food or other essential products.
Like in the past, when wood was carved for both artistic and instrumental purposes, today many excellent carpenters work in the area offering a very wide range of products.
Despite the introduction of materials such as plastic or metal, quality wooden products are still in demand and available. Whereas once everyday objects, such as tools and kitchen utensils, were produced here, today the local wood is a favourite material for windows, shutters, floor-boards, carved ceilings and furniture.
Some of the oldest carpentry shops are now large industrial companies but few traditional wood carvers remain in the area. Most of them produce quality furniture as well as custom-made windows or doors but few are still creating hand-carved objects and decorative items.
One of these craftsmen is Andrea Giaccone. In his workshop and store in Pamparato, a lovely hamlet in the Casotto Valley, you’ll be able to admire his meticulously crafted pieces of furniture and typical objects and tools that were part of life in the past.
Wooden spoons, ladles, cutting boards and plates are made with the utmost care. Each piece of wood has a unique character, just like people have their own personalities. The resulting objects are exclusive pieces originating from the passion of this man for his work.
On a different level, Ezio Galfré in Pianfei offers the finest custom made staircases and carved ceilings and can transform your house into a wooden sanctuary!
Whether you are looking for a small object to bring back or a complete makeover for your home, these are two of the finest craftsmen who can provide extraordinary woodwork. Strolling through the small hamlets and towns, you'll find many small workshops and passionate artisans - stop for a minute and take in the local woodcarving tradition.Any suggestions?
Testament to the ancient historical roots of the Piedmont region, the San Fiorenzo Church in the tiny community of Bastia Mondovì, located 40 kilometres from Cuneo, was established in the early 1200’s.
The structure was built on the alleged burial site of its namesake, San Fiorenzo, martyred in Bastia Mondovì in the year 297 A.D., where for many years only a small chapel stood to commemorate his life and death.
Following its founding in the early 13th century, in the year 1409 the church came under the control of the local Della Torre family. With their extensive economic means the family oversaw the expansion of the Church, including the addition of a chapel subsequently decorated with an exquisite fresco cycle.
Within its walls the chapel contains 326 square metres of frescoes - the largest cycle in the Piedmont region - depicting the stories of Christ and numerous saints, as well as images of heaven and hell. Many artists contributed to the decorations in what is defined today as a late gothic style, and they finished their work in the year 1472.
No significant modifications have been made to the structure since the 15th century expansion, so today’s visitors can observe the church almost exactly as it was 600 years ago.Any suggestions?
The Cappone di Morozzo is not your average bird. This variety dates back to the passage of Napoleon when it was the custom of sharecroppers to offer their landowners a gift of two capons.
The meat was so exquisite that it was even served in Piazza Campidoglio during a celebration to honour Giuliano de Medici.
Being a capon means that the male bird is castrated before it reaches sexual maturity, but this isn’t enough to be considered a Cappone di Morozzo.
The title of Cappone di Morozzo is not for everyone: the bird must be of the piedmont blonde variety, a breed noted for its bright colourful feathers and usually weighing between 2-2.7 kilograms. These birds are raised, typically by women, for approximately 220 days from spring to the beginning of December. The raising of this breed is a great source of pride, especially during the annual fair in Morozzo (Cuneo), Fiera Regionale Del Cappone, when prizes are awarded in recognition of the breeders’ skill and labour.
In May of 2001 a consortium was established to protect and promote the outstanding quality of this PAT (Prodotto Agroalimentare Tradizionale) recognized product. This means that breeders must be registered with the consortium and affirm to uphold the rules regarding production: the birds must be raised in a free-range environment, intensive farming methods are strictly prohibited, they must follow an all-vegetarian diet, and each bird must be traceable by the identification number of the breeder and a small metal band with the consortium’s seal which is placed on the foot of every bird.
In order to give even more guarantees to the consumer and improve production quality, the consortium enlisted the assistance of the Asproviac association in Carmagnola (Torino) to help monitor the quality and ensure adherence to the consortium’s standards.
The Cappone di Morozzo is seen on tables especially during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays when dishes such as the traditional bollito (boiled meat) are served.
The meat has the reputation for being incredibly flavourful and delicate and lends itself quite well to both bollito or even something a little more elaborate, such as the Cappone di Morozzo stuffed with chestnuts alla ciapula.
Just remember, however you choose to prepare it, please don’t call it chicken!Any suggestions?
The story of these traditional Piedmontese biscuits begins in the old farmhouses of Pamparato (Cuneo) where Paste di Meliga di Pamparato or biscotti di Pamparato were first made.
