Langhe Castles and Churches

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Serralunga d'Alba Castle - Photo by Davide Dutto

The medieval heritage of the Langhe and Roero is seen especially in the impressive number of fortified structures, castles and watchtowers that dot the thousand hills down to the sea. But it can also be found in often isolated (rural) Romanesque churches that offered asylum to pilgrims and protection (at least spiritual) to the inhabitants scattered across hundreds of farms in those self-same hills. For a thousand years it was a swarm of traders, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, tax collectors, artists and bandits, each of whom travelled the cart tracks (in the valleys) and mule tracks (on the ridges) for his own ends. Parts of these ancient streets are now our streets, parts of which once again swallowed by the woods: they are generically referred to as Vie del Sale (Streets of Salt) and therefore often pass through a "pedaggera", a duty station that enriched the local squire, perhaps also allowing him to pay a painter to buy himself a piece of paradise, frescoing the chapel of a small country church. The frescoes of the Langhe are almost all of the popular Monregalese school (from Mondovì) in the Gothic style. Castles and towers immediately take us back to the atmosphere of King Arthur and the cycle of the Provencal Paladins. The enemy (besides the lord of the hill opposite) were mostly the Moors, the pirates who raided from the sea located just inland. For this reason systems of “seeing” towers were built, capable of raising the alarm from the sea to Asti in about an hour. Centuries later, many of the grim medieval manors were softened, when converted into luxury baroque residences, according to the tastes of the time and especially to the new power that from 1631 had made subject the whole of Piedmont: the Dukes of Savoy with their sumptuous Court in Turin.

Discover our churches and castle:
-Langa of Barolo Castles
-Roero Castles
-Alta Langa Castles and churches

Text by ©Pietro Giovannini

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