The admirable Bormida Monastery Castle can be reached in 6 minutes by car, but it is fun and pleasant to go there on foot or by bicycle from La Cascina Langa, passing through the hamlet of Santa Libera. The outward journey, on foot or by bike, is easier than the return, because it is downhill … so it is possible to calculate about 1 hour on foot and 20 minutes by bike, with times to double for the return, because the difference between La Cascina Langa (480 m asl and Monastery, 191, is almost 300 meters).
The castle was initially built and inhabited by monks, who produced huge quantities of wine already many centuries ago; it then passed to feudal lords, knights, and noble families … but the enormous underground cellars, very suggestive, remained and are worth the visit! Today the castle belongs to the Municipality that leaves free admission or offers a guided tour for 6 euros per person (lower rate for groups) and rents it for ceremonies and events.
The base is medieval, like the defensive walls, the drawbridge … but over the centuries it has been enriched with details: the original bell tower has become an imposing tower, the sixteenth-century loggia, seventeenth-century frescoes in the great rooms of the noble floor.
For those arriving from La Cascina Langa following the suggested narrow road, the entrance to the Castle is through the authentic Romanesque bridge.
Stopover for those who go on foot or by bike, the tiny fraction of Santa Libera consists of a small religious building but above all a little school … which has a beautiful story. In the first half of the twentieth century, the inhabitants of the surrounding hills did not have a school where to send their children: the present roads were modest paths, therefore they lived in substantial isolation, with rare episodes downstream in the summer months on foot or board wagons or beasts. To ensure basic education for their children, therefore, the peasants of these hills all built the little school together and looked after its maintenance. Inside the school, they had made the room-home for the teacher, who lived there for the duration of the school year and in turn, brought her food to eat and wood to keep warm … Other times!
Santa Libera was also the base and hiding place of the partisans during the struggle for Liberation.
Town fairs and festivals in Bormida Monastery:
Second Sunday of March: Polenta Festival. A beautiful, very ancient festival, evocative and deeply felt by the local inhabitants. An enormous cauldron is brought to the medieval square in front of the Castle and a giant polenta (10 quintals!) Is cooked early in the morning, while other stalls of local gastronomic wonders converge on the spot. At lunchtime, the polenta is served and in the afternoon there is a costume parade with over 100 participants.
The Polenta Festival recalls an act of great generosity made by a Marquis del Carretto, who had seen the magnin coming from a neighboring country, that is the specialized craftsmen of the repair of pots and pots. One year he saw them arrive exhausted with hunger and starvation and offered abundant quantities of polenta, omelets, and other food. The same festival is also held in some neighboring countries on other dates in Ponti, in Bubbio, in Roccaverano.