At about 10 minutes by car, and about two hours walk, there is the splendid Mombaldone, rightly elected to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

To reach it on foot or by bicycle, you can pass by the village of Denice, take a small road (via Mombaldone) that starts a few steps from the center of the Denice weighing area and stay at high altitude.

You enter the old Mombaldone from an ancient door and you are revealed in front of the country that has remained as such for centuries: a central street paved in stone and houses and houses on the sides, all in stone … at a certain point a small square opens up that seems painted, with two churches side by side of the sweet baroque country style … At the top, there is a castle of which only the square plan remains, which was, like the whole village, owned by the Marquises del Carretto, one of the noblest families of Italy, which owned much of Piedmont and Liguria.

Marquise Gemma and Marquis Umberto … you can easily meet them, because among all the possessions they chose to stay right there, in Mombaldone. Gemma is an artist and has embellished the village with paintings, rhymes written on tiles; Marquis Umberto, on the other hand, opened a special restaurant, the Hereafter in a part of the noble palaces, where he proposes exquisite dishes of the Piedmontese noble tradition and receives the guests in rooms and lounges that look like the set of a film set in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and instead … they are really authentic!

Town festivals and fairs :

The fritters festival is held at the end of May

The festival of medieval Mombaldone, with re-enactments of period costumes, has been suspended in recent years: a real shame.

Bormida Monastery Castle

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.

Roccaverano and Vengore tower

The charming Roccaverano, 760 meters above sea level, can be reached in about an hour and a half walk on the outward journey (uphill) and an hour on the way back (downhill). Travel times by bicycle: 40 minutes on the way. By car: about 8 minutes.

The central square is bordered by … masterpieces! On one side, mighty medieval walls – with a graceful mullioned window in the middle – and an equally powerful circular tower, on the other, a Renaissance church with a plan and facade by Bramante! All surrounded by breathtaking views of the beautiful surrounding hills.

The church is one of the wonders of Italian creativity: at the beginning of the sixteenth century, a Monsignor native of Roccaverano, during a trip to Rome, managed to get in touch with Bramante’s study, had a plan and facade designed, and had the building built with the poor material available, namely the Langa stone. The result is a resounding combination of elegance and simplicity, that is a magical combination of the simple divine proportions and perspective games of Bramante with ancient centuries-old techniques and local building materials …

In the square overlooks an excellent restaurant, Osteria del Bramante Managed by Giselda, who is also the chef, it offers typical Piedmontese dishes, some in a very traditional version, others with some successful variations, all done by hand .., The restaurant also has a bar for one of the most suggestive aperitifs in Piedmont: tables in front of the church of Bramante, which at sunset is tinged with a golden veil enhancing the beauty of the Langa stone and revealing all its shades: from warm yellow, ocher to beige…

You can climb to the top of the tower asking for the key at the bar: the view around, from the top of the tower (30 meters) is spectacular.

Leaving the center of Roccaverano, there is a tiny church, the parish church of San Giovanni, another treasure chest of art! Because it contains the most complete cycle of frescoes Gothic in Piedmont … Again an example of how the Renaissance that lingered in the great Italian cities radiated everywhere, and how it could be lived and reinterpreted by local workers. Not far from the church of San Giovanni, already in the middle of the countryside, the majestic Torre di Vengore, a 13th-century tower stands out in the middle of woods and fields. A square base, tall and mighty, it was a lookout tower.

Roccaverano is also the home of goat cheese, recognized as a Slow Food Presidium … considered one of the best Italian cheeses.

Town festivals and festivals in Roccaverano :

Feast of the 5 towers: the country comes alive for the departure and arrival of the organized walk with Cai assistance and refreshments along the route.

Polenta festival, between the end of May and the beginning of June.

Last weekend of June: Carrett’s Feast: goat cheese and representatives of dairies arrive, often small family-run businesses.

13 and 14 August: Feast under the stars the central square lights up and for two days it is filled with wonderful dishes of the Langhe, always accompanied by the famous Robiola di Roccaverano. At the end of the dinner music and dances, even late.

