When you say the word Langa, people immediately think of wine, cheese, and truffle.
In fact, the Langhe, the hilly area around Alba in Piedmont, is one of the most famous gastronomy areas in the whole world. In autumn, people literally flock to the region to taste its delicious wine and maybe a bit of its superb white truffle.
The area deserves its fame because the quality of the food is incredible and the overall level of restaurants is really high: you can’t eat poorly in the Langhe, it is basically impossible. But, as it always happens when a region becomes really popular, the area is getting a little less genuine than it was in the past.
the traditional scenery of the Alta Langa
Posh and trendy restaurants have replaced local trattorie and new spas and luxury resorts are everywhere now. What used to be a poor wine area is now one of the wealthiest regions in the country. This is undoubtedly a good thing for the people who live there but, as you may know, I always prefer more authentic locations.
And one of those authentic locations I love so much is not that far away from the Langhe. Actually, it is part of the greater Langhe region and it is called Alta Langa. The Alta Langa is the area of the Langhe that is close to Liguria and its scenery is a bit different than the one around Alba: there are fewer vineyards and more meadows, forests, and green hills with a lot of hazel trees.
the lavender fields in Sale San Giovanni
In fact, the hazelnut is one of the most important products in the area, alongside cheeses like the Murazzano DOP. In terms of wine, the specialty of the area is the Alta Langa Docg, a brut sparkling wine and the first traditional method wine to be made in Italy, during the mid-19th century.
Since the area is very close to where I live, it is a common destination for those lazy summer afternoons when I do not want to stay at home nor do I want to drive too far away. When my husband and I do not know what to do, we always come up with an “Andiamo in Alta Langa?” and off we go.
Murazzano, a view of the village
The first village we encounter, coming from Liguria, is Sale San Giovanni, a place nobody knew until they started growing lavender. Since then, it has become the “Provence of Langa” and a very Instagram-friendly location. Every year in June, when the lavender is in full bloom, lots of people come to Sale San Giovanni to enjoy their perfect Instagram opportunity.
In the other months, the village is quite sleepy but it is definitely worth a stop if you are in the area because it is a lovely Medieval village with little alleys, some small churches that dot the hills, the imposing Castello Incisa-Camerana, and a lot of trekking routes (if you are interested, you can find more information here).
Another view of Murazzano
Driving forward towards Alba, the next village is Murazzano, 700 meters above sea level, which is mainly famous for the cheese I mentioned before. The village is perched on a hill and its most important sight is a Medieval tower from which you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the valley around.
Like all the other villages in the area, it is very small but it is always nice to stop there for ice cream at Cafè Gianduja, if it is summer, or to enjoy a great lunch at Trattoria Da Lele, one of the most famous restaurants in the area. It is a great place for a stroll also because around the village there are multiple information signs that describe all the local traditions and the main historical events that took place there.
the view from Belvedere Langhe
If you want to enjoy some beautiful views of the area, two are the places you have to visit: Belvedere Langhe and Mombarcaro. Belvedere Langhe is just 10 minutes from Murazzano, there isn’t much to see there but the local viewpoint is really worth a detour because it is in a peaceful small park and gives you the chance of a 360° view of the area.
Mombarcaro is also quite close and it is known as the vetta delle Langhe (peak of the Langhe) because it is the highest village in the region. One cool thing is that, on clear days, you can see the glistening of the sea from the viewpoint located at the top of the village. From up there, you can see the Ligurian Apennines and Piedmontese mountains like Monviso, Cervino, and Monte Rosa.
a beautiful house in Bossolasco
The final stop of a visit in Alta Langa is Bossolasco, which is known as the paese delle rose (village of the roses). In fact, the main streets in town are full of rose plants, which make the place look really enchanting in spring and early summer. Apart from its lovely streets and colorful houses, there isn’t much to see in Bossolasco, but it is one of my favorite places in the area for its peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
Finally, if you are interested in contemporary history, all these places are really meaningful because they have been the locations of many battles between the Resistance Movement and the Nazis during World War Two and there are a lot of paths that are devoted to remembering those events. Similarly, the area has been the backdrop of many books by Beppe Fenoglio, a very important Italian writer, who has lived in the area and there are paths devoted to him too.
another view of Bossolasco
Well, I hope this post has convinced you to visit Alta Langa! If you have been there already, what was your favorite place?
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