Light, crispy and golden, these biscuits are made with sweet corn flour and have such a delectable flavour that they even seduced the royal palates of the House of Savoy.
Their characteristic golden colour is due in part to the fresh, finely-milled corn (which in Piedmontese dialect is known as melia) and in part to the right timing of their baking.
The list of ingredients used is short but sweet: a mix of flours, fresh butter, sugar or honey; this is the proof that simple, wholesome ingredients are all you need to create something unique.
Unlike their similar round counterparts, Pamparato’s traditional version of the meliga biscuit are long and rectangular. This makes them perfect for dipping into your coffee or tea; at least if you’re able to wait that long once you’ve taken them out of their package!
Today, you can find them in almost any shape imaginable… just make sure that what you’re buying follows the traditional recipe and the wholesome ingredients typical of Piedmontese cuisine.
Raschera DOP enjoys a rich, highly noble tradition in the Monregalese Valley. A semi-fat and raw cheese, it is compact in texture with a creamy white colour.
Raschera is available in both round and (irregular) square forms. The square form has become the more widely produced found today, since its popularity as the more easily transportable form began long ago when the cheese was transported by mules.
The freshest Raschera cheese features a very fine and delicate taste while the aged versions offer a more intense and persistent flavour profile. This is especially noticeable in the alpine variety where the notes of the pasture and herbs become predominant.
Made from cow’s milk with the occasional but rare addition of goat or sheep’s milk, the liquid is then heated to a temperature between 29-30°C and rennet is added to produce the curds. After the curds are separated and collected, the remaining process depends on the shape being produced.
The round forms are wrapped in cloth and left to drain under weights and the forms are turned over every hour to ensure that the forms are pressed and drained properly and are salted after only one or two days.
The square forms, however, undergo a different process: placed on long wooden boards they are pressed under weights for 4-5 days to create the unique quadrangular shape. Unlike the round variety, the square forms are salted during the pressing stage.
Since Raschera cheese is a typical product of Monregalese, the DOP cheese can only be produced, ripened, and aged in the territories in and around Cuneo.
The alpine variety is produced and aged at 900m above sea level and according to regulations is the only version allowed to use the term “alpine” on its label.
Raschera’s long history of production in the mountains of Monregalese means that this cheese has very strong ties not only to the territory, but to the local communities as well. The name Raschera comes from the name of the mountain pasture at the foot of Mount Mongioie known as L’alpe Raschera. Confirmation of this age-old tradition, the term Raschera is used in the local dialect to indicate cheeses produced in this area in order to distinguish it from the cheeses produced in other valleys.
Cheese lovers will also be interested to know that in 1976 in Frabosa Soprana, the Brotherhood of Raschera and Bruss was founded. These knights have had the sacred and noble duty to understand and protect the production, sale, and consumption of this venerable dairy product.
The enthusiasm and pride for this cheese would grow as the public became concerned that this gem of a cheese was at risk to lesser imitations.
Thanks to the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuneo and the people of the Monregalese Valley, and the Raschera Consortium, this Cuneese excellence was awarded its long overdue DOP status in 1996. Today, whether you enjoy it as is or in recipes like fonduta all you need to do is look for the green and white “R” symbol (also with a lower case “a” to indicate the alpine variety) and once you taste it, we’re sure you’ll understand what we mean by a knightly cheese.Any suggestions?
The town of Ceva in the province of Cuneo may be a small in terms of its human inhabitants, but there is another species that lives and thrives in this area: over 116 different types of mushrooms.
It is safe to say that Ceva is one of the capitals, if not the capital, of mushrooms in the world.
Most people are probably familiar with the famous Porcini mushrooms, a legendary autumn specialty, but you can also find Gallinacci with their beautiful fan-shaped caps and rows of accordion-like gills, as well as Ovuli Buoni (amanita caesarea).
L’Ovulo Buono, with its storybook appearance, seems to be hatching from an egg (hence the name, which translated from Italian is ‘the good egg’) and is the edible and highly sought-after variety of the amanita family.
We should probably mention at this point to any curious foodie-foragers, that wild mushroom picking should be left exclusively to the experts and if you’re not an expert… stick with chestnuts (aside from being dangerous, mushroom-picking is also prohibited unless you have a special permit from the region).