First Sunday of September: Caprine Feast: the best goat specimens from which the famous cheese is obtained converge in the village … The event concludes with the awarding of the best goats and is an opportunity to taste also other gastronomic delights of the area.

Last weekend in September: Feast of San Gerolamo. Foods, wines, and games, in honor of the town’s patron saint.

Olmo Gentile and San Giorgio Scarampi

A very short distance from Roccaverano, (3 km, or 5 minutes by car, 10 by bicycle and 40 on foot) there is the delightful Olmo Gentile, a village that coincides with a castle perched between the hills, with incomparable views … you will also find a terrace from which, in fine weather, you can see, in addition to the interwoven designs of admirable hills, a large part of the Alpine arc!

At the entrance of the village is located La Posta restaurant, owned by a group of sisters: traditional Piedmontese cuisine with special fried scones served hot just sitting at the table… It is not always open: call and book before.

Town festivals and festivals:

The Tower of San Giorgio Scarampi is located 11 km from La Cascina Langa. By car, the journey time is 18 minutes and can be a stop after the visit-walk in Roccaverano, because the tower is less than 5 km from Roccaverano and it takes 8 minutes by car.

Built in the fourteenth century, with a square section, with a Latin inscription still legible at the entrance, the tower was also a 6-story house, some of which covered with barrel vaults: on the third floor, there was the kitchen with a large fireplace. The tower is located at the top of a micro-village made of 2 churches and 5 small houses, and from its top, you can enjoy a marvelous free view over 360 degrees.

Montechiaro and its festivals

Montechiaro d’Acqui Alta. It is an ancient village located at the top of the hill on the other side of the valley from La Cascina Langa. To get there by walk you descent from La Cascina Langa to Montechiaro Piana, then uphill from Montechiaro Piana to Montechiaro Alta.

Perched around a castle that has been demolished, Montechiaro Alta preserves the charm of the ancient village that has remained almost intact in the cobblestone streets, stone staircases, small and delightful houses, with the church of San Giorgio and its carved stone portal … A little gem is the little church of Santa Caterina, which is located slightly isolated on a hill in front of the castle. Today deconsecrated, it has been transformed into Farming Museum, and the Municipality can make it available for events or celebrations of weddings and civil rites. In Montechiaro Piana, for the curious of ancient architecture, a baptismal font that dates back to the eighth century AD has remained intact .. a large basin where baptism by immersion was practiced; for those who appreciate proto-industrial architecture, the little-used red-brick chimney is the only remnant of an important furnace.

Town fairs and festivals in Montechiaro :

On the first Sunday of May, in Montechiaro Alta, the anchovy festival takes place, Anciuada del Castlan. It has an ancient tradition because these lands were transit nodes of salt and salted fish that went from Liguria to the Po Valley. Arrived on the back of a mule in these lands, anchovies were also exchanged for local products: wine, cheeses, and Piedmontese meats.

This festive occasion coexists with another re-enactment: the feast of the Holy Thorns, which recalls the transport, by a crusader knight, of some thorns of the crown of Jesus: he had found them in the Holy Land and he took them to Montechiaro.

To commemorate the event, therefore, every year 12 men from Montechiaro dress in the flagellant costume and after Mass, they carry the Holy Thorns around the streets and alleys of Montechiaro Alta. On the occasion of the Anciuada and the Holy Thorns, various local producers of food and wine delights converge in Montechiaro. Visitors can taste the anchovy sandwich combined with a sauce based on wonderful herbs prepared by the Montechiarese ladies, plus wine, cheese, salami, etc.

8 December: Fat Bue Festival, held in Montechiaro Piana. It is the competition of the best bovine specimens, which converge in different heads from various farms in the area, and are carefully observed by local farmers. Local authorities and industry experts converge to form a very serious jury. The best ox and his master win a prize. But the festival is a feast for the whole town: markets, games in the square, and lunch of boiled meat prepared by excellent local cooks, along with other typical dishes.

For those coming from the city, this festival is an interesting opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of Piedmontese breeders, to admire their attention and their competence towards cows, calves, and oxen.

