Brochure tortonese - English version

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Tortona and its surroundings, a crossroads of lands


The area surrounding the town of Tortona represents the extreme strip of the province of Alessandria, located among Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Liguria, it has always been an important intersection of roads and people.

Its territory is characterized by a varied landscape: a plain crossed by the Po River, winding hills with their gentle and boundless sides, which are kissed by the sun and outlined by several vineyards, orchards, tilled lands. Three streams flow through the area: Curone, Grue, Ossona, they then join and reach the Apennines mountain chain, in a place where the valleys seem to ideally gather round the monument dedicated to Christ the Redeemer placed on the top of the mount Giarolo. From this summit on sunny days you can enjoy an unexpected and stunning view going from the Monviso mountain to the Ligurian sea, whose breeze can be felt and breathed. The area surrounding Tortona is rich in history, culture, natural beauty spots, flavours and art in which are founded the traditions of four Italian regions, three of them bordering it and one belonging to the area. Throughout the territory you can find tangible signs of such a great heritage that has to be searched and discovered by crossing its valleys, visiting its ancient villages located on the hills or down in the valley.

Tourist Information

wwww.vivitortona.it

Welcome.


Along the

Milano

Aosta Torino

Aosta Aosta

Milano

Milano

Torino

Torino Genova

Genova Genova

1

Scrivia Stream

page 6 - 27

2

Ossona Valley

page 28 - 33

3

Grue Valley

page 34 - 45

4

Curone Valley

page 46 - 67

5

a walk in the

Borbera Valley

• Alluvioni Cambiò. . . . . . . . . . . 16 • Alzano Scrivia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 • Avolasca . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 • Berzano di Tortona. . . . . . . . . 53 • Brignano Frascata. . . . . . . . . . 62 • Carbonara Scrivia . . . . . . . . . . 25 • Carezzano. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 • Casalnoceto. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 • Casasco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 • Castellania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 • Castellar Guidobono . . . . . . 51 • Castelnuovo Scrivia. . . . . . . . 10 • Cerreto Grue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 • Costa Vescovato. . . . . . . . . . . . 31 • Dernice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 • Fabbrica Curone. . . . . . . . . . . . 65 • Garbagna. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 • Gremiasco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 • Guazzora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 • Isola Sant'Antonio. . . . . . . . . . 14 • Molino dei Torti. . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 • Momperone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 • Monleale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 • Montacuto. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 • Montegioco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

page 68 - 69

• Montemarzino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 • Paderna. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 • Piovera. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 • Pontecurone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 • Pozzol Groppo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 • Sale. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 • Sant'Agata Fossili. . . . . . . . . . . 21 • San Sebastiano Curone. . . 60 • Sarezzano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 • Spineto Scrivia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 • Tortona. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 • Viguzzolo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 • Villalvernia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 • Villaromagnano. . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 • Volpedo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 • Volpeglino . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 • Riverside Park. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 • Upper Curone Valley. . . . . . . 66 • The Salt Route. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 • Archaeological Park. . . . . . . . 67 • Borbera Valley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 • Local Products. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 • Wines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84


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Itineraries MONGIARDINO

CABELLA LIGURE

ROCCHETTA LIGURE

ALBERA LIGURE

Borbera

CANTALUPO LIGURE M.te Barillaro

Borbera

DERNICE BORGHETTO BORBERA

GARBAGNA

Torri St.Alosio M.te

AVOLASCA

Along the Scrivia Stream

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Ossona Valley

3

Grue Valley

4

Curone Valley

5

A walk in the

Borbera Valley

CASTELLANIA

Paese natale di

Fausto Coppi

COSTA VESCOVATO VILLAROMAGNANO

CAREZZANO

ona Oss

San Vito

1

Borbera

S. AGATA FOSSILI VIGNOLE BORBERA

SPINETO SCRIVIA A7

PADERNA CARBONARA SCRIVIA Parco dello Scrivia

VILLALVERNIA

SCRIVIA

A7

Abbazia di Rivalta Scrivia

Serravalle Outlet

VA GENO

A26 A7


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Itinerary

The area along the Scrivia Stream Starting from the ancient town of Dertona (Tortona) and going northwards, you penetrate into the Scrivia Valley, crossed by the stream of the same name, its landscape is typical of the Po Valley with its fields planted not only with cereals and fodders, but also with vegetables such as potatoes, onions, garlic, celery, tomatoes, turnips, besides fruits like melons and watermelons. Going up southwards along the course of the Scrivia stream, towards its source, on its right bank the landscape starts to get wavy. The plain becomes hill. The tilled fields start to leave space for vineyards. The roads follow the landscape change, they wind and bend up and down the hills.



TORTONA

‘Pro tribus donis similis Terdona Leonis’. Three gifts – valour, loyalty, courtesy – are promised by the ancient motto reported on the coat of arms of Tortona.

However this ancient town has much more gifts in store for its visitors, it dates back in far-off times even before the Roman age and continued to be strongly present and lively during each period of its severalthousand-year-old history which made it a 'hidden jewel'. Tortona is: archeological finds of Roman age; medieval and Renaissance buildings set in the historic centre; architecturally different churches due to styles and age of construction, each one of them represents a casket of hidden treasures; views of ancient squares and roads having the name of notable people from Tortona, who made the history of the town thanks to their heroic achievements, their art or their faith. Located on the border with four regions, at the intersection of the most important road systems of Northern Italy, it is characterized by a landscape that extends from the last offshoot of the Po Valley along the banks of the Scrivia stream, to the gentle hills. Here the farmers outline through their cultivations and by their expert hands the territory making the agricultural products of this land great.

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Tortona and its surroundings – Scrivia Valley - Itinerary1

EVENTS · Assoli: figure theatre review – from January to March · Cantarà e Catanaj: flea market - last Sunday in April, September and November · Santa Croce Fair and Feast - second Sunday in May · Assaggia Tortona e dintorni - food-and-wine show – last weekend in May · Festa della Madonna della Guardia (Our Lady of the Guard) feast- 29th August · Baracche di Luglio: summer figure theatre review - between June and August · Arena Derthona Music Festival - July

LOCAL PRODUCTS

· Fragola profumata di Tortona (Tortona scented small strawberries), "Ottofile" Corn, Truffles, · Baci di Dama and Baci Dorati (handmade biscuits called Lady’s Kisses and Golden Kisses) · Traditional local dishes: Anlot (Ravioli), Ajà (Nut sauce), and Stufato di Carne (stewed meat).


notable people

Lorenzo Perosi

(Tortona 1872 – Rome 1956) sacred music composer, known for his oratorios and polyphonic masses, appointed Perpetual Director of the Sistine Chapel by Pope Leo XIII in 1898.

Angelo Barabino

(Tortona 1883 – Milan 1950) painter. Important exponent of Divisionism.

Peppino Sarina

(Broni 1884 – Tortona 1978) puppet master.

WORTH A VISIT • Piazza del Duomo (Duomo square) with its Santa Maria Assunta and San Lorenzo Cathedral, which houses several prestigious art works. • Palazzetto Medievale (Medieval Building) seat of the Picture Gallery ‘Il Divisionismo’ (The Divisionism) exhibiting the works of the main painters belonging to such movement. • Palazzo Vescovile (Bishops’ Palace) and Museo Diocesano d'arte Sacra (Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art); the latter houses important works such as the precious triptych by Macrino D'Alba (1499) and the ‘Codex purpureus sarzanensis’, an Evangeliary of great value (5th -6th centuries); the diocesan library and historical archive. • Santa Maria dei Canali: the oldest church of the town, dating back to the 11th-12th centuries. Among the several paintings, the canvas showing the Nativity of Jesus is of great importance, it dates from the first decade of 1500 and is attributed to a Lombard painter under some Leonardesque influence and a canvas showing the ‘Annunciation’, a work of the Milanese painter Giovan Mauro della Rovere, called the Fiamminghino. • San Giacomo Church. Of medieval origin, it

represents a perfect example of late Baroque architecture that preserved its original structure. • Palazzo Guidobono (Guidobono’s Palace), a stately home of the 16th century, nowadays it is an important exhibition seat. • The Teatro Civico (Civico Theatre), represents a wonderful example of the neoclassical style, built between 1836 and 1838. • Via Emilia: the main street axis of the town centre which is partially identifiable as the typical ancient Roman cardo. Outside the old town centre there are the Roman ruins of the ancient walls, of the Necropolis and of the Santa Croce Hospital. • The tower of the Castle, the sole surviving element of the fortress that rose above the town, is immersed in the green and quietness of its park. • The Basilica della Madonna della Guardia (Our Lady of the Guard basilica) represents a not-to-be missed place to visit, it was built by Saint Luigi Orione’s will. • In the hamlet of Rivalta Scrivia the Abbey complex of the Cistercian monks dating back to 1180.

Giuseppe Romita

(Tortona 1887 – Rome 1958) important politician of the nascent Italian Republic.

Gen. Aristide Arzano

(Tortona 1886 – Annone Brianza 1943) promoter of the enhancement and protection of the historic and artistic heritage of Tortona.

Enrico Bellone

(Tortona 1938 – 2011) Physicist and Science Historian, among the greatest connoisseurs of Galileo Galilei’s theory in the world. IAT Office Tourist Information and Welcoming Office of the Municipality of Tortona Palazzo Guidobono, piazza Arzano Tel/Fax 0131.868940 www.vivitortona.it www.comune.tortona.al.it

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CASTELNUOVO SCRIVIA

The village is located on the right bank of the Scrivia stream, below the confluence with the Grue stream. The stream in the past was a source of life and trade, for fishing, for the wood, wickers, gravel and sand.

The first settlements dated back to the Roman age. The residential complex arose around 500 BC built by the Ostroghots of Theodoric who ordered the castle fortification, therefore around it were built houses and shelters. The most famous events are referred to the Middle Age when Castelnuovo, partisan Ghibelline, was allied with Barbarossa and took part in the destruction of Tortona (1155), by obtaining in return public works, immunities and privileges, among which the right to place on the tower the municipal flag and to have the exclusive in the market of woad (to dye the fabrics blue).

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Tortona and its surroundings – Scrivia Valley - Itinerary1

WORTH A VISIT • Parish Church of San Pietro e Paolo: an imposing Romanesque building of the 12th century. A magnificent portal with column-bearing lions, lunette and capitals typical of the Barbarossa age. • Palazzo Pretorio (Praetorian Palace) ‘Castello dei Torriani e dei Bandello’ (Castle of Torriani and Bandello’ with a fine ogival arcade, double lancet windows, communal assembly room and frescoes dating back to the 15th

and 16th centuries. • The church of Sant’Ignazio built in 1600s. • The Palazzo Centurione (Centurione Palace), Town Hall, with its Genoese architecture dating back to the 17th century. • The seventeenth-century Arch, the church of San Rocco, some fifteenthcentury houses and a series of little churches located in the outskirts of the village.


NOTABLE PEOPLE

Matteo Bandello He is the most notable ‘son’ of Castelnuovo (14841561), a short-story writer in the 16th century, an international Study Centre has been dedicated to his figure at the town library. A Dominican friar, he is famous for his 214 short stories, which are often daring and full of unconventional crude realism. Among them has to be mentioned ‘Giulietta e Romeo’ (Romeo and Juliet) from which Shakespeare took the inspiration. He lived the last years of his life in France where he was the bishop of Agen. He died in the castle of Bazens and got buried in Port Sainte Marie.

EVENTS • Patronal Festival of San Desiderio – 4th Sunday in August • Palio dei Quintieri (The Palio of Quintieri) Historical-Medieval Commemoration (end of May – beginning of June) An old tradition started around the 15th century in the lands of Castrum Novum with a relieving and regenerating purpose. The Palio dei Quintieri is a competition – contended by five hamlets plus one: Stradalciano, Guadenasso, Tavernelle, Zìbide, Molina and Molino Alzano – at the

end of which, according to the merits, will be appointed the ‘Quintiere’ that will be the champion for the current year. The rich agenda also includes several games and performances of flag-wavers, drummers, musicians, jesters, fire-eaters and characters. • Fair of San Giuseppe – 19th March • ‘Fiera dar Carsént’ (The Fair of Carsént which is a traditional old cake made with the sourdough) period: October/November.

LOCAL PRODUCTS • White and golden onions, potatoes,listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT). • Torta dar Carsent (Carsént Cake) typical cake obtained through a natural risingboasting a hundredyear-old tradition.

Manfredino and Franceschino Boxilio Local painters belonging to a pictorial school in Tortona from 1450 to 1510. Their works, above all frescoes, can be admired in Rivalta Scrivia, Novi Ligure, Pontecurone, Sale, Pozzolo, Sant’Alberto di Butrio, at the Fine Art Academy of Genoa and in the castle of Castelnuovo.

Vincenzo Colli “Calmeta” (1460-1508), Cesare Borgia's secretary and litterary critic.