Fortunately, if your curiosity has been piqued, you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the mycological bounty found in Ceva. Every year since 1961, on the third Sunday of September, the 'Mostra del Fungo' is held in the small Piedmontese town. This show offers fans not only the chance to buy a wide variety of mushrooms including fresh, dried, and conserved in oil, but they can also sample all the gastronomical delights that autumn and an abundance of mushrooms bring.
The 'Mostra del Fungo' is also an extremely important event for scientists in the field of mycology.
Each year the fair is preceded by a week of research and mycological studies involving experts from Italy as well as France and other European countries.
If you’re interested in mushrooms from a scientific point of view or simply because your taste buds have moved beyond the basics, consider a visit to Ceva and La Mostra del Fungo. Who says studying science can’t be both fun and delicious!Any suggestions?
The LIPU, or Italian League for the Protection of Birds, has worked since 1965 to halt the destruction of the bird population by way of hunting, poaching, poor farming practices and environmental damage.
The Crava Morozzo Nature Reserve, originally founded in 1979 near the Piedmontese city of Cuneo as an oasis and subsequently incorporated into the Pesio High Valley Regional Park, was LIPU’s first protected area.
Thanks to the presence of two artificial lakes, the Crava and the Morozzo – originally constructed by the Italian electrical company ENEL for hydroelectric purposes and since requalified as natural areas – and the Pesio River, the territory of the Reserve is very humid.
This ensures the area’s noteworthy biodiversity, making it an ideal habitat for a highly varied aquatic bird population that includes several duck species, coot, loon, spoonbill and black-winged stilt. The Reserve also plays an important role as a precious resource for migratory birds.
Visitors to the Oasis can explore its natural beauty via a well-articulated system of trails and observe the birds from several strategic points around the lakes. The visitors’ centre also organizes guided tours and educational activities for children.Any suggestions?
The area near the Piedmont city of Cuneo known as the Monregalese, or Mondovì Valleys, is comprised of a vast expanse of five mountain valleys and has many draws for tourists.
These include numerous ski areas for the winter months, while mild summer temperatures, a proximity to the Ligurian coast and endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors attract many to the region during Italy’s warmer seasons. Both above and below the soil, this is an area of stunning natural beauty.
Very significant from a geographical point of view, the Mondovì Valleys boast the most extensive karst system of the Piedmont region, a virtual labyrinth of underground caverns and rivers.
Among the most important caverns of the Monregalese karst system is the Grotta di Bossea, or Bossea Cave found in the Corsaglia Valley.
The cave, first explored in the early 19th-century by Domenico Mora, ultimately opened to the public for visits in the year 1874, making it the first tourist site of this kind and thus at the forefront of “underground tourism”.
Nearly 2 kilometres in length, the cave lies a full 200 metres below the surface of the earth and is rich with multi-coloured stalagmites, stalactites, lakes and waterfalls.
Among the many treasures the cavern has revealed are the skeletons of an extinct species of bear, the Ursus Spelaeus, which lived in the area between 12 and 80,000 years ago and most likely hibernated in the cave during the long winters of the Ice Age.
The cavern has its own unique fauna; scientists have found and classified more than 50 species inside, including ten that are endemic to the cave. The area is protected as a national park and can be visited as part of a guided tour.Any suggestions?
For a truly unique view of Italy, visitors to the Piedmont region should consider a more unusual mode of transport – the hot air balloon.
The small community of Mondovì was the first in the country to acquire a hot air balloon, in 1979; in subsequent years, it has become an international capital of ballooning.
The area’s climatic conditions make it an ideal launching site, and throughout the decades activities connected to the sport have quickly evolved.
The town boasts the country’s first air balloon port and pilot school dedicated exclusively to the flight of hot air balloons; it has organized the country’s longest running hot air balloon rally and several times been the site of important events including the Italian Championship of Ballooning, the Air Olympics and the WAG-World Air Games.
Each year for the last 27 years, the local hot air balloon club of Mondovì has organized an international rally during the Feast of the Epiphany, in early January. Over a three-day period, 32 balloons are launched in competition twice daily, decorating the country skies surrounding Mondovì with their bright colours and distinct shapes. The competitions vary, but include attempts to land the balloons on determined ground targets and the so-called “wolf hunt”, in which one balloon launches and the others must follow it and attempt to land as close to it as possible.
In addition to following the launch competitions, rally attendees enjoy a parade, admire the inflated illuminated balloons during an evening viewing and even have the opportunity to experience the thrill of a balloon ride themselves, in simulated launches in which the balloon rises but remains attached to the ground.
