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.