Friday, 28 August 2020

Three days in the Roero, a soul of vineyard and wood.

Pesche gialle, eccellenza del Roero Pesche gialle, eccellenza del Roero

The differences cancel out and are intensified in this area of rugged hills and gentle panoramas that suddenly open onto the jagged peaks of the Rocche.

The fabric of Roero is woven with a scar of rocks and sand, the Rocche, which are the most characteristic feature of the landscape of this territory, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014. 

But between the dense bush and the majestic canyons, man has carved for himself an area of rare beauty, made up of vines that thrive courageously on the slopes of the hills, luxuriant orchards and medieval villages. Getting lost in the wilderness of Roero is a necessary condition to discover all its hidden gems and the magic of a place suspended between history and nature.


The capital

La zizzola, symbol of the city of Bra | Credits Andrea Mucelli

It is impossible to not start from Bra, unanimously considered as the capital of the Roero. The city rises on the edge of the large woods that identify this land, before the hills give way to the plain and the spectacle of the nearby Langhe. Take all the time to discover its Baroque soul by visiting the splendid church of Santa Chiara, the work of the architect of the Savoy house Bernardo Antonio Vittone, or by wandering through the streets of the historic center until you come to one of the historic cafes in Via Cavour where writer Giovanni Arpino loved to rest and read. When you are tired, consider making a stop in one of the many excellent osterias to taste the gastronomic specialty of the city: the Bra sausage. Its origins fade into myth, but what is certain is that the recipe used to prepare it is a secret that is handed down from one generation of butchers to the next. An advice: eat it raw with a bit of fresh bread, just like how the locals do. Also, in Bra, in the small offices in via Mendicità, the Slow Food association was born, and it still celebrates its roots by organizing “Cheese”, an important event in the industry of dairy products which attracts the most important international companies in the sector in September of every other year.

The heart and veins of Roero

Crutin, a small cellar dug into the friable rock of the Roero | Credits Ecomuseo delle Rocche

The twenty-four municipalities of the Roero are connected by a solid network of trails that allows you to experience the complex biodiversity of this land using all the senses. Thanks to the precise mapping work carried out by the volunteers of the Ecomuseo delle Rocche, it is now possible to choose from the many itineraries available, to be covered on foot or by bike, based on different levels of difficulty. Natural amphitheaters, sand walls in which fossils dating back to the Messinian era are set, ridges that open onto breathtaking views or small lakes where the rich fauna of the Roero thrives. These are just some of the reasons why we invite you to pack your bags, wear a pair of comfortable hiking shoes and set out to discover the unique landscapes that this land has to offer. Why not start from Montà d’Alba with a visit to the Ecomuseo delle Rocche and then choose one of the many circular paths that begin and end in the town? For those who enjoy eating, it is possible to book a truffle experience accompanied directly by those looking for truffles, a trifolao. A truly unique way to get to know the King of Langhe and Roero cuisine, a product appreciated and envied all over the world: his majesty, the white truffle of Alba. And finally, one last tip. Prolong the journey and reach the Sanctuary of the Piloni just outside Montà. A destination of pilgrimages since the distant seventeenth century, the sanctuary is made up of thirteen chapels located on the crest of the fortress, a Via Crucis immersed in silence and greenery, a place where the colors of the sunset fade into the hues of the earth, leaving the beauty of the panorama to speak for itself.

The house of Roero

L'Enoteca Regionale del Roero, in Canale

After so much wandering, it is time to rest and continue exploring the Enoteca Regionale del Roero, home of the iconic wines that this land has expressed for centuries. It is located in Canale, at the former Asilo Infantile “Regina Margherita”, a striking red brick complex dating back to the last century. Let yourself be guided in the discovery of the most important denominations of the area such as Langhe Favorita, Barbera d’Alba, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo, Birbèt but above all Roero and Roero Arneis DOCG. Historical sources attest to the noble lineage of these two wines, present since the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, which is confirmed at the time of tasting, when the complexity of the aromas leaves no doubt about the aristocracy and importance of these two denominations. When you have found your favorite among the wines tasted, you can buy it directly at the Enoteca, saving yourself a piece of this splendid land to uncork when you get nostalgic. Before returning, you might want to think about trying one of the incredible dishes of Chef Palluda's Osteria “All’enoteca”, housed within the former Asilo Infantile “Regina Margherita”, where you can also find his Michelin-starred restaurant “All’enoteca”. One last stop to finish off the visit to Roero, the heart of the woods, with gusto.


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