Alessandro Berri

He painted in 1545 ‘l’Ultima Cena’ (the Last Supper) and subsequently a cycle of frescoes in the castle. Castelnuovo Scrivia - Town Hall

Via Garibaldi, 43 - Palazzo Centurione Tel 0131.826125 - Fax 0131.823088 www. castelnuovoscrivia.al.it

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MOLINO DEI TORTI The ancient settlement ‘Rotta dei Torti’ arose on the right bank of the Scrivia stream where it joined the Po river, and it was of great importance for the area since there was the Po ford. The ancient built-up area was swallowed up by water after the flood of 1887. We have information about Rotta dei Torti starting from 410 AD when Alarico, passing through this area, the lower Scrivia Valley, with his army, and left here a garrison to defend the Po ford. Molino dei Torti was subjected to Castelnuovo until 1644, when

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the district council managed to administrate on its own. However it was only in 1788 that Molino dei Torti became a free district. The current village, rebuilt in a safer area, is immersed in the plain of the Po river. The alluvium of the river generated a calcareous soil, suitable for a wide range of crops, above all vegetables.

EVENTS • Patronal Festival of S. Rocco, 1st Sunday in October • Fair of S. Croce, 1st Sunday in May • Garlic Festival and Market, last weekend in August or first weekend in September. LOCAL PRODUCTS

The agricultural economy is centred around vegetable growing: garlic, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT), onions, potatoes, peas, celery, sugar beet, cereals, wheat, barley, and corn. Molino dei Torti - Town Hall Via Roma, 81 Tel 0131.854361 www.comune.molinodeitorti.al.it

Tortona and its surroundings – Scrivia Valley - Itinerary1


ALZANO SCRIVIA It stretches over a flat alluvial area on the right bank of the Scrivia stream, not far from its confluence with Po river. This little village can be considered one of the flattest villages in Italy, it still has a strong agricultural tradition based on vegetable growing thanks to the soil fertility. The first report of a place called ‘Alzano’ dates back to 973 AD. EVENTs • During the ‘Sagra del Fagiolo’ (Bean Festival), taking place in September, it is possible to taste the traditional ‘pasta e fagioli’ (Pasta with Beans).

WORTH A VISIT • The neoclassical church of the ‘Natività di Maria’ (Nativity of Mary), houses four 17th century paintings by unknown artists. • The municipality of Alzano Scrivia belongs to the ‘Parco Turistico Fluviale del Po’ (Po River Tourist Park) which offers the possibility to take long walks while observing the several bird species in their natural habitat. NOTABLE PEOPLE Among the notable people we can mention Giovanni Marcello Zampolini, a painter who was awarded several prizes all over the world and Pier Felice Balduzzi, a classicist, man of letters and poet.

LOCAL PRODUCTS

The ‘lingua di fuoco’ (fire tongue) bean of Alzano Scrivia is very famous, probably thanks to the composition of the soil in which it is cultivated (floodplain of the Scrivia stream), such bean is bright red and represents a real speciality food.

Alzano Scrivia - Town Hall Piazza Pietro Bassi 23 Tel e Fax 0131.854382 www.comune.alzanoscrivia.al.it

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ISOLA SANT'ANTONIO

Until one century ago the territory was surrounded by the waters of the Po river, Tanaro and Scrivia Streams. It was an aggregate of islands crossed by canals. The main island was known as ‘Sant’Antonio’ because there was a chapel dedicated to the saint. Originally the village consisted in three hamlets: ‘Inferno’ (Hell), ‘Purgatorio’ (Purgatory), ‘Paradiso’ (Heaven). Until 1200s Isola Sant’Antonio was known as ‘Inferno’ (Hell) because it was inhabited by bandits or ‘people from hell’. Probably the origin of the name is due to the nature of the soil, in those times marshy and wild. The first centre with a stable population dates back to 1545.

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LOCAL PRODUCTS EVENTS • Patronal Festival: ‘Sant’Antonio da Padova’ – 13th June • Melon Festival - July • Pumpkin Festival - September WORTH A VISIT • The church of Sant’Antonio da Padova built in 1819.

Exclusively horticultural zone, with production of many kinds of fruit and vegetables. Pumpkin and melon (listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT) are island products. Another typical local product is spinach that allows to make several traditional dishes. Isola Sant'Antonio - Town Hall Piazza Garibaldi, 1 Tel 0131.857121 www.comuneisolasantantonio.al.it


GUAZZORA

Village situated in the plain among the Tanaro and Po rivers, that make its soil very fertile. The name Guazzora comes from the ancient ‘Guadatorium’ since in its residential area there was a ferry service. The first settlements date back to the 12th and the 13th centuries. Being part of the ‘Parco Turistico Fluviale del Po’ (Po River Tourist Park), it is possible to make excursions on bikes or take a walk in the Park, where it is quite usual to find some bird species (cormorant, grey heron, etc.) that stay in this area during their European migratory routes. WORTH A VISIT • The parish church of Assunta,

formerly chapel of the Barnabite fathers, was built in the seventeenth century. Inside it houses a baroque altar in Genoese style and an embossed copper statue of the Virgin, dating from the mid-19th century. • The ‘Cassinone’, eighteenth century villa, it was the summer residence of the Bishop of Tortona.

EVENTS • Patronal Festival – 15th August • Potato festival - August • ‘Bassa valle Scrivia’ Trophy Bicycle race - August LOCAL PRODUCTS · Vegetables · River fish, such as eel

Guazzora - Town Hall Piazza XXV Aprile, 12 Tel 0131.857149 www.comune.guazzora.al.it

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ALLUVIONI CAMBIò It is a village located in the plain between the Tanaro and Po rivers, that merge together here and generate several meanders. The village was built on the ruins of Sparvara, another village swallowed up by water during several floods after which the inhabitants built an oratory dedicated to St. Carlo around their few houses made from earth and timber, the oratory dates back tothe second half Agriculture is the chief and highly specialized activity. The main products are: celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, and fennel; in smaller quantity are also

of the eighteenth century, its façade is in Romanesque style. After the Battle of Marengo (1800) the council of Piedmont established the village of Alluvioni Cambiò.

produced: beans, string beans, salad, peppers, peas, spinach, cabbage and turnips. Cereals and fodder are still cultivated.

WORTH A VISIT

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• Oratory of S. Carlo. • The parish church of • Gallery of plasters and S. Anna, with its casts, rich in plasters majestic cupola. and earthenwar • Bellingeri Palace, objects. dating back to 1700. Tortona and its surroundings – Scrivia Valley - Itinerary1

EVENTS

INTERESTING FACTS Due to the territory configuration, included in the Parco Turistico Fluviale del Po (Po River Tourist Park), the Municipality agreed to the regional plan ‘Un filo d’acqua’ (a trickle of water) which proposes guided tours aimed at discovering the flora and the fauna of the park.

• The patronal festival of S. Carlo 4th November • Celery festival – in the second half of August • In the hamlet of Grava in September takes place the well-known ‘Sagra del salamino d’asino’ (Festival of the Donkey salami) LOCAL PRODUCTS Celery: giant golden celery and green celery, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT). Alluvioni Cambiò - Town Hall Via Roma , 67 - tel 0131.848121 www.comune.alluvionicambio.al.it


PIOVERA The village of Piovera is located in a flat area on the right bank of the Tanaro river. EVENTS The history of the village dates back to the 1 century AD, when some groups of Christians escaped Nero’s persecutions. After the fall of the Roman Empire, and more precisely approximately from 480 to 770, the village of the “Plovara”- the name with which this region was called – was facing very hard times. The village was conquered by Charlemagne in 774 who fixed the consular roads and built defences in the area. This was the ‘Castrum’ (Castle) of Piovera was built, and around developed the residential area. Over the centuries the castle has been expanded, and from a small fortress became an aristocratic residence. st

WORTH A VISIT - tHE CASTLE Built on previous Roman and Carolingian encampments and on the ruins of a convent, originally the current building was a fortress housing the Viscounts of Milan. After several vicissitudes it was transformed into an aristocratic residence with the current Romantic style, however without changing the original ‘U’ structure. The castle still shows some signs of the black plaster, which was probably used to express the mourning for Napoleon Bonaparte’s death. Surrounded by a vast park, with tree-lined avenues and the farm, the castle is still defended by walls and by a moat dating back to the 14th century. It is one of the bigger castles in the area; it consists of a massive quadrilateral building, with ovalshaped towers in the corners and two big squared towers in the middle of the bigger sides. In the castle there are several rooms for accessorial use (houses, stables, stores, workplaces, etc.) generating all together a very prestigious architectural evidence. Thanks to the current owner, the castle is open to public for visits. Contact: www.castellipiemontesi.it

• Patronal Festival of S. Michele with ‘Trofeo dell’Amicizia’ (Friendship Trophy) - September • ‘Castelli aperti’ (Castles open to visits) – from May to October • ‘Echos’ classical music concert – May/June • Festival of Agriculture and Orchid fair and market – June • European Festival of Ancient Music and Medieval Day - July • Dog Show – Castle of Piovera - September • ‘Camminata del Muretto’ (The walk of the wall) – cross-country race – September • Christmas in the Castle – Christmas markets – November/December

Piovera - Town Hall Piazza San Giovanni, 4 Tel 0131.698121 - Fax 0131.698070 www.comune.piovera.it

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SALE

The village of Sale is located in the centre of the lower Scrivia Valley, in an area that since its first settlements has been strongly characterized by a vocation to agriculture. Its origins date back to the 3rd - 4th centuries A.D. The territory borders the Tanaro river to the west, the Scrivia stream to the east and the Po river to the north. The toponym ‘Sale’ comes from the Gothic language word ‘sail’ which means ‘home’. The village was a protagonist during the battles between the villages and the Empire. The territory was subjected to several border changes, having been contended for many years by Milan, Pavia, and by the Bishops of Tortona and Pavia. On 24th June 1165, in the church of S. Maria was signed a peace treaty between Pavia and Tortona, it stated the supremacy of Pavia, allied

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Tortona and its surroundings – Scrivia Valley - Itinerary1

with Federico Barbarossa. Furthermore, S. Maria was assigned an important civil role: it was chosen as a location for the municipality’s ceremonies and solemn occasions. As borderland, Sale was subjected for several years to the transit of many belligerent troops, above all in May 1796, with the Napoleon Bonaparte’s Italian army and in 1799 when the village was occupied by the Austro-Russian troops. Sale belongs to the tourist area of the ‘Parco Turistico Fluviale del Po’ (Po River Tourist Park) and offers to its visitors several itineraries and routes between the Po river and the farmhouses, ideal for the bicycle lovers.

EVENTS • Patronal Festival of Sant’Anna with fireworks - the Sunday after the 26th July • ‘Sagra dra Lasagna’ (Festival of Lasagna) - May/June • Festival of Agriculture September • Itinerant Via Crucis on Good Friday evening


WORTH A VISIT • The Romanesque church of Santa Maria and San Siro is the oldest building of the village. It was considerably modified between the 14th and 15th centuries, to this period belong the brickworks of the three Gothic portals, typical of the Novara and Lomellina areas. The façade was reworked at the beginning of the 18th century. Inside the church there are interesting frescoes completed by Lombard artists of the 15th century, some of them have been recently discovered. • The church of S. Giovanni, built in late Gothic style. Inside the church there are frescoes made by the painter Francesco Mensi in 1856. • The church of San Calogero, was originally a defence tower of the Goths. In 1000s it became the bell tower of the church of S. Ambrogio, which in the 16th century was given the name of S. Calogero. A very interesting artwork to see is the anonimous painting placed in the church presbytery.

LOCAL PRODUCTS The local products of the area are the breadsticks and the biscuits of S. Stefano coming from the municipality’s hamlet having the same name. Sale - Town Hall Via A. Manzoni, 1 Tel 0131.84178 - Fax 0131.828288 www.comune.sale.al.it

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VILLALVERNIA

Villalvernia is a village located on the hills on the right bank of the Scrivia stream.

NOTABLE PEOPLE

General Passalacqua The village was probably founded in the 10th century, and its first name was simply ‘Villa’. In May 1413 Filippo Maria Visconti assigned Guglielmo di Alvernia its investiture and to the name Villa was added the surname of the aristocratic family. During the last World War the village, which was at that time an important railway centre and store, experienced one of the most tragic events of its history, due to the massive bombardment by the allies on 1st December 1944, which caused, besides considerable damage, several dead and wounded people among the civilian population. In October2006 the village was awarded a Silver Medal for Civil Valour.

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WORTH A VISIT • The ancient village, in which it is located the old parish placed in the Castle of Villalvernia which houses the tomb of the Lieutenant General Passalacqua, marquess of Villalvernia, Gold Medal. • The parish church of B.V. Assunta in neo-classical style, was built between 1841 and 1848. In the apse you can see a painting of the Last Supper and on the counter-façade the preliminary drawing for thepainting representing the bombardment of Villalvernia on 1st December 1944.

First Gold Medal for the Military Valour ofthe Four Wars of Independence and for the Unity of Italy, he was killed during the battle of Novara on 23rd March 1849. LOCAL PRODUCTS • The ‘Cornetti’ (croissant - local delicacy) • Honey • Salami and cured meat Villalvernia - Town Hall Via Roma, 12 Tel 0131.83152 www.comune.villalvernia.al.it


SANT'AGATA FOSSILI

The village of Sant’Agata Fossili is located in the Ligurian-Piedmontese Preapennines. The landscape is varied, with tilled hills, copses, and fossiliferous gullies. Several are the traces indicating the ancient origin of these places. The village, was mentioned for the first time in historical documents in 1277, it arose as a settlement around a chapel dedicated to Saint Aghata. The appellative ‘Fossili’ was added in late 19th century, Ottocento, in commemoration of the many finds discovered in the Marnes of Sant’Agata – clays mixed with very fine and calcareous sand – most of them dating from the Miocene period (Tortonian: 11-17 million years ago). WORTH A VISIT • The sixteenth century church houses an interesting coeval fresco. In 1703 the church was promoted to parish church, and then it was completely restored and decorated by Gambini at the beginning of the last century (1905 – 1906) and its façade was radically modified in 1921.

LOCAL PRODUCTS The valley is famous for its quality truffles, both white and black, that are picked up the whole year. The excellent ‘porcini’ mushrooms with their dark brown colour and strong fragrance.

Sant'Agata Fossili - Town Hall

Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 1 Tel 0131.837236 www.comune.santagatafossili.al.it

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CAREZZANO

The toponym Carezzano is composed of two ancient Ligurian lemmas ‘car’ and ‘san’, meaning ‘high site’. The first documentary sources concerning the village date back to the 13th century. The village, situated on the hills on the right of the Scrivia stream, is made up of two centres called Carezzano Maggiore, located halfway, and Carezzano Superiore built on the hill. Carezzano Maggiore became the Capoluogo chief village of the Bishopric at the end of the 14th century. WORTH A VISIT • The parish church of Sant’Eusebio. Located in Carezzano Superiore, it was built in 1831 since the old church got destroyed by the earthquake in 1828. • The Oratory of San Rocco in Carezzano Maggiore, dating back to 1630. • The Church of San Carlo, in the hamlet of Cornigliasca, dating back to 1779. • The Church of Perleto, another hamlet of Carezzano, rebuilt in 1914. • The Ancient Bishop’s Palace, seat of the temporary Vicar of the Bishop of Tortona from the second half of the 12th century to 1784.

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INTERESTING FACTS A hillock above Carezzano, called the ‘Bricco delle Streghe’ (the Hill of the witches), was the torture place where the condemned people were executed, as happened to three women of the Bishopric that on 5th July 1520 who got condemned to the stake since they were considered as witches. The place had been chosen so that the fire was visible from every side of the territory and served as warning to citizens. EVENTS • Patronal Festival of Carezzano Maggiore -1st Sunday in August • Patronal Festival of Carezzano Superiore - 2nd Sunday in August • ‘Notte Bianca’ (White Night) – last Saturday in June

LOCAL PRODUCTS Salami and cured meat, truffles, cheese and wines. Cooked ham and ‘Testa in cassetta’ (Boxed Pork Head), listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT). Carezzano - Town Hall Piazza Municipio, 1 Tel 0131.839901 www.comune.carezzano.al.it


SPINETO SCRIVIA Located on the first hills above the plain of the Scrivia stream, the village of Spineto Scrivia is characterized and easily detectable thanks to the outline of the high bell tower that stands out above the roofs of the houses. There is no sure evidence concerning the origin of the toponym; however the name seems to come from the presence of dense woods of thorn bushes that that characterized the territory before the foundation of the village that developed around a castle of which today remain only the ruins of a short tower, of the access door and other buildings belonging to it. Spineto was subjected for a long time to the direct dominion of the bishops of Tortona and enjoyed the privilege of the bishopric lands. The excellent geographic position offers a great view on both the surrounding plain and the hills. It is a perfect starting point for excursions to the neighbouring villages. EVENTS • Patronal Festival of San Giacomo with religious procession – end of July • ‘Spaghettata dei 4 Rioni’ (Spaghetti of the 4 districts) - June

WORTH A VISIT • The ancient oratory dating back to 1576. • The parish church rebuilt in1868 and dedicated to the patron S. Giacomo. • In the hamlet Marianna there is an ancient building erected as a fortress around 1198, then turned over the centuries into a convent for mendicant friars and now private house.

LOCAL PRODUCTS Wine represents the main local production, in particular the ancient vine ‘Timorasso’ and the classic ‘Barbera dei Colli Tortonesi’ (Barbera from the hills of Tortona). Other two important products are the characteristic honey, which has always been a local leading product and the beef meat of the Piedmontese cattle breed bred in the territory.

Spineto Scrivia - Town Hall Piazza IV Novembre, 1 Tel 0131.892136 www.comune.spinetoscrivia.al.it

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PADERNA

It is a small agricultural village located on the hills that stretching between ‘rio Cornigliasca’ and ‘rio Castellania’, on the right bank of the Scrivia stream valley, fade off towards Tortona. The name derives from the Ligurian language and means ‘the other bank of the pines’ (where ‘padus’ means pine); actually the village is situated in a panoramic position, on an earth spur which stretches out from the hill rising above, and it is surrounded on three sides by a steep bank. The villagefoundation is attributed to the farmers of Tortona, and dates back to the period before the year 1000. WORTH A VISIT • The ancient Romanesque bell tower, the only remains of the parish church of Vezzano. • The parish church of San Giorgio, located on the highest point of the township. The first quotations about this church date back from 1003. Inside it houses the equestrian wooden

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statue of Saint George, which was carved out a sole log, as well as the statue of the Madonna. • ‘Piazza Castello’ (Castle square), where the Town Hall is located. • The road going down from Paderna towards Spineto S. offers an amazing panoramic view on the plain of Tortona.

EVENTS • Patronal Festival: San Giorgio, 23rd April

LOCAL PRODUCTS Wines, above all the Timorasso, and the classic ‘Barbera dei Colli Tortonesi’ (Barbera from the hills of Tortona). Game. Paderna - Town Hall Piazza Castello, 1 Tel 0131.830128 Fax 0131.830002 www.comune.paderna.al.it


CARBONARA SCRIVIA The territory of Carbonara Scrivia is located on the right bank of the Scrivia stream on the first hills situated in the area south of Tortona. The residential compound already existed in the Roman age. The name ‘Carbonara’ appeared for the first time on a diploma by Federico Barbarossa, dating back to 1157 and derives from the name of the region it was constructed on, an area where the coal

EVENTS

was mined. The soil, characterized by an excellent drainage, which is indispensable for the good growth of the specific typical crops of the area, gradually goes up from the bank of the stream along a characteristic terracing.

WORTH A VISIT • The Medieval Fortress ‘Rocca Medievale’ whose mighty corner tower is still visible and it is called ‘Il Dongione’, it represents the symbol of the village, can be visited and it is used as a location for temporary exhibitions. • The old town preserves a medieval structure and is characterized by the presence of several 18th and 19th century buildings, having large doorways, broad courtyards and internal beautiful gardens.

• Patronal Festival of San Rocco the weekend after 16th August • Festival of ‘farinata’(focaccia made out of chickpea flour) - first Sunday in May • Feast of San Martino - 11th November • Festival of beer and wine last week in July LOCAL PRODUCTS Wines, in particular the ‘Favorita’ (a slightly sparkling white wine with delicate scents) and the ‘Croatina’ (pearl red wine). Carbonara Scrivia - Town Hall Via Roma - Tel 0131.892122 www.comune.carbonarascrivia.al.it

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Scrivia River Park

The park ensures a real immersion in the uncontaminated nature, in which it is possible to observe the varied flora and fauna in their natural habitat. It is the ideal place for hiking and riding bicycles, the park includes eight villages: Castelnuovo Scrivia, Tortona, Carbonara Scrivia, Villalvernia, Pozzolo Formigaro, Cassano Spinola, Serravalle Scrivia. The Scrivia Valley is one of the most notable of the northern side of the Ligurian Apennine. The Scrivia stream, that runs through it, has its source in the mount PrelĂ (1406 m) in Liguria. Along its course it receives the water from the Vobbia, Borbera, Ossona and Grue streams. After a 90-km-way, it flows into the Po river. The Scrivia Valley is one of the favourite bird migration routes, when they leave Africa to reach northern Europe, they find a very favourable way along the straight and empty course of this valley, which is actually located in a north-east and south-west direction. Among the local bird specied we can mention the night heron, the little egret, the grey heron, the very rare great bittern and the

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stilt plover. In the humid areas covered by beds of reeds, it is possible to find mallards, shovellers and tufted ducks. In those stretches of the stream where the vegetation becomes more sparse, you can observe the skylarks, bee-eaters and crested larks, while the trees give shelter to nightingales, blackcaps, whitethroats, hoopoes, jays, and woodpeckers. The kingfisher population is increasing. The most common fish fauna is characterized by: the chub, the goby, the barbel, the Italian nase, the roach and in the upper part of the Scrivia (above all in the province of Genoa) the brown trout, the rainbow trout, the char, and the dace.


INTERESTING FACTS The part of the park belonging to the area of Tortona includes the right bank and the left bank of the Scrivia and 110 hectares of land between the state and private property. There are 50km of pedestrian and cycle paths connecting Tortona, Castelnuovo Scrivia and Villalvernia. They are all located on natural grounds, in the shade and among several animal species, since it is a repopulation area. Among the most characteristic fauna species we can mention grey heron. Tortona and its surroundings – Scrivia Valley - Itinerary 1

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2 Ossona Valley A small area belonging to Tortona surroundings, furrowed by the stream having the same name which rises near the mount San Vito 684 metres above sea level, behind the village of Castellania, the native village of Fausto and Serse Coppi. Here on these gentle hills the ‘Campionissimo’ (title given to the famous racing cyclist Coppi) started his adventures on two wheels...

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VILLAROMAGNANO WORTH A VISIT

It is located at the foot of two hills, and its name derives from ‘Villa Romaniani’, indicating a quadrangle of homes, built around a central courtyard. Its origins date back to the Roman Imperial age, and the evidence of it is given by the several archaeological finds in the surrounding area. In the green and hilly territory it is widely possible to hike or ride your bicycle thanks to a vast country road and path network. In particular there is a cycle path starting from Carbonara Scrivia, with many resting places, and going to Costa Vescovato.

• The parish church, dedicated to the patron San Michele, houses several frescoes and has a bell tower dating back to the Napoleonic period. • The Sanctuary of Madonna della Fonte from the eighteenth century. EVENTS • Patronal Festival of San Michele Arcangelo - 1st Sunday in September LOCAL PRODUCTS Wines ‘dei Colli Tortonesi’ (from the hills of Tortona): Barbera, Cortese, Croatina, Freisa, Timorasso, etc…

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Villaromagnano - Town Hall Piazza XXV Aprile Tel 0131.872132 www.comune.villaromagnano.al.it Tortona and its surroundings – Ossona Valley - Itinerary 2


COSTA VESCOVATO EVENTS • Feast of S. Maria Assunta 15th August • Wine Festival third week in August • Feast of San Martino 11th November

As its name reveals, Costa Vescovato is located on the hill ridge that goes down towards the valley of the Ossona stream and divides it from the one of its tributary Cornigliasca. The territory is varied: hills covered by vineyards alternate with pastures, gullies but also Apennine promontories and copses. The environment is suitable for walks, cycle or horse rides. The early inhabitants of this area were presumably Celtic populations, ascribable to the name of the hamlet ‘Montale Celli’, ‘Mount of Celts’. The equipped cycling tourist track ‘Fausto Coppi’ departing from Villaromagnano involves several picturesque areas – such as Castellania, the native village of the ‘Campionissimo’ (title given to the famous racing cyclist Coppi) –; the cycling track of Fausto Coppi called ‘Il grande Airone’ ('the great heron') crosses the Ossona stream on characteristic timber arched bridges, and climbs up for 10km among vineyards and woods where wild animals live.

WORTH A VISIT

• In the municipal pasture there are majestic gullies from which in the past sulphur, gypsum crystals and lignite were extracted. • The ‘Val Sorda’, with oak and chestnut woods, where three varieties of truffle (two black and one white) grow. • The parish church of Santa Maria Assunta in the hamlet of Montale Celli. • The parish church of San Sebastiano and San Fabiano. • The sources of the Ossona stream with their natural waterfalls made of arenaceous rocks.

LOCAL PRODUCTS Besides the wonderful truffles, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT), it is possible to taste the typical wines of the hills surrounding Tortona. Costa Vescovato - Town Hall Piazza Aldo Moro, 1 Tel 0131.838128 www.comune.costavescovato.al.it

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CASTELLANIA Castellania is the typical village of the Tortona hills that dominates the valleys from above. The village offers a spectacular view on the plains of Tortona, Novi Ligure, and Alessandria which stretches out towards the big Alps mountain chain.

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The history of the village has been always connected with the one of the neighbouring villages, which are still hamlets of the Municipality of Castellania. The most important of them, and perhaps the oldest, is the hamlet of Sant’Alosio, founded with the construction of two observation and defence towers. The name of Castellania became famous in the second half of the 20th century thanks to the accomplishments of the cycling champion, Fausto Coppi who was born and lived here, and where he has rested in a sepulchral memorial alongside his brother Serse. From Castellania depart several dirt roads and,for shorter stretches, asphalt roads ideal for walksor mountain-bike rides, that run through meadows, woods and gullies with panoramic views on the Grue and Ossona Valleys. Tortona and its surroundings – Ossona Valley - Itinerary 2

EVENTS • ‘La Mitica’ – historical bycicle ride with vintage bicycles along the hills of Serse and Fausto Coppi – last Sunday in June. • Over the year several meetings and conferences on cycling are organized

www.lamitica.it

• 2nd January: Memorial mass celebrated to commemorate the death of the ‘Campionissimo’ and collateral events • 15th September: celebrations for commemorating the birth of Fausto Coppi.