Calanchi trekking

From Montechiaro Alta, start the path of “Passeggiata dei Calanchi” , which, together with that of the 5 towers, is a cult for cyclists and trekking enthusiasts. The itinerary is 30 kilometers long, and the walking time is estimated at 9 hours. Before the era of mobile phones, it was advised to go there with a compass, because walking or pedaling inside the gullies means plunging headlong into nature: you pass by very woody stretches that in spring-summer are colored with flowers, with long stretches of pure dry stone, white and grey…a lunar landscape! In some places, you can also find marine fossils.

On the first Sunday of May, the Montechiaro branch organizes the walk with refreshment points, marked stages and with the possibility of following, in addition to the classic itinerary, another one of about half-length.

In any case, it is a challenging walk, crossing fords, sudden ascents and descents, even slippery slopes. It starts at an altitude of 202 meters, the maximum altitude is 532, but the health and descents of the itinerary are many, so the total height difference at the end of the course is over 1000 meters.


Getting to Denice from La Cascina Langa is a pleasant walk of 5 kilometers, with no particularly challenging gradients, between chestnut, oak, elm, and acacia woods.

On foot, it takes about an hour and a quarter to get there and back.

The village has a particular circular shape, which is found in other medieval villages of central Italy, with a defensive purpose. The inhabited area is a cluster of small houses, narrow streets, archivolts, all in stone and all clinging under the medieval tower.

The heart of the town is San Lorenzo , a delightful little square with a beautiful small simple church that dates back to the 15th century. If you find it open, enter and look the fifteenth-century frescoes … they are a fine example, of a rural version that is anything but rough with pictorial themes of the early Renaissance.

The tower , of fourteenth-century origin, is particularly slender and graceful compared to other contemporary examples and has a refined crenellation at the top. From the top of the tower, the view extends far … you can see the gullies of Montechiaro, the picturesque village of Castelletto d’Erro in the opposite hill, and, in some days, a large part of the Alpine arc.

The Belvedere trattoria restaurant is highly recommended, whose owners Maria and Gianni (who is also the chef) offer very typical Piedmontese cuisine and a family atmosphere, with a suggestive view of the hill from the large window of the room. Call before you go, because the Belvedere only opens a few days of the week.

If you take a stroll around the town, you will see here and there modern tiles and tiles inserted in the frame of ancient stone walls: the idea of ​​the municipal administration is also to create an artistic bridge between this area of ​​Piedmont and the Ligurian area ceramic art.

The most valuable insert is an authentic Roman bas-relief, with three faces, placed today to crown a front door of a private house. A precious medieval tile representing a soldier without weapons but with abundant footwear, now set between the walls of Denice, was found in the lands around La Cascina Langa.

Town Festivals and Festivals in Denice :

The “Sagra delle bugie” (fritters) on the third Sunday of May.

Second Sunday of July: Feast of the “Madonna delle Grazie”, with typical Langhe dinner prepared by pro loco and associations of the town, excellent ravioli, meats, sweets…

Between 6 and 10 August: Feast of San Lorenzo , which is the patron saint of the town. A heart-felt procession through the delightful streets of the small town, with the participation of most of the citizens of Denice, then local food and wine and games

Other village festivals and festivals in the area :

In Bubbio , the Threshing Festival and gathering of vintage tractors, first Sunday after mid-August. Beautiful old agricultural vehicles, which are also put into operation, pork, wine, and desserts.

In Sessame the Sagra del Risotto on the first Sunday of May:

It has been held for 300 years, or since, in the 700s, the risotto – previously noble food privilege – became part of the Piedmontese common food. It is not known if the festival evokes a gesture of generosity from one of the many marquises del Carretto, who gave laughter to the people after a long famine, or if instead he remembers that the women of the place, in a moment of strong economic crisis, were induced to leave the villages of the Langhe to go to work in the plains like weeders …

Castelletto d’Erro , third Sunday of May, the Strawberry Festival : freshly picked strawberries converge in large quantities at the foot of the medieval tower, where you can eat and buy. The event also includes music, non-competitive walks, and local food and wine.

Third Sunday in July the “Sagra delle Pesche” and the patron saint of Sant’Anna.