Opportunities to enjoy ballooning in the Mondovì area are not limited to the yearly festival; visitors can reserve balloon flights at any time of year from several launching points throughout the area. If you’re looking for a chance to see the beauty of the Piedmontese countryside from a different angle, do look down!Any suggestions?
In Mondovì, a small town in the province of Cuneo, traditional Carnival celebrations date back to the 19th century (according to some, even to the 17th century) and take place every year in February.
The present version of the colourful traditional celebration originated in 1949, but has an interesting historical background.
In the 10th century the German emperor Otto I entered Italy to fight the Saracen invaders headed by their leader, “the Moor”. The emperor’s goal was to reaffirm the Holy Roman Empire’s power over the area. After falling in love, his daughter Adelasia escaped with royal equerry Aleramo: they found refuge at the Moor’s court where they were well treated.
To thank him for the hospitality granted to his daughter, the emperor decided to spare the defeated Moor’s life. The Saracens were asked to leave the territory but the Moor was allowed to come back to the area every year during carnival to celebrate the love between Adelasia and Aleramo. At the opening ceremony of the Carnival, the Moor is presented with the keys of the town.
The Moor is also the official mask of the town of Mondovì.
La Bella, “the Beautiful”, was a local girl who was kidnapped by the Saracens during one of their raids. She became Adelasia’s maid when the emperor’s daughter was a guest at the Moor’s court. When she was freed she headed towards the hilly area called Monte di Vico and, according to legend, founded a small village called Monte Regale (Royal Mount), a place where normal people and kings enjoyed the same rights. Monreale is the original name of Mondovì.
The key characters of the Carnival celebrations are, in fact, the Moor and the Bella. The carnival and all related events last approximately three weeks, but the main two attractions are the official start, when the Moor’s courtship and minstrels are introduced, and the floats parades that take place on the last two Sundays of the Carnival in the Mondovì borough of Breo.
Although the historical characters really existed, many other versions of the story are available. Nonetheless, the carnival is real and the fun guaranteed so make sure you head to Mondovì, maybe on your way back from a skiing holiday, in the first two weeks of February!Any suggestions?
The Rocca de’ Baldi Castle, located just outside of Mondovì in Italy’s Piedmont region, was founded in the 13th century by Ubaldo of the noble Morozzo family.
The original structure was quite small, with only one tower and an adjacent building, and primarily used for defensive purposes.
When Spanish troops destroyed the original construction in the year 1543, the castle was subsequently rebuilt and expanded into a residential palace.
In 1642, Rocca de’ Baldi came under the feudal rule of Carlo Filippo Morozzo, and he and his heirs saw the transformation of the structure through to its completion in 1710. In this year, a new wing to the castle designed by the architect Francesco Gallo was opened, and this marked its final addition.
The castle remained in the Morozzo family through the year 1823, after which its ownership changed hands several times.
In the 20th century the castle was used as an orphanage for children who had lost their parents to war and as a local preschool prior to coming under the jurisdiction of Rocca de’ Baldi’s municipal government.
Today, it houses the ‘Augusto Doro’ Provincial Ethnographical Museum, which displays objects from the structure’s past and seeks to illustrate and recreate elements of local social, cultural and economic history.
Photo Credits: Corrado Prever (www.corradoprever.com)Any suggestions?
Morozzo’s Madonna del BricChetto Sanctuary as it currently stands was constructed in the 15th century.
However, it is believed that some structure has stood on the site of the Il Brichetto, as it is commonly known, since the year 1018.
The name brichetto is believed to derive from the sanctuary’s position on a small hill just outside of town, known in local dialect as a 'bric'.
The highlight of the church’s interior is a splendid fresco series completed on July 30, 1491 by the painter Giovanni Mazzucco.
The frescoes, well preserved and still clearly observable today, depict the life of the Virgin Mary, to whom the sanctuary is dedicated; it is considered one of the most complete cycles portraying her life visible in Italy. Also present are several depictions of holy saints and scenes of everyday life from the era.
Following its construction in the 1400’s, Il Bricchetto was expanded and underwent modifications with respect to the original structure, while the characteristic brick façade visible today was built in the year 1826.Any suggestions?
Prato Nevoso, Italian for “snowy meadow”, is a purpose built mountain and ski resort in the Maritime Alps not far from Mondovi.
The village was developed in the 1960s in an alpine pasture area 1500 metres above sea level and soon became a rather popular ski destination, especially for tourists coming from the Cuneo area and Liguria.