NOTABLE PEOPLE

Fausto Coppi

Called ‘il Campionissimo’ (the champion of champions) or ‘l'Airone’ (the heron), he is the most famous and winning racing cyclist of the golden age of cycling, and he is considered as one of the greatest and popular athletes of all times. Fausto Coppi was born in Castellania on 15th September 1919 into a peasant family. These roads and hills represented the first stage on which Fausto, a young boy, performed his greatness by cycling incessantly. These are the places that saw his passion for cycling growing and where he took part in his first races becoming later the champion that everybody knows. His accomplishments and the tragic circumstances of his death made him an icon of the Italian sports history, and even after more than fifty years from his death, his popularity and fame are still undying.

WORTH A VISIT • Mausoleum dedicated to the brothers Fausto and Serse Coppi, where every year on 2nd January is celebrated the anniversary of Fausto’s death and every 15th September his birthday. The native house of the two brothers, now houses a museum, the documentation centre on cycling is housed in another residence belonging in the past to Coppi’s ancestors, form part of a museum tour which stretches out along all the roads of the village, where some blow-ups of Fausto and his history are displayed. • Medieval towers of Sant'Alosio. The two observation and defence towers, which are still located on the highest point of the hill, were built before the year 1000. Originally they were probably surrounded by some battlements mainly made of wood and defended by walls.

LOCAL PRODUCTS Wines of ‘Colli Tortonesi’ (from the hills of Tortona). Fruits grown with environmentally compatible features. White truffle, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT).

Castellania - Town Hall Piazza Candido Cannavò, 2 Tel 0131.837127 Fax 0131.837127 www.comune.castellania.al.it Tortona and its surroundings – Ossona Valley - Itinerary 2

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Grue Valley The valley is furrowed by the Grue stream, it rises from the Bocchetta del Barillaro at an altitude of 636 metres above sea level, at the watershed with Borbera Valley. The stream after a quite meandering course, along the Ligurian Apennine first, and then among the hills surrounding Tortona, enters the Po Valley, and flows into the Scrivia stream.



VIGUZZOLO It is the most densely populated village of the Grue Valley, it borders the Municipality of Tortona, and is located on the right bank of the Grue stream, which terminates there by becoming a tributary of Scrivia. The name ‘Viguzzolo’ derives from the Latin word ‘vicus’, small village, and as a small village it probably aggregated at the beginning of the Christian era, after that the place had been already more fragmentarily colonized in the Roman age. Between the 12th and the 13th centuries it was

a free commune and afterwards, following the destinies of Tortona, it came under the Visconti family and then it entered the orbit of the Sforza family. Traditionally a farming centre, it is specialized in the production of cereals, forage and wine-growing, more recently it specialized in peach and strawberry growing. The territory, with its low and gentle hills, offers everybody the possibility to go for a quiet walk, beneficial both for soul and mind.

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• Patronal Festival and fireworks - 2nd weekend in September • Carnival in the square - Shrove Tuesday • ‘Cuor di pesca’ (Peach heart), last Sunday in July, it takes place at the height of the fruit and vegetable season • Festival of the hamlet of S. Bartolomeo weekend after 24th August

LOCAL PRODUCTS

WORTH A VISIT • The Romanesque parish church of Santa Maria (11th century), is well visible from the provincial road departing from Tortona and reaching the Curone Valley. In Romanesque style, it is certainly the most important monument of the village and one of the most interesting in the area of Tortona. Today it belongs to the Municipality and can be visited thanks to some volunteers’ activity. It was restored in the 30s after having been abandoned for centuries. It has a three-nave basilica plan, with three semicircular apses and a double-sloped roof; the façade is decorated with hanging arches divided by slender columns, and has

EVENTS

a round-arched door. The walls inside the church are bare and austere conferring to the environment a special suggestion. The crypt presents cross vault supported by six small columns with cubic capitals. • The parish church of Assunta dating back to the 15th century. The building has three naves, a valuable door, a façade in Baroque style and a remarkable hign altar. • The oratory of Sant’Antonio, seat of the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity, houses an interesting eighteenth-century organ. • The small country church of San Bartolomeo al Colle in the hamlet of San Bartolomeo.

Traditionally a farming centre, it is specialized in the production of peaches listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT), strawberries, cereala, forage, wine-growing and more recently the specialized peach-growing. Viguzzolo - Town Hall Via Roma, 9 Tel 0131.898468 www.comune.viguzzolo.al.it Associazione Culturale Viguzzolese: www.viguzzolocultura.it


SAREZZANO

EVENTS • Patronal Festival of San Ruffino and San Venanzio 2nd Sunday in October • ‘Polentone di carnevale’ (the Big Polenta of Carnival)

It is a farming community located on the hills of Tortona, between the Grue Valley and the hills that slope down towards the plain. The oldest homes are located at the foot of the hills, where in the past stood the castle of the Guidobono Garofoli family, feudal lords of the township, today the castle no longer exists and in its place there is a medieval church. From up there and from the near Montegualdone, that once was another castle of Tortona surroundings, the view is boundless. The existence of Roman age settlements is proved by several archaeological finds. The dialect name ‘Sarsan’, in the language of Liguarian populations, sounded as ‘region of turkey oaks’, an oak variety. The inhabitants, besides the main village, live in several hamlets: Baracca, San Ruffino (associated with the figure of the Saint who lived here as hermit in the 9th century), Rocca Grue and Valle Sant’Innocenzo. A great starting point for walks and hikes among the vineyards.

WORTH A VISIT • The Romanesque church consecrated to San Ruffino and San Venanzio, it was a parish church, where in 1585 was found, together with the mortal remains of the two saints, the precious manuscript ‘Codex purpureus sarzanensis’, an early medieval an evangeliary dating back to the 5th-6th centuries. It consists in seventy-two pages of an original text of the four Gospels written on a precious reddish parchment and locked in a wooden case. The codex, even if full of lacunae, is considered as a unique exemplary of the Milanese liturgy (Ambrosian) from the period preceding the Carolongian Age (Diocesan Museum of Tortona, see page 9). In the ancient chapel of San Ruffino, in the hamlet having the same name, there are prestigious early medieval friezes.

LOCAL PRODUCTS Salami and cured meats and honey. An excellent production of DOC (registered designation of origin) wines from the ‘Colli Tortonesi’ (hills of Tortona): Barbera, Cortese, Dolcetto, Timorasso, etc... There is an extensive orchard of fruits: peaches, strawberries, cherries and apricots.

Sarezzano - Town Hall Piazza Sarzano, 1 Tel 0131.884044 www.comune.sarezzano.al.it

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CERRETO GRUE A village located on the hills whose name derives from the region where it is, covered by Turkey Oaks, to which it is added the name of the Grue stream probably deriving from the words ‘col uber’, snake, because it flows like a snake in the valley below. In all probability the village has its roots in Roman age, as it is proved by the oldest part of the municipality with its square plan, and by the fact that in its territory were found several coins and objects dating from that period.

EVENTS • Patronal Festival: San Giorgio 23rd April • Grapes and wine festival September

WORTH A VISIT • The parish church consecrated to San Rocco, in Baroque style. • The parish church of San Giorgio rebuilt in the 18th century to replace a previous building. • The Council chamber of the Town Hall (1800), created in a wing of the old castle belonging to the Busseti lords and with a fine vintage fireplace.

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LOCAL PRODUCTS Salami, wines of ‘Colli Tortonesi’ (from the hills of Tortona), and honey. Cerreto Grue - Town Hall Via Roma 11 Tel 0131.883175 Fax 0131.883907 www.comune.cerretogrue.al.it


MONTEGIOCO

Montegioco means ‘Monticello’(hillock). In fact the village is located on a conical hillock whose peak is cut off. It is situated on the hills on the left bank of the Grue stream, in a landscape drawn by vineyards and fruit trees, in its territory there are sulphurous water sources, water with curative properties. Nominated for the first time in a document from 1152, Montegioco took part in the medieval dispute between Guelphs and Gibellines, it remained a royal fief until 1560, when it became autonomous for the first time.

EVENTS • Patronal Festival of S. Fortunato – 1st June • Feast of Santa Maria Assunta – 15th August • Festival of the wild boar first Sunday in September

LOCAL PRODUCTS

WORTH A VISIT • The remains of a Romanesque apse which probably dates back to the 11th century, it represents a proof of the antiquity of the site of Montegioco Alto. • The castle in Renaissance style built in the second half of the 17th century, by the Busseti family, is now restored and used as private house.

The areas boasts the production of fruits (peaches). Wines ‘dei Colli Tortonesi’ (from the hills of Tortona): Timorasso, Barbera, Cortese, Dolcetto, Croatina, Freisa.

Montegioco - Town Hall Strada per Garbagna Tel e fax 0131.875132 www.comune.montegioco.al.it

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AVOLASCA

Evocative village located in the upper part of the Grue Valley, it consists in a small group of houses, situated on the top of a steep and winding climb. The beauty of the landscape and the healthy air of this zone represent a great incentive to have a walk along the paths that wind up immersed in the green or a mountain-bike cycle on the country roads that connect the village with the neighbouring municipalities. From the square opposite the church of Palenzona you can enjoy a lovely view of the entire valley. WORTH A VISIT

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• The parish church of San Nicola da Bari with precious wooden choirs dating back to 1800, is located on the highest part of the village and was built on the old foundations of the castle which are still visible. • The parish church of Saints Pietro and Paolo in the hamlet of Palenzona which became the church of ‘Bersaglieri’ (members of a rifle regiment of the Italian army), ‘The national temple of remembrance’ in memory of the soldiers killed in battle.

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LOCAL PRODUCTS The fruit-growing includes cherries, apricots and peaches. The surrounding woods are exploited for the trees, offering also tasty chestnuts, savoury mushrooms and delightful game, while from the numerous trufflegrounds come scented truffles, a delight for the gourmets’ palates, truffles are listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT).

EVENTS • Patronal Festival: San Nicola di Bari 6th December • The traditional festivals of Avolasca are the ‘Festival of white truffle’ and the ‘Festival of the fief of Avolasca’. Avolasca - Town Hall Via del Municipio, 4 Tel 0131.876502 www.comune.avolasca.al.it


CASASCO

EVENTS

The village, which is located in a nice panoramic position on a 392-metre high hill that represents a watershed between the Curone Valley and the Grue Valley, offers a stunning view on the two valleys. The name Casasco presumably dates back to the Ligurian period because the desinence ‘ASCO’ is typical of the places colonized by such ancient peoples. The first verified historical evidence is included in some documents from 9th-10th centuries, where the village seems to be ‘domusculta’ of the Monastery of Bobbio.

The village over the centuries was subjected to the control of several aristocratic families, the last family was the one of the Bussetti Marquesses, whose colours are included in the municipality coat of arms. The new church, finished in 1928, still has on the wall, which belonged to the old church, a cross in Romanesque style.

WORTH A VISIT • The Naturalistic and Astronomical Observatory of Casasco, located on the hillside Costa di Magrassi, was established in 1997 by some private citizens who, after having constituted themselves in association, carry out divulgation, teaching and research activities (theme conferences and guided observations of the sky both by the naked eye and with telescopes, astronomy courses, realization of multimedia products of astronomical nature, etc...). Info: Osservatorio Astronomico Naturalistico di Casasco “A. Zanassi” Strada Ca’ Simone – Tel 0131.876253 - www.astroambiente.org

• Patronal Festival: nativity of Maria – it is celebrated on the Sunday after the 8th of September. • Procession of Madonna del Carmine with typical sweets tasting – It takes place on the Saturday after the 16th July. LOCAL PRODUCTS It is an agricultural centre, where are produced wine and high-quality fruits: peaches, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT), cherries, apricots, ‘porcini’ mushrooms, white truffles (PAT)and black truffles. Casasco - Town Hall Via Roma, 1 - 15050 AL Tel. 0131.876126 Fax 0131.876303 www.comune.casasco.al.it

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GARBAGNA The charm of Garbagna is based on the beauty of the landscape, the tranquillity and the air healthiness. In spring the flowering of cherry trees and Spanish brooms generate coloured clouds in the green.

Garbagna is the main centre of the Grue Valley, it still preserves the rhythms and atmospheres of a country civilisation that has evolved while respecting the old traditions. The first information about the village dates back to 945. The history and the succession of political vicissitudes over the centuries left behind visible signs in the buildings, in the village planning, and in the habits and morals of the village. The old village reminds the

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Ligurian small villages: high houses one leaning against the other, characteristic roads, arches, carved doors, some palaces, like the one of Fieschi-Alvigini, of Cervini and of Doria. The vast road network among the green chestnut woods and the tilled fields makes your walks or rides easy. The hike to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Lago is a walk suitable for everyone.

WORTH A VISIT • The historic centre. • The tower with the ruins of the walls (9th century) which dominates the village. • The church of San Rocco with frescoes made by Carlone. • The parish church (1703) with the wooden Madonna, a crucifix from Maragliano and a precious organ dating from 1600s. • The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Lago (14th century).


INTERESTING FACTS

Near the parish church the is the oldest square of the village, known as ‘a piassa da l’urmu’, the ‘square of the elm’, where once there was an ancient elm, as a proof of the long history of the village. As some old medieval statutes declare, this was the place in ‘platea sub ulmo’ where the agreements were signed, where the investitures were granted and transactions were made. Today there is a huge dark stone, the stone of the dais of justice, from which, according to the tradition, were publicly given judgments, or, it would have been simply used as a dais on which the proclamations and the decisions made by the feudal lord or by his officer were read.

