Italy abounds in tourist destinations that are particularly appetizing for visitors coming from abroad.
Nice places that offer tourists things to admire but most of all experiences to savour. One classic example is the Langhe and Roero, in the Piedmontese province of Cuneo, just 70 kilometres from Turin.
At the meeting of the World Heritage Committee held in Doha, Qatar, from 15 to 25 June 2014, the Langhe-Roero and Monferrato Wine Landscapes were recognized as an integral part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, acknowledging the exceptional universal value to the Piedmontese cultural landscape.
The Langhe and Roero represent an area with a strong appeal to tourists, drawing particular interest from foreign markets and able to attract significant numbers of visitors. For many years, the food and wine attractions have been joined by a diversified range of tourist pursuits: culture, art, nature, outdoor activities.
Visitors to the Langhe and Roero know exactly what to expect: stunning landscapes, excellent food and wine and first-rate hospitality. Typically tourism here is focused on gastronomy, with fine wines accompanying the rich dishes of Langhe tradition: countless antipasti, typical fresh egg pastas like tajarin and “plin” ravioli, raw Fassone beef, PDO cheeses, desserts based on PGI Piedmont hazelnuts and, of course, Tuber magnatum Pico, the Alba white truffle.
Medieval hill-top villages, typical foods, events, castles and museums are the main attractions offered by the area, from Barolo to Barbaresco, from Alba, the capital of the Langhe, to the baroque town of Bra, home of the Slow Food movement, from the wild Alta Langa with its forests, hazelnut groves and vast variety of cheeses for all tastes, to the Bassa Langa and its incredible wines.
Tourists can take advantage of a wide range of activities: visiting Barolo’s castle, home to wine museum WiMu, or the Grinzane Cavour castle, location of the Regional Enoteca, the International Truffle Auction and a Michelin-starred restaurant; hiking and cycling; cooking schools for visitors like the one at the Castello di Roddi; or the new Magic Museum for adults and children in Cherasco.
The area hosts events of national and international scope, such as the International Alba White Truffle Fair, Vinum in Alba, Slow Food’s Cheese in Bra, the Alba Music Festival and Alba Jazz Festival and Monforteinjazz at Monforte d’Alba. In December, the Magical Christmas Village in Govone extends the tourist season beyond the Truffle Fair, allowing visitors to enjoy the area and its excellent food and wine in the enchanting winter season.
The local landscapes are dominated by the vineyards that cover the hills. Season to season and month to month, they offer an ever-changing spectrum of colours. The vineyards provide the grapes used to make some of the world’s best wines: noble Barolo and Barbaresco, the younger Barbera and sparkling Moscato, along with many other varieties that make the Langhe and Roero a true enological heritage site for humanity.
Lovers of wine culture can take advantage of a call centre, Piemonte on Wine, for booking winery visits. Piemonte on Wine also offers the services of Wine Tellers, experts able not only to share their knowledge about viticulture and enology but also to make the subject accessible to both connoisseurs and novice wine enthusiasts using stories and games.
The undulating hills of the Langhe and Roero can be places of deep silence, but also sudden explosions of vitality: village festivals always feature music for dancing, the traditional ball game of pallapugno is still played and in the summer the hilltops blaze with the propitiatory bonfires known as falò. On 4th August, to remember Cesare Pavese and his most famous novel, La Luna e i Falò (The Moon and the Bonfires) the hills of his birthplace, Santo Stefano Belbo, are lit up by dozens of fires. Pavese is not the only star of 20th-century Italian literature to call the Langhe home; Beppe Fenoglio and Giovanni Arpino were also from here.