Today, thanks to a complete modernisation of the ski-lifts system, the introduction of snow making machines and the connection with other ski resorts (Frabosa Soprana and Artesina) forming the 130km-long Mondolé Ski-area, Prato Nevoso is still favoured holiday resort. Cross country skiing, ice skating and more adventurous activities like heli-skiing trips are also offered.
Since 2011 the non-profit organisation Discesaliberi has offered disabled children and adults the opportunity to practise ski and snow-boarding in a safe and technically suitable environment.
The initiative was so successful that Prato Nevoso was chosen to host the Paralympic winter sports championship in 2014.
A further area, Borgo Stalle Lunghe, was developed following more environmental friendly architectural criteria and offers elegant accommodation in mountain hut-style buildings.
It’s not only neve (snow) that you’ll find in Prato Nevoso: in the summer various leisure activities are also available to attract holidaymakers.
The cooler weather and clear air are a welcome alternative to the hot temperatures of the valleys, while breath-taking views can be admired by hiking up the mountain paths. For those who love sports the resort offers mountain bike rides in the Prato Nevoso Bike Park, tennis, volleyball and football. Golf lovers can play in the Prato Nevoso 9-hole course. A playground and other children activities are also available.
So whether it’s summer or winter, allow yourself to relax in this haven of natural beauty!Any suggestions?
The origins of Lurisia spring water have an almost legendary quality. Lurisia lies at the foot of the Alps, in the region near the Piedmont city of Cuneo.
Purportedly, miners working in the area stumbled upon the springs accidentally in the year 1900.
The quarries in this region mined a type of rock known as lose, which at the time was widely used in the construction of roofs. When a miner’s pickaxe unexpectedly broke open a fountain of mountain water, the workers quickly discovered that it was not only of excellent drinking quality, but seemed to have a miraculous ability to quickly heal open wounds on their skin.
The seemingly magic qualities of Lurisia’s water were subsequently confirmed scientifically. Nobel Prize winning scientist Madame Curie was the first to officially study the water’s properties; in the year 1918, she determined that a type of stone present in the mines called ‘autumnite’ caused a radio emanation process that indeed gave the water a unique healing ability.
Following this discovery and a subsequent period of further scientific research, the first thermal facility was opened on the site in 1940. Thus, many came to the area to take advantage of the thermal waters’ medicinal qualities.
The Italian Ministry of Health soon approved Lurisia water for wide-scale consumption and distribution, leading to the birth of the ‘Lurisia’ brand.
The water flows from the Mount Pigna Alpine peak at 1416 meters above sea level. It is microbiologically pure and to this day undergoes no treatment before being bottled at the source.
Lurisia products, which in addition to mineral water include beers and classic Italian soft drinks such as chinotto and gazzosa, are widely sold domestically and internationally.Any suggestions?
Built in the 18th century by the Cordero family (a prominent noble family in the area of the Cuneese), the Castle of Pamparato stands on a small green hill in the middle of the homonymous village, in the site where an older castle had once stood.
The old castle was probably destroyed during the “Salt Wars”, which took place in the area between 1680 and 1699.
Three hundred years earlier when the Mondovì territory was annexed and passed under the Savoy rule in 1396, the annexation treaty contained certain privileges for the villages, including the exemption from paying taxes on salt. At the end of the 17th century the Duke Vittorio Amedeo cancelled these privileges, thus imposing the salt tax in the area that included the small village of Pamparato. The reaction by the local population was immediate and violent and the resulting rebellion was cruelly repressed by the Savoy army. The long war caused many victims and destruction.
Not much is known about the history of the castle, which is still relatively well preserved.
Today it houses the Town hall of Pamparato and the local administration offices.
The building is also used for exhibitions, conventions and conferences.
Every year in the summer an important musical event takes place on the castle premises: the “Festival dei Saraceni” (the Saracens’ festival).
During the festival classical music concerts are held while children between the ages of 8 and 14 can join the summer camp and learn how to play a musical instrument. The international antique music summer courses give musicians the opportunity to perfect their skills with antique instruments such as baroque violin, viol, lute or fortepiano.
The castle cannot be visited but the surrounding green area is pleasant and well worth the short walk up the hill. If you are travelling with children, there is a small playground directly in front of the castle. Check the Pamparato website for details on the festival and upcoming events.
The tradition of artisanal ceramic production in Piedmont’s Monregalese region began in the early 1800s and experienced its most significant period of prominence during this century. Prior to this time the area was not well known for its ceramics, which were characterized by unremarkable, utilitarian majolica productions.