LOCAL PRODUCTS The Cmudò cheese, the honey, the ‘castagnette di mandorle’ (typical almond sweets), the white truffles (PAT) and black truffles, the potato of Garbagna, the fruits, in particular the cherry variety ‘Bella di Garbagna’ (a Slow Food presidium and listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont PAT), while in the surrounding woods there are lots of chestnuts and mushrooms. Garbagna - Town Hall Piazza della Chiesa n. 4 - 15050 Tel. 0131.877645 - Fax 0131.877307 www.comune.garbagna.al.it

EVENTS Two famous festival dedicated to local products take place: • The cherry festival - June • The chestnut festival September

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DERNICE Thanks to its strategic position, Dernice appeared in chronicles already starting from the year 869.

The village, that preserves strictly medieval features, is dominated by a ponderous fortified tower inside a complex called ‘castle’, that is currently owned by the municipality and is open to public. The surrounding territory is rich in woods, spring waters and gullies, crossed by ancient routes (like the Salt route), which are often unsurfaced, and are specifically suitable for hikes, horse or mountainbike rides.

EVENTS • Patronal Festival of San Donnino at the beginning of October • Food-and-wine festivals July and August

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WORTH A VISIT • Of the ancient castle, rebuilt by the Spinola family in the 15th century and restored in the 18th century, there are only the remains of a square tower restored in 1962 when it became the property of the Municipality. • The parish church rebuilt at the end of the 16th century then enlarged and restored in 1902. • The medieval villages of Vigoponzo, Montebore,Vigana and Bregni are very characteristic.

LOCAL PRODUCTS White truffle and Montebore cheese, both listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT). Salami and cured meat. Dernice - Town Hall Via Roma, 17 - 15056 Tel 0131.786261 Fax 0131.788942 www.comune.dernice.al.it


Montébore, its history Montébore is a hamlet of Dernice, a small village located on the watershed between the Grue and Borbera Valleys. A corner of the area surrounding Tortona which is still protected from the chaotic and contradictory transformation of the natural environment to meet human needs typical of this period. The fame of the place is connected to a cow’s and ovine’s milk cheese with a very old story. In 1489 in Tortona were celebrated the wedding of Isabella d’Aragona and Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Ludovico il Moro’s nephew. Leonardo Da Vinci was the master of ceremonies, an extraordinary genius of arts and sciences, but also an attentive gourmet who decided to add the Montébore cheese among the courses of that 'aristocratic table'.

However the history of this cheese is much older. The tradition says that it probably dates back to the period between 9th and 11th centuries. In fact, it is mentioned in some documents from the 12th century, when a rich citizen of Tortona sent fifty pieces of it as a gift to a high prelate in order to plead the promotion of his brother to priest. The absolutely deserved fame of this cheese made with raw milk, is also connected to the originality and uniqueness of its shape: it reminds a wedding cake or ‘small castle’ obtained through the superimposition of ‘robiole’ (fresh cheese typical of the plain and foothill regions of Northern Italy) with a decreasing diameter, probably inspired to the ancient ruined tower of the castle of Montébore.

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Curone Valley Itinerary

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The Curone Valley is the last valley of Tortona surroundings. Once you leave behind Tortonaand the plain, you go up along the Curone stream course among luxuriant orchards, towards the highest peaks of the province: mount Giarolo, mount Ebro and mount Chiappo.

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On the background you will notice the castle of Pozzol Groppoand the one of Brignano Frascata. For the art lovers a stop not to be ignored is given by the Study-Museum of the painter Pellizza da Volpedo, the author of the famous painting ‘Il Quarto Stato’ (The Fourth Estate). Tortona and its surroundings – Curone Valley - Itinerary 4


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PONTECURONE

A centre in the plain, located on the left bank of Curone stream, it is an ancient village, whose economy is based on agricultural, industrial and commercial activities. The territory has a regular geometric profile, with slight altimetric variations. The name comes from the Latin ‘pons Coronis’ or ‘pontis Coronis’, with a clear reference to the bridge on the Curone stream, which was protected in ancient times by the Templars. The built-up area, is characterized by a characteristic rectangular plan, having has main axis the old layout of the lower Po Valley, which is intersected and lined with rectilinear roads. Pontecurone is the native village of Saint Luigi Orione. It is interesting to point out the presence of several little chapels and votive shrines (images enclosed in geometric shapes placed on the external wall of buildings) on the roads and paths winding in the countryside surrounding the village.

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EVENTS • Patronal Festival of San Biagio 3rd Sunday in July • Festival of onion - in September • ‘Autunniamo’ – 1st weekend in October

LOCAL PRODUCTS Onions and vegetables

Pontecurone - Town Hall Corso Togliatti, 50 Tel 0131.885 211 Fax 0131.885 217 www.comune.pontecurone.al.it


NOTABLE PEOPLE SAN LUIGI ORIONE He was born in Pontecurone on the 23rd June of 1872 and can be considered as one of the most important representative characters of the Christianity of the last century. Of humble origins, he grew up according to the rules of the Christian religion and started to develop a vocation to charity. His most significant Christian commitment has been the foundation of the ‘Piccola Opera della Divina Provvidenza’ or the ‘Little work of the Divine Providence’. The institution quickly spread throughout Italy and then abroad: South America, Poland, Greece, Palestine, North America and England before and after his death, occurred in Sanremo on 12th March 1940, and later also in Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Brazil. On 16th May 2004 he was proclaimed Saint by Pope John-Paul II. Saint Orione’s body is preserved in a glass case inside the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Guardia in Tortona, the church he strongly wanted as a spiritual centre for his institution. After some decades from his death, his Memory still lives with the people from Tortona and its surroundings, considered as a great example of a life spent at the service of poor, humble and deprived people.

WORTH A VISIT • Saint Orione’s sites: permanent exhibition dedicated to the Saint and housed in the church of G. Bossi; the native house of Saint Luigi Orione, in the main street of the village inside the Rattazzi Palace. • The Civic Tower, located in Matteotti square, which probably dates back to 13th century. • The parish church of Santa Maria Assunta, built around 1300s on the remains of an ancient Romanesque parish church, with several frescoes and recently refurbished chapels. • The church of San Giovanni Battista, dating back to 12th century. • The Gothic window situated in Via Emilia 21, known as ‘Barbarossa window’, who dwelt in Pontecurone and here established his headquarters.

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CASALNOCETO

Located on the right bank of the Curone stream, the village was already inhabited in the prehistoric age. It is one of the most important sites documenting the so-called ‘Civiltà dei vasi a bocca quadrata’ (civilisation of the square opening vases, named after some ceramic shapes found here). During the

last part of 1300s in Casalnoceto were built walls, which helped to preserve the layout of the classic ‘Rocca Viscontea’ (a fortress built by the Visconti family). The presence of the Spinola family in the16th century brought fame and wealth to the village that in 1600s became one of the most important centres of the area.

WORTH A VISIT • The church of Santa Maria in the hamlet of Rosano. • Oratory of San Rocco Dating back to 15th-18th centuries carved out from one of the angular towers of the old fortress. • The parish church of San Giovanni Battista dating from the 16th century. • The former monastery of the

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Discalced Carmelites, now called ‘Palazzo Vaccari’ (Vaccari Palace). • The museum ‘La memoria del passato’ (the memory of the past) unique for its originality, it shows life evidence and documents of the 20th century; it is located in the cellars of the school building which was built in 1907.

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NOTABLE PEOPLE Casalnoceto was the birthplace of Giorgio Bidone (1781-1839), a Master of hydraulics at the University of Turin that connected his name to the so-called ‘salto di Bidone’ (Hydraulic jump) and who was the tutor of Massimo D'Azeglio. INTERESTING FACTS The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Fogliata – Little chapel in Casalnoceto, built in the place where the Madonna appeared in the distant past, is strictly connected to the name of Saint Luigi Orione. He commissioned the construction of a Sanctuary consecrated to the Madonna della Fogliata (1907), exactly where the destroyed chapel previously was. EVENTS

LOCAL PRODUCTS

• Patronal Festival – 15th-16th August • Festival of ‘pom a moj’ (the soaked apples)- last Sunday in March

Wines, truffles and fruits

Casalnoceto - Town Hall Piazza Dante Alighieri, 1 Tel 0131.809172 www.comune.casalnoceto.al.it


CASTELLAR GUIDOBONO LOCAL PRODUCTS

A small village located down in the valley, in a prevalently level ground, at the foot of the hills of Tortona, it represents an area of passage towards the Curone Valley. It preserved its characteristics as a country village with its low and methodically built houses, all located around the square with the church and the town hall. The name of the village was recorded for the first time on 5th November 979. The fertile land and the favourable geographical position determined the growth of the township, even though over the centuries it had been destroyed and rebuilt several times.

WORTH A VISIT

Typical high quality vegetables and fruits: apples and peaches, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT), strawberries, tomatoes, etc.

• The nineteenth-century ‘Villa Montebruno’, located on the provincial road of the Curone Valley. • The church of San Tommaso, whose existence was testified already before 1354. • The little chapel of the Madonna del Caravaggio situated close to the farmstead of San Luigi. EVENTS • Patronal Festival of San Gaetano second Sunday in August.

Castellar Guidobono - Town Hall Piazza San Tomaso, 1 Tel 0131.898053 www.comune.castellarguidobono.al.it

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VOLPEGLINO ‘Vulpidino’, now Volpeglino is located at the entrance of the Curone Valley. In the 12th century it was a fortified site, and part of the fief of the Guidobono family. It became a free municipality in 1245 and afterwards Volpeglino came under the influence of the Visconti. Its territory presents some soil and climate features that make this area suitable for fruit-growing and for the practice of a naturalistic tourism.

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WORTH A VISIT • The historic centre is made up of narrow roads and a panoramic slope towards the ancient castle about which there are just some remnants transformed into houses. • Through a green path it is possible to reach the remains of the old church of San Damiano dating from the 14th century. • Going up in the village, near the Rosta farmstead, it is possible to see the little chapel of Santa Maria della Pietà dating back to 1800s.

LOCAL Barbera and Cortese wine and High quality fruits: peaches, apricots, strawberries and grapes.

Volpeglino - Town Hall Via Stazione, 6 Tel 0131.80182 www.comune.volpeglino.al.it


BERZANO DI TORTONA Berzano is a small agricultural centre situated on the final hilly layers, dominating the plain, with a view over the Grue and lower Curone Valley. The population is spread in several hamlets (Cappellette, Valbona, Capoluogo, Chiesa Magostino, Inselmina)that over the last few years have been subjected to a progressive repopulation, mainly thanks to the proximity to the main arterial routes. The tourist attraction of the village is given by the gorgeous landscape and the crops chatacterizing it. The village has a strong farming trade; the favourable weather and the tenacity of the farmers have ensured EVENTS • Patronal Festival of Santa Teresa 2nd Sunday in October

production of top quality red-wines (Barbera and Croatina) and white wines (Cortese and Timorasso). Very important is also the fruitgrowing (peaches, strawberries, apricots and cherries). The name ‘Berzano’ derives from the latin ‘Berceolus’ that means ‘hedge, garden’. In 1928 the independent district council of Berzano was suppressed and joined together the nearby village of Volpedo, from which it broke away in 1947.

LOCAL PRODUCTS High-quality wines and the big variety of fruits abundantly grown in the area.

WORTH A VISIT • The Busseti Boniforte di Cortemagno Palace, a building of historic interest, with an aristocratic chapel and a precious eighteenth-century altar-piece representing ‘Maria al sepolcro’ (Maria at the Holy Sepulchre).

Berzano di Tortona - Town Hall Piazza Caduti della Libertà, 5 Tel 0131.80179 www.comuneberzanoditortona.it

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MONLEALE EVENTS

Hilly village located in the lower Curone Valley, where the Apennine crest starts, a natural paradise of woods, orchards and vineyards. Monleale is made up of two centres: Monleale Alto, the original and oldest village situated on the top of a hill, and the more recent Monleale Basso, which stretches along the provincial road Tortona-Caldirola, on the left bank of the Curone stream.

A mainly agricultural village, besides being the ideal spot for lovely walks in touch with nature, it is also an excellent place for great wine-making and fruitgrowing. Peaches represent one of the top products of this area.

• Patronal Festival of Sant’Ambrogio with dinner – 7th December • ‘Calici di Stelle’ – 10th August • Feast of the Madonna del Carmine: procession and barbecue – 16th July WORTH A VISIT • The last vestiges of the Castle, which once had three towers. • The parish church. • The oratory of San Rocco. LOCAL PRODUCTS Peaches and apples, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT). Wines.

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Monleale - Town Hall Piazza IV Novembre, 2 Tel 0131.80191 www.comune.monleale.al.it


MONTEMARZINO Of ancient Ligurian origins, it is located on a panoramic hill on the border of the Curone and Grue Valleys. The landscape is characterized by a succession of pleasant hills covered by vineyards and orchards which soften in the plain below. It is a territory rich in natural beauties; the verdant easy paths are suitable for a walk or a horse or mountain-bike ride.

WORTH A VISIT

EVENTS

• The ruins of the medieval Castle, on the highest hill of the village. • The church of San Giovanni Battista – 15th century with, among the other peculiarities, a ‘Madonna del Rosario’ (The Virgin of the rosary) made by Montecucco. • The church and oratory of Santa Maria in Scrimignano, with a very well preserved ancient Romanesque apse. • In the hamlet of Reguardia: Oratory of San Giuseppe and country ancient elm. • The Oratory of Sant’Antonio in Zebedassi dating from 16th-17th centuries. • The Oratory of San Zenone in Segagliate dating back to the 15th century, with a refined stucco altar.

· Patronal Festival of San Giovanni – Saturday after the 24th June; dinner in the square and fireworks INTERESTING FACTS

The Zebedassite – In the past a hamlet of Zebedassi experienced a period of ‘splendour’ thanks to a stone that took its name from the village’s one. The ‘zebedassite’, a black stone with pink veins, was known among the local people with the dialect name ‘preghe nere’. The ‘zebedassite’ had been used for several years in the constructions and local houses, however its more profitable use occurred at the beginning of 1900s.

LOCAL PRODUCTS Superior white truffle, peaches and apples, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT), pears, and the tasty local salami. DOC (Registered designation of origin) wines, the red wines Barbera and Dolcetto, the white wines Cortese and Timorasso.

Montemarzino - Town Hall Piazza San Giovanni, 9 Tel 0131.878124 www.comunedimontemarzino.it

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VOLPEDO

Volpedo is an ancient village with a square plan, located on a low hill in the place where the Curone Valley opens towards the plain. It was a set area of passage for those, who while going up along the course of the Curone stream, headed for the different villages in the valley, once it was surrounded by walls which no longer exist.

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The altimetry of its territory is varied, in fact while the village is located approximately at 182 metres above sea level, the hamlets and the several spread houses, situated on the surrounding hills, can reach 479 metres. It is famous for its fruit production (especially of strawberries and peaches), in spring it is possible to enjoy a stunning natural scenario thanks to the colours and the scents of the blooming trees. The village is famous because of the renowned artist Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, who was born here, and whose name has been always handed down connected with the village name. Volpedo is listed among the ‘I Borghi più belli d'Italia’ (Italy most beautiful villages). Tortona andterre Tortonese, its surroundings d’incontro – Val – Curone CuroneValley - Itinerary - Itinerary 2 4

EVENTS • Patronal Festival of San Giovannino last Sunday but one in August • Biennale of Art, Culture and Show ‘Pellizza da Volpedo’ – it takes place in the odd-numbered years. • Exhibitions, meetings, events focused on the works and the figure Pellizza da Volpedo – different dates during the year (www.pellizza.it). LOCAL PRODUCTS Apples and peaches, both fresh and in syrup, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT). Apricots, grapes, jams, meat, typical salami cured meat, and artisanal ice cream made with local fresh fruits. Volpedo - Town Hall Piazza della libertà, 26 Tel 0131.80141 www.comune.volpedo.al.it


NOTABLE PEOPLE

WORTH A VISIT • The native house and the adjacent study-museum of Pellizza. • The places of Pellizza: a route on the roads and the squares of the village along which are displayed the replicas of his art works, in the main points that inspired the artist. • Quarto Stato square, the place where Pellizza set the great canvas. • The Didactic Museum ‘Pellizza’. • The parish church of San Pietro, dating back to the 16th century. • The walls of the medieval ‘castrum’ (castle). • The Guidobono Cavalchini Malaspina Penati palace (18th19th centuries).

Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo (1868-1907) He was born in Volpedo on 28th July 1868. His father Pietro is a small landowner committed in the political and social life of the village. An illustrious exponent of Divisionism andauthor of the famous ‘Il Quarto Stato’ (The Fourth Estate), he is one of the most renowned artists of the Italian painting between 1800s and 1900s. The strong bond with Volpedo is on the basis of his choice to live and work in his native village, generating this way a close and indissoluble relation with the people and the atmospheres of his native land, which are immortalized in his works. The painting obtained by Pellizza is extraordinarily rich in colours that are smashed into atoms assuming an atmospheric substance only if they are perceived in the work totality. Probably the first thought goes to the famous ‘Il Quarto Stato’ showing the inevitable advance of the workers towards the observer, however it is in the paintings in which the protagonist is the sun – those that Pellizza realized immersed in the landscape of the Tortona countryside – that the divisionism of the painter reaches its top, almost an early example of futurism.

• The Romanesque parish church of San Pietro (10th-15th centuries) The little rural church, represents a real Romanesque jewel of the Curone Valley. To the original building dating back to the 10th century belong, besides the apse, the upper part of the wall at the end of the central nave and a section of the longitudinal wall of the northern façade, while the remaining perimetric walls, the façade and the door date back to the restoration of the 15th century, exactly as the frescoes housed inside the church. Recently the critics detected the work of five different hands, however only two of them have been given a name: Antonius was the author that signed in 1462 a fragment of a fresco located on the right wall towards the apse. Giovanni Quirico from Tortona, instead, was the executor of the shrine with the Virgin on the throne and the Saints Giacomo Apostolo and Agata, which is set against the third right pillar and dates back to 1502.

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MOMPERONE

It is located on a gentle slope on the right side of the Curone stream, its territory stretches out with several hamlets, on the hill sides of the valley. In the zone of Momperone was found the first settlement of the area dating back to thousands of years ago. Also known for its quarries of marl, it was mentioned for the first time in 1220. Fief of the Guidobono Cavalchini from 1466 to the end ofthe 17th century, the village was dominated by a

castle that no longer exists. Unfortunately time has destroyed the monuments and buildings that proved the history. Characterized by a mainly agricultural economy, the village is immersed in an uncontaminated territory worth discovering.

EVENTS • Festival of ‘malfatti’ (typical dumplings made with vegetables, eggs, cheese and flour and seasoned with melted butter)– it takes place several times in summer.

WORTH A VISIT

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• The parish church, consecrated to Saints Pietro and Vittore, dates back to the 7th century and preserves precious baroque altars. • In the hamlet of Mulino there is the only watermill still operating in the valley. It is a feudal mill with French grinders, already mentioned in a document from 1542.

LOCAL PRODUCTS Salami and cured meat, game, fruits

Momperone - Town Hall Piazza I Maggio, 2 Tel 0131-784675 www.comunemomperone.it


POZZOL GROPPO

Hilly village stretching along the two slopes towards the Curone and the Staffora Valleys. Staffora is a stream that marks the boundary with the province of Pavia, whose main characteristics are the tranquillity and the beauty of the landscapes. The municipality territory culminates on the hill on which the historical castle of Pozzol Groppo is located, in a panoramic position dominating on the two valleys, the Apennine and the plain. It is a ‘scattered’ village since the municipal territory is a ‘federation of hamlets’, 13 in total, and there is not a real chief village. The town hall is located in the hamlet of San Lorenzo, while the most populated hamlet is Biagasco (or Groppo), with about 60 inhabitants. The castle of Pozzol Groppo – which is now a private house and closed to the public- was built at the end of the 12th century on the place where there was a Roman sighting tower and was restored in

the 16th century by the Malaspina family. Three embattled towers rise above the massive building, only the highest of them is old. It houses big rooms, embellished by sixteenth-century fireplaces with the coats of arms of Malaspina, Spina and Rampini, coffered ceilings and precious frescoes. WORTH A VISIT • The church of Groppo-Biagasco is the oldest, it was mentioned in two documents of the 12th century. • Very precious is also the shrine, always located in the hamlet of Biagasco.

EVENTS • Patronal Festival of San Lorenzo with fireworks – 10th August • Feast of the Madonna Assunta – 15th August LOCAL PRODUCTS • Fruits (peaches, cherries, etc.) • Salami and cured meat, produced according to the ancient tradition. • Red wines: Barbera, Dolcetto, Croatina, Freisa and white wines: Cortese and Timorasso. Pozzol Groppo - Town Hall Via San Lorenzo, 1 Tel e fax 0131.800103 www.comune.pozzolgroppo.al.it

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SAN SEBASTIANO CURONE

Its geographic position and its history make San Sebastiano the most lively and active village of the Curone Valley. It is situated at the confluence of the Curone and Museglia streams. It is a village rose on the route of the ‘Imperial Fiefs’, on the road that linked Piacenza to Genoa. The presence of a castle, of a little chapelconsecrated to San Sebastiano and of a building used as customs at Cascina Cabella (where the Spinola family was used to collect the tolls, now in the Municipality of Dernice) encouraged, between 1400s and 1500s, the rising of a built-up area. In 1600s it was the residence of noble Genoese families. The village developed on the sides

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of a hill. For this reason the internal roads are quite narrow and sloping, the houses are set one against the other, and linked by arches, and its doors embellished by friezes. The dense fabric of the village, miraculously preserved over the centuries, reminds the typical architectures of the Ligurian villages and a noble and wealthy past. The surrounding natural environment presents a rich vegetation typical of the Ligurian-Piedmontese Apennine.

WORTH A VISIT • The parish church of San Sebastiano. • The Oratory of the Madonna Assunta, an elegant eighteenth-century building. • The church of the Santissima Trinità dating back to the first half of 18th century. • The Visconteo Castle, widely restored inside. • The House of the Prince ‘Casa del Principe’, the house of the Doria family. • The De Ferrari Palace, built in 1600s.


NOTABLE PEOPLE

EVENTS Artinborgo The old shops of the historic centre are reopened to host the artisans and give them the possibility to present their works. The event is centred around the artisan and his ability to combine tradition and innovation, art and the everyday life elements. Period of the event: at the weekends in July and August. ARTINFIERA National fair and market of the artistic and traditional handicrafts, and of food and wine – 3rd weekend in September.

The artisans coming from the whole Italy and the representatives of talented European artisans exhibit their works inside the old and evocative shops of the historic centre, that are reopened on this occasion. Wood, pieces of pottery, fabrics, jewels, furnishing accessories, glass, clothes, and other objects are displayed in the magic setting evocative of the past of this place. FESTIVAL OF TRUFFLE The third Sunday in November.

LOCAL PRODUCTS • Roma square, with its liberty style, two important buildings overlook it: Mazza Galanti Palace (designed by Bourges inspired by the Venetian models), Pollini Palace(with an important floreal ledge) and Signoris Palace (in an elegant and solemn style). • The portals and the alleys.

White truffles (listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont ‘PAT’) and black truffles. ‘Salame Nobile del Giarolo’ (Nobile del Giarolo Salami), a "Slow Food" presidium. Cooked salami, ‘Testa in cassetta’ (boxed pork head), ‘Quarantina’ potato, apples, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT). Wines.

San Sebastiano Curone - Town Hall Piazza Roma, 7 Tel 0131.786205 www.comunesansebastianocurone.it

FELICE GIANI Born in San Sebastiano on 15th December 1758, painter and interior decorator, he was one of the greatest exponents of the neoclassicism. He studied in Pavia and Bologna. He moved to Rome, in 1780, thanks to the protection of the prince Doria Pamphili he formed a connection with several artists and this way he achieved the first successes. In 1784 Giani won the second prize of a drawing contest organized by the Academy of Parma, the city that in that period was in the forefront from an artistic point of view and was the propelling centre of the emerging Neoclassicism. A real ‘irregular’ character in the artistic panorama of neoclassicism, he lived his life as a proper wanderer and Bohemian; he worked in a very well organized studio and in his teaching method drawing and improvisation played an important role. The meetings between him and his pupils had the evocative name of‘Accademia dei Pensieri’ (Academy of thoughts) attracting drawings, sometimes scornful and irreverent. He died in Rome on 11th January 1823. Tortona and its surroundings – Curone Valley - Itinerary 4

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BRIGNANO FRASCATA Located in a splendid natural setting in the Curone Valley, Brignano is a small village dominated by the medieval-styled Castle of Spinetta Spinola, dating back to 1300s-1400s and connected with the village below through a cobblestone paving path which, once in the village it reaches the church of San Giacomo, whose construction was commissioned by the Capuchin friars. Even if it is a private house, the owners allow the local government to use the inner garden as a location for cultural events.

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WORTH A VISIT

INTERESTING FACTS

• The Castle of Brignano – Ancient fortress belonging to the country round the town of Tortona, and located in the middle of a vast park with coniferae, the castle was subjected to substantial extensions. It has a four-sided plant, with a four-sided tower. The structure, that now has about thirty rooms, is mixed, made up of sandstones and bricks. The original building was commissioned by the Spinola family; in the Baroque age the Guidobono Cavalchini families added the main part of the building which is now used as a library. The entrance door of the castle is in Renaissance style.

In Brignano Frascata is located the seat of ‘La Pietra Verde’, an association for the promotion of the natural and historical heritage of our territory, which organizes guided tours to discover the area, its uncontaminated environments, by spreading among the participants the wish to know and grow up through new experiences from sport to natura. The favourite destinations are the naturalistic routes in the upper Curone Valley and the archaeological sites of ‘Guardamonte’, an area with several finds and fossils, mainly dating from the Neolithic age. www.lapietraverde.it

• The church of San Giacomo – Located in the lower part of the village, dates back to the Middle Ages, it houses old and priceless pieces of furniture. Tortona and its surroundings – Curone Valley - Itinerary 4

EVENTS • Patronal Festival of San Giacomo – 25th July • Festival of truffle - last Sunday in October • Flea market and antique trade market – on the first Sunday of every month

LOCAL PRODUCTS The territory of Brignano Frascata is famous for growing apples, pears and for white truffle (listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont - PAT) and black truffle hunting. Brigano Frascata - Town Hall Via Mulino, 1 – 15050 Tel. 0131.784623 Fax 0131.784618 www.comune.brignanofrascata.al.it


MONTACUTO

Small village of the Curone Valley, located on the Museglia stream, at 525 metres above sea level, on the slopes of the mount Giarolo which acts as a backdrop for the uncontaminated landscape in the middle of which it is built up. Here the scenario changes: fields are replaced by woods, beechwoods, and paths leading to the statue of the Redeemer, placed on the top of the mount Giarolo. The municipal territory stretches out up to the Giarolo peak among paths and pastures. In the Middle Age Montacuto belonged, together with Brignano Frascata, to the so-called ‘Stato Malaspina’ (Malaspina State). The seat of the little imperial fief given first to the De Montacuto family and after to the Frascaroli family, has been documented at least since 1197. EVENTS • Feast of the Redeemer Christ ‘Cristo Redentore’ – 1st Sunday in August • Feast of the Madonna della Guardia – 29th August • Torch-light procession of the Holy Night – 24th December

WORTH A VISIT

LOCAL PRODUCTS

• The castle: its walls belong to the Marquesses Frascaroli and are located on an isolated peak.

Apples.

• The oratory of Santa Maria in Campis, its first historical records date back to 5th September 1589. It houses precious paintings probably from the Genoese school of 1600s.

Montacuto - Town Hall Via Capoluogo, 13 Tel. 0131.785110 Fax 0131.785900 www.comune.montacuto.al.it

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GREMIASCO

INTERESTING FACTS The fortified village of Guardamonte

It is a small village located in the upper Curone Valley, rose around the Castle of Malaspina and the Baroque church (finished in 1712), which still preserves the bell tower and its Romanesque chapel. The village has several hamlets among which Musigliano and Cà del Monte where, when the sky is clear, the horizon

WORTH A VISIT • The parish church consecrated to the Natività di Maria Vergine (Nativity of the Virgin Mary) – it houses precious frescoes and altar-pieces. • The Sanctuary consecrated to the Madonna delle Grazie (in the hamlet of Colombassi). • The Castle of the Malaspina family (with its characteristic tower; former seat of the prisons with stone and

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opens offering the observer a unique and amazing view on the Alpes.

The area of Guardamonte offers the possibility to make a journey back in time thanks to the presence of very ancient settlements that can be traced back to the Iron age and to the first two centuries of the Roman Empire. In this area have been found several fossil remains of huge sperm whales and shells, furnishings, terracotta artefacts and the ruins of a ‘castelliere d’altura’, a primitive fortified village. www.lapietraverde.it EVENTS

sandstone walls). • The Bell tower, the first watch-tower, perhaps built in the early 11th century. • The parish church, the meetingplace of religious and village life in the Middle Age. • The Mill: it was still working until a few years ago and it's perfectly preserved. • The Guardamonte crags: sandstone cliff for climbing lovers.

• Patronal Festival of San Giacomo – 25th July. • The festival of Raviolo

LOCAL PRODUCTS Apples, white truffle, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT). Salami. Gremiasco - Town Hall Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 1 Tel 0131.787153 www.comune.gremiasco.al.it


FABBRICA CURONE The name ‘Fabbrica’ probably derives from the Ligurian ‘Fraug’ - chestnut - and it means ‘town among the chestnut groves’. Rose around 9th century, it is the oldest and widest village of the area and also the highest in Tortona surroundings. The territory is delimited by a ring of mountains: mount Boglelio in the north, mount Chiappo and mount Ebro in the south (where the two Curone branches rose) that with their 1700-metre altitude are the highest peaks, and the mount Giarolo in the East, on whose top in 1901 was erected a magnificent statue of the Redeemer, and from then on it became a place of pilgrimage and hikes in summer, above all on the occasion of the feast celebrated every year of the first Sunday in August. From these peaks you can enjoy a stunning view going from the Plain to the Ligurian sea. At the foot of the mount Ebro was opened the refuge ‘Ezio Orsi’ (1,397 metres), representing a point of start for interesting hikes on the Apennine.

WORTH A VISIT • The current parish church is the enlargement of the ancient Romanesque church (12th-13th centuries) to which a presbytery and two chapels were added. The unicuspid façade is characterized by hanging arches and by a solemn portal, with a geometric decoration of the arch and two capitals holding up a lunette with an interesting stone bas-relief representing a symbology of animals, plants and vegetables. Together with a wooden tablet portraying the ‘Eternal Father’ and with fragments of capitals, this is what is left from the ancient parish church. Its interiors, decorated by Domenico Fossati, have been completely remade, with the exception of the pillars and of the old stone flooring. • The Malaspina Tower dating from 16th century in the hamlet of Lunassi and the Museum of the Peasant Civilization in the hamlet of Morigliassi.

LOCAL PRODUCTS Truffles, mushrooms, Salame Nobile del Giarolo (Salami) (a Slow Food presidium). Cooked salami, ‘Testa in cassetta’ (Boxed Pork Head), ‘Quarantina’ potato, listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont (PAT).Piedmontese ‘Panissa’ (traditional dish made with rice). Fabbrica Curone - Town Hall Frazione Garadassi 7 Tel 0131.782131 www.comune.fabbricacurone.it

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The Upper Curone Valley Fabbrica is the last village of the Curone Valley. From this place on the valley starts to go up towards the peaks of the Ligurian-Piedmontese Apennine. There are several small villages that stud the wide territory of this valley, they are all hamlets of Fabbrica Curone, and are like real jewels set in the green wood covering the slopes of these mountains. They can only be reached through winding panoramic roads. Very small villages that suddenly appear after a curve, hidden behind the spurs, that kept the old traditions and alive. These villages offer the tourists uncontaminated landscapes, tranquillity and a pleasant coolness in summer, the period when they liven up because of the several holiday-makers that reach the upper Curone Valley attracted also by the numerous food and traditional festivals and to taste the succulent dishes that this territory offers. There are several roads winding up on the slopes of the Apennine. If you follow the provincial road No. 100 you arrive at Morigliassi (652 metres above sea level), and immediately after at Garadassi, where the Town Hall of Fabbrica Curone is located. While at 768 metres, on a

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natural balcony on the right of the Curone stream and at the foot of the mount Bogleglio, rises Lunassi, a village famous for the ancient ‘SAGRA DELLA PANISSA’ (Festival of ‘Panissa’) organized every year. This small village houses an interesting MUSEUM OF PEASANT CIVILIZATION, where you can see the old domestic, agricultural, and artisan tools, old machineries, objects and documents that are the evidence of our ancestors’ traditions. On a plateau on the left of the Curone, always along the provincial road towards Bruggi at 828 metres of altitude, there is Montecapraro, seat of the most important forest nursery of the State Corps of Forest Rangers. The village of Salogni is situated immediately after, at the confluence of


INTERESTING FACTS

the Maestro stream with the Curone stream, on the slopes of mount Ebro. Finally you reach Bruggi, set in a green gorge covered by broadleaved and evergreen woods. It is the highest built-up area in the valley on the right side of Curone (1023 metres). Going up towards the mount Giarolo there is Caldirola. The old village stretches out on a rocky spur, while the part of the more recent village is ‘La Gioia’ (1299 metres) where in the fifties was built the only ski area of the province. Caldirola also represents an ideal place for a summer holiday. Vast plateaus stretch out along the mountains that surround the village and join the peaks of the mount Giarolo and mount Panà together with the mount Ebro and mount Chiappo, dominating stunning panoramas that can be reached in a few minutes EVENTS • In the hamlet of Lunassi: Festival of ‘Panissa’ - April and September and Festival of the nettle - September. • In the hamlet of Selavapiana: Festival of the chestnut – third Sunday in October.

by means of a chair lift but also on foot through easy mule tracks and paths immersed in the green. From Caldirola you can reach the refuge ‘Ezio Orsi’ (1397 metres) located in a pleasant clearing at the foot of the mount Ebro, just an hour walk from the village ‘La Gioia’. Built in 1974 and opened in September 1975 thanks to the initiative of Ezio Orsi, a member of the CAI (Italian Alpine Club) of Tortona, is open every weekend of the year. Going up towards the mount Bogleglio from another road (Provincial Road 112) you find: Remeneglia, Selvapiana (770 metres), in a panoramic location and Forotondo, a village whose houses are spread along the main road, so much so that its altitude varies from 840 metres at the beginning of the village to 910 metres where the last house is located.

The Salt Route. The trekking itinerary takes the same route of the ancient muleteers that passed along one of the salt routes that from the Riviera (Ligurian coast) crossed the Apennine to reach the Po Valley, accompanied by wayfarers, pilgrims, and by long procession of mules carrying, in every season, salt, dry fish, oil, and cereals. It is quite a challenging hike that, starting from the peaks of the Curone Valley leads to cross mount Cavalmurone (1670 metres), mount Carmo (1640 metres) and mount Antola (1597 metres) and to reach, after three days of walk, the gorgeous Gulf of Tigullio near Rapallo (Genoa). The archaeologic site of Guardamonte

stretches out along the peak and the Northern areas of the mount Vallassa slope, on the crest included between the villages of San Sebastiano Curone and Bagnària.The set up archaeologic-naturalistic route includes the archaeologic aspects, documenting the habitual attendance of the mountain from the prehistory to the Roman age, in a wider context of environmental value, which is properly enhanced by the creation of naturalistic routes, dedicated to the most significant geologic (gullies), palaeo tological (fossils), faunal (red-legged partridge), and floristic (orchids) aspects of the territory. The ‘carbuneina’. It was a rudimentary but very efficient chemical system used to transform by means of a very slow combustion and distillation wood into charcoal. It was located in an area specially set up where the wood, covered by dry leaves and then by earth, was arranged in such a way to allow the fumes circulation, through a cleft from which the operators controlled the course of chemical reactions and added new wood. There were no instruments or indicators, the operators based themselves on their intuition only. Such procedure is called ‘carbonaia’ (charcoal kiln) and is periodically revived by the ‘Circolo Lunassese’ (an Organizazion)in the hamlet of Lunassi within the ambit of the events that it organizes. www.circololunassese.it Tortona and its surroundings – Curone Valley - Itinerary 4

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Borbera Valley

Crossroads of people, cultures and lives, this valley, crossed by the Borbera stream, a tributary of Scrivia stream, has always been a meeting and often also a clashing place; inhabited by Celts, Ligurians, occupied by Romans and made rich and prosperous by the Spinola and Doria families, it was then in 1900s a battlefield on which Nazi-Fascists and Partisans faced each other. In fact, here were written some of the bloodiest pages of the Resistance. The ‘Strette di Pertuso’ (Narrows of Pertuso) represent one of the most picturesque natural spectacles of the area, a huge gorge full of bends and meanders, almost 10-kilometre long, which goes up to Cantalupo Ligure outlining a landscape made of extraordinary contrasts, from the rounded peaks of the mountains to the clefts of the valley floor. In this place some equipped areas and some stairs allow the access to the stream making your stopover really pleasant. In summer the Borbera stream is very crowded because of the several bathers searching for some relief in its fresh and clear water.

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EVENTS • Cabella Ligure – ‘Borberissima. Le strade del Timorasso’ (Borberissima. The routes of Timorasso) – A mountain-bike track - June • Antiques, handicrafts and hobby fair - First Sunday in August • Festival of ‘gnocco fritto’ (fried gnocco), LOCAL PRODUCT tasting and live traditional music - August • Festival of the ‘Quarantina’ potato -

First Sunday in September • Cosola – Festival of chestnut Second Sunday in October. • Dova Superiore - Festival of the Mountain – Third Sunday in August • Capanne di Cosola – ‘A Curmà di Pinfrii’, traditional gathering of pipes, accordions and folk singers of the traditional songs of the Four Provinces - Third Saturday in October • Cantalupo Ligure - Festival of the piglet - Last Saturday in July.


WORTH A VISIT • The Stone of Pinan Cichero: Monument to the Partisan, built to commemorate the battle of Pertuso, one of the bloodiest episode of the Resistance that took place here in August 1944. • ‘Ara delle Matrone’ (The altar of Matrons), a votive altar made of sandstone, is an evidence of the Roman presence in the valley and one of the most important archaeological finds of the area, today it is housed in the rooms of the Town Hall of Roccaforte Ligure. • Museum of folk culture of the Upper

Borbera Valley in Carrega Ligure. • Museum of Resistance and of social life housed inside Spinola Palace in Rocchetta Ligure, established in 1990. • Museum of Natural History housed inside villa Gardella in Stazzano, established in 1980. The Borbera Valley, having been a borderland of the Republic of Genoa, was subjected to the construction of several castles on its hills, some of them are still well preserved: • Castle of Vargo, in Vargo di Stazzano dating from around 1500s. • Castle of Stazzano, in Stazzano, given off to an old people’s home therefore not open to public. • Visconteo Castle of Torre Ratti,

LOCAL PRODUCTS in Torre Ratti the hamlet of Borghetto di Borbera, mentioned for the first time in 1413 by Filippo Maria Visconti, then owned by the Rati Opizzoni family. • Castle of Sorli, dating back to 12th century of which there are only some ruins left; it belonged first to the Visconti family and then to the Lunati family until 1753. • Castle of Roccaforte Ligure, built around the year 600, and rebuilt by the Malaspina family around 11th century and then owned by the Spinola family until 1797; there are only some ruins left. • Castle of Cremonte in Cremonte the hamlet of Cabella Ligure: its construction was commissioned in the 10th century by the bishop of Tortona against the Saracen and Hungarian raids. • Castle of Carrega Ligure, probably dating back to the 12th century; of the original building are left some ruins and others belonging to the old tower. • Castle of Borgo Adorno in Cantalupo Ligure. A particular feature of this valley is represented by the ‘ghost villages’ (Rivarossa, Avi, Camere Nuove, Connio Chiapparo, Ferrazza, Reneuzzi, Piani di Celio), so named because their inhabitants abandoned them in the fifties-sixties of 1900 and decided to go and live in the bigger cities.

Montebore cheese. ‘Fagiolane bianche’ (white beans), similar to the white Spanish bean. ‘Quarantina’ potato, above all the ‘Genoese white Quarantina’. Black truffle, white truffle and ‘porcini’ mushrooms. Chestnuts, hazelnuts. ‘Carla’ apple, typical of the Borbera Valley, honey. Timorasso, white wine typical of this area. Game. Rice ravioli, rice with violet petals, chestnut ‘trofie’ (short, thin, twisted pasta from Genoa) with walnut sauce, green ‘corzetti’ (fresh pasta typical of the Ligurian cuisine)with peas and Montebore cheese cream or with mushrooms. · Vignole Borbera Tel 0143.67301 www.comune.vignoleborbera.al.it · Borghetto Borbera Tel 0143.69101/1/6 www.comune.borghettodiborbera.al.it · Cantalupo Ligure Tel 0143.90946 · Rocchetta Ligure Tel 0143.90004 www.comune.rocchettaligure.al.it · Cabella Ligure Tel 0143.799430 www.cabellaligure.eu · Albera Ligure Tel 0143.90051 www.comune.alberaligure.al.it · Mongiardino Ligure Tel 0413.98110 www.comune.mongiardinoligure.al.it

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Local products

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The Red and Golden Onion of Castelnuovo Scrivia

Onion can be traditionally used as an ingredient to season salads and soups, or autonomously when boiled or baked. In the ‘plain of Tortona’ are cultivated three varieties of onion differing from one another in the shape and size: the ‘golden’ one, has an ovoidal shape and a copper colour, the ‘red’ onion instead, has a regular and ovoidal shape, a reddish-violet colour and a red flesh - both varieties are particularly fine – then there is the ‘white’ onion

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with its ellipsoidal shape and a white flesh. They are picked between July and September. Their plants, can be up to 40cm high, and produce very sweet bulbs. The main villages growing onions are: Castelnuovo Scrivia, Molino dei Torti, Guazzora, and Pontecurone.

The Garlic of Molino dei Torti

Garlic has been cultivated for ages in the small village of Molino dei Torti, it is listed among the Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont and farmers are still using the traditional variety and cultivation techniques. The produce is usually made up of 8-10 bulbs (the so-called garlic cloves) wrapped up by a tunica whose colour varies from white to pink or mauve. The plant, made up of green basal leaves, can be up to 70cm high. The harvest takes place in two different periods: in June for the ‘Borgognone’ variety, commonly called ‘Ravagno’, which is generally eaten fresh into salads; and in July for the ‘Bianco

invernale’ (winter white), b e t t e r known as ‘Aglio di Molino dei Torti’ (Garlic from Molino dei Torti), that is dried and marketed on a large scale. It represents one of the most important elements of the Mediterranean cuisine. Its taste is very strong but perfect to set the taste of several dishes off, in fact the tasty Piedmontese cuisine makes it one of the most used ingredients. Garlic lovers consider the variety of Molino dei Torti as the best in Italy and its fame has already crossed the national borders.

The Celery of Alluvioni Cambiò It is the local produce of Alluvioni Cambiò. The medium-textured soils, rich in humus and a bit acid, surrounding the area of Po and Tanaro rivers, are perfect for growing this vegetable. In this area are grown two varieties of celery: ‘white’ and ‘green’ (which is called by locals ‘black’). The first variety is fleshy with a delicate taste and smell; the second one, instead, is greatly aromatic. Celery is highly subjected to deterioration, therefore it requires a lot of attention and care during the different stages of maturation. The farmers of the area, thanks to their experience, always guarantee its genuineness and quality.


The "Quarantina" Potato di Castelnuovo Scrivia

"Quarantina" Potato

It is a very important produce for the horticultural sector of the lower Scrivia Valley, above all in the municipalities of Castelnuovo Scrivia, Molino dei Torti, Guazzora, Isola Sant’Antonio, Sale, and Alluvioni Cambiò. There are two main varieties: the one with a white and floury flesh and the yellowfleshed one. They are again divided into other ten varieties (five for the first variety and

It is a non-floury potato with an irregular shape, its peel is smooth and has a light cream colour, it is traditionally grown in Borbera Valley and on the Ligurian Apennine. It is also used in the local cuisine with somelocal dishes, such as the ‘trenette al pesto’ (typical Ligurian flat spaghetti with pesto), the ‘tripe’ or the ‘stockfish’. Its taste remains particularly intense when steamed before removing its peel. www.quarantina.it

five for the second one). In this area potatoes are grown in untreated soils, and such a thing represents a great value. Water is an essential element for cultivations and the closeness of three big rivers and streams such as Po river, Tanaro river and Scrivia stream made this territory an excellent habitat for the production of a quality potato. www.aspropat.com

of Borbera Valley

Mais Ottofile (Ottofile Corn) The ‘Mais Ottofile’ from Tortona is an old corn variety that has been grown starting from the second half of the last century both in the plain and on the hills surrounding Tortona and it is present in each peasant family, above all for a private consumption. Superseded after the Second World War by other varieties guaranteeing a greater yield, but certainly with a lower quality, its growing has been started again over the last two decades. The plant of the ‘Ottofile’ corn, which has never been genetically modified, has one panicle only made of eight longitudinal rows of grains (its name comes from this peculiarity). In order to preserve its organoleptic properties, it is cultivated according to natural methods, without any added treatment and the production procedures follow the old criteria; in fact, once the corn is harvested and sun-dried, is then rigorously ground by means of a ‘natural stone’. This kind of grinding, which is extremely slow, does not heat the flour which remains wholemeal, preserving its smell and taste, the real ‘old-time taste’, in the most traditional way. The ‘Ottofile’ cornflour is used to make the classic ‘polenta’, which is always delicious: cut in slices, fried, grilled; or to make sweets, cakes, bread, breadsticks, etc..., these are all products that offer to the palate a delicious feeling of rusticity, typical of the flour ground on a natural stone. Tortona and its surroundings –Food & Wine

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Fragola Profumata di Tortona

(Scented Small Strawberry of Tortona) It is a local ecotype. The fruit is quite small and rounded, it is dark red and its pulp tends to the white and is slightly veined of red. Its finest peculiarity is given by the scent, intense with a penetrating aroma of muscat and by the sweet taste. The typology of this fruit and its organoleptic properties, made it subjected to study. They are picked manually, when fully mature, between the second decade of May and the first of June. Its cultivation slowly disappeared after the Second World Was, also due to its delicacy and easy perishability. Only at the end of the Nineties in the last century some market gardeners of the area started to cultivate and promote it again, to the extent that in 2000 the Scented Strawberry became a protagonist at the exhibition ‘Salone del Gusto’ as a Slow Food presidium and in 2003 an Association for its enhancement has been founded. It can be enjoyed plain or with lemon and abundant sugar, or alternatively with sugar and good sweet wine and can be used as an ingredient to make various desserts. All year round you can savour jams and liqueurs made with this scented strawberry by local producers who are reviving it. www.consorziofragoladitortona.it

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The Peach of Volpedo The clayey and fresh soils of the area of Volpedo and of its neighbouring villages are perfect for growing peach trees and allow to obtain a produce with an intense and delicate scent with a compact and tasty pulp. These peaches are picked when maturation has almost been completed: the long permanence on the plants exalts their taste and scent. The variety ‘Pesca di Volpedo’ (Peach of Volpedo), which in the past was mainly appreciated and cultivated in the valley, today has become one of the most known produce in the province; its fame has already crossed the regional borders and it is now marketed throughout Italy. Info: volpedofrutta@libero.it www.pescavolpedo.com


The Apple of the Curone Valley Cultivated without irrigation in the piedmont and hilly area surrounding Volpedo, Monleale, Brignano Frascata and San Sebastiano, apple represents a typical growing of the Curone Valley, where over the last few years extended and specified. Thanks to the depth and the fertility of these territories, apple became the ‘queen’ of the fruits (a role shared with the peach). If in the past the ‘Mela Carla’ (Carla apple) was predominant, today the rennet apples and the

American varieties ‘Delicious’ and ‘GoldenDelicious’ prevail. The production follows the expert dictates of the Association ‘Volpedo Frutta’, aimed at guaranteeing the consumer a high-quality produce. In fact the fruits preservation and storage are performed according to the traditional methods in places that guarantee specific total temperature, humidity and atmospheric composition values in order not to deteriorate the distinctive qualitative peculiarities.

Mela Carla ("Carla" Apple) An apple variety which is mainly popular in the Borbera Valley; it is yellow with red spots, and has a very fine white pulp that is slightly sourish, but also crisp, fragrant,

tasty and juicy. It is picked at the end of September and keeps until spring.

Ciliegia “Bella di Garbagna” Cherry Garbagna, a small village in the Grue Valley, is famous for its cherries. Three varieties are grown: ‘pistoiese’, ‘grisona’ (late variety), but above all the ‘Bella’: a bright red ‘durone’ cherry, it is very crisp with a medium-long petiole, it is particularly suitable to be perserved in alcohol, where it keeps its consistency and taste. It is also ideal as a soft centre for the ‘Boero’ chocolates, as raw material to make spirits and for jams. Used with cinnamon or cloves, it becomes an unusual, but extremely interesting seasoning for meat. www.ciliegiagarbagna.com

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The Melon

of Isola Sant'Antonio

It is a fruit with extra-fine peculiarities, it is excellent and highly demanded thanks to its extraordinary organoleptic properties. It is grown and eaten in July and August. The melon-growing is very popular in the territories of Isola Sant’Antonio, Castelnuovo Scrivia and Sale, an area where the humid, clayey and slimy soils, the abundance of water and the summer heat created an ideal habitat for its cultivation. There are two main varieties: ‘cantalupi’ and ‘reticolati’. The latter have a the net like rind, from which the name reticulated derives, with green venations more or less dark, round shaped or long shaped; once maturation is completed the pulp becomes orange and has an intense scent.

A new entry in the territory of Tortona

The “Tritordeum” It is a new plain cereal, with important nutritional and beneficial properties, it is obtained by naturally mixing a type of durum wheat and a type of barley grass that spontaneously grows in Chile and Argentina, whose cultivation has been started in the territory surrounding Tortona according to rigorous production specifications . (It is an exclusive of Tomato Farm S.p.a.) The main characteristics are: a low content of gluten, high content of dietary fibers that are perfect for blood circulation, high levels of lutein (antioxidant good for the eyes), phenolic compounds, fructans, proteins and essential minerals. The flour made from this innovative cereal is perfect for processed products (bread, pizza, sweets, pasta).

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Ceci della Merella

- Chickpea of Merella

Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont

Cultivated in the area between Tortona and Novi Ligure along the Scrivia stream, the chickpea of Merella is not a local variety and is not even grown by means of specific techniques. Its distinctive properties are: the taste, the consistency and the delicacy of the pulp, which make it a unique produce. Its special peculiarities are guaranteed by the nature of the soil: the soil of the Scrivia where they are grown is clayey, dry and certainly not so fertile, but rich in those elements that contribute to make its taste characteristic and special. The chickpeas of Merella, are very appreciated by experts, they are traditionally used to make soups, creams, vegetable soups and above all to make the typical ‘farinata’ (focaccia made out of chickpea flour known in the area of Tortona as ‘bellacalda’).

Fagiolane della Val Borbera -

(climbing beans from the Borbera Valley) They are climbing beans whose colour is white-ivory, bright or dull. Their seeds can have different shapes: elongated, kidney-shaped and flat, rounded and flat or rounded and plump. There are two varieties of ‘fagiolane’: the ‘Quarantina’ and the ‘Tardiva’. The first one is earlier, however its seeds are smaller; the second one is later, but its seed is bigger and of higher quality. The harvest, which is totally performed manually from the half of August till October or November, takes place when the pods are dry; in fact the fresh product is not sold in any market.


Truffles The valleys surrounding Tortona, in particular the area of Curone Valley, is characterized by the homogeneity and by the absence of stones in the soil, their environment is ideal to grow the most renowned species. The fine white truffle (Tuber higher commercial value; its colour Magnatum) with a smooth shape, varies depending on the species and its intense and strong smell, is of tree under which it grows and ideal on ‘neutral’ dishes, it is the king develops in symbiosis: for example of the Piedmontese cuisine and is the oak gives to truffle a pale yellow appreciated throughout the world. colour tending to ochre, with redIt is the biggest among truffles (in brown spots, the poplar gives a very fact it can reach the size of an apple!), light colour, and the lime tree a rosy the most scented and the one with a colour.

The black truffle

( TuberMelanosporum), with its dark colour and the inner part crossed by light veins, is also scented but less fine.

The truffle called ‘scorzone’ (Tuber Aestivum) is one of the