In 1805, the doctor Francesco Perotti introduced the practice of 'terraglia fine', or fine pottery production in the town of Mondovì.
His method resulted in a more refined product that was at the same time made from a cost efficient material, making it appealing to a wide range of potential consumers.
At this time, the Monregalese region was already economically dynamic with well-established silk and wool industries, and early producers of this terraglia fine benefitted greatly from extensive trade and market contacts both locally and into neighbouring Liguria.
This allowed the burgeoning practice to rapidly expand and by the mid-19th century it had found great economic success.
The industry particularly benefited towns such as Chiusa Pesio, Moline di Vicoforte, Villanova Mondovì, which were most closely situated to the primary sources of wood and clay.
The area’s tradition of fine pottery production continued into the second half of the century, but faced a period of acute crisis in the late 1800s.
Even the relatively limited costs associated with the terraglia fine could not compete with plummeting costs brought on by global industrialization.
The region was hit hard; factories closed and many lost their jobs. The industry limped and struggled through two world wars and the first half of a new century, but by the end of the 1970’s all the major factories had closed their doors.
To this day, only a rapidly diminishing group of local artisans carries on the traditional methods of production, and the art has been reduced to a mere shadow of its former significance.
The dramatic arc of this historical narrative is beautifully illustrated by the town of Mondovì’s Museum of Ceramics, which also preserves an extensive collection of more than 600 of the most exquisite exemplars of the tradition.
The ceramics were originally a part of the private collection of Carlo Baggioli, the last owner of one of the most important factories of the area, Vedova Besio e Figlio. Local entrepreneur, banker and benefactor Marco Levi purchased the collection from Baggioli in the 1990’s and subsequently donated it to the “Old Mondovì” Museum of Ceramics Foundation.Any suggestions?
Though it is commonly known as the Castle of Morozzo, the proper name of this mysterious historical residence is the Palace of the Cordero Marquises of Pamparato, today owned by members of the Sicurtà family, of the Sicurtà Coffee brand.
According to local lore, the family purchased the palace in 1962 from Captain Liboà of Morozzo following his defeat in a friendly card game in town.
Little is known about the history of the residence, located in the town centre of Morozzo and adjacent to an extensive private park that is part of the property. The residence has been dated to the 18th century and was once owned by the Marquises of Pamparato family.
It recently underwent extensive restoration after lying for many years in almost total disrepair.
The palace now stands as an impressively well-preserved example of the country villas commonly constructed and used by noble families during this period.Any suggestions?
The Sanctuary of Saint Lucia is a 20-metres deep and 8-metres wide natural cave carved into the rock, close to the village of Villanova di Mondovì.
Legend narrates that Saint Lucia appeared in the vision of a young, deaf-mute shepherdess, who was letting her herd graze around the column of Saint Lucia, located at the junction of the Ellero and Lurisia vallies, and asked her to move her shrine to a more protected spot. Suddenly the young girl was able to speak and hear so that she could go to the other villagers and ask them to help her. The shrine was thus moved to the present position.
News of the miracle spread very quickly and the spot soon became a popular place of worship and pilgrimage. Unfortunately, no written records were found about the construction of the buildings around the cave due to a fire which destroyed the town’s archives during the Napoleon wars.
The white, four storey building perched on top of the rock was most likely build during the 17th century, an amazing effort that can only be justified by a genuine belief in the miraculous nature of the place. The marble statue was most probably placed in the cave at the end of the 17th century to replace the original, made of wood.
Further works took place in the 18th century, with the addition of the Baroque tower and the renovation of the Addolorata Chapel.
The side building with the arcade loggia was built between 1819 and 1825. A long and narrow tunnel, never fully explored, might at some point have connected the cave of Saint Lucia with the Dossi Cave, which is at the other side of the mountain. This theory was never proven but according to popular belief some ducks were placed at one side of the cave and came out on the other side! Well, even if ducks may have done it speleologists certainly never did!
During WWII the sanctuary played a crucial role as it harboured a group of partisans and a secret printing facility for the anti-fascist newspaper Rinascita d’Italia.
Both nuns and priests helped the partisans in their fight against the occupying Nazis and the fascist government.
Today the Sanctuary is still an important spiritual retreat and also a popular destination for day trips. It can be reached by car through a narrow mountain road or on foot, but as it is only open on certain days, make sure you call in advance before you make your way up the mountain!
We wouldn’t be here today without our stubbornness and the support of these Italian companies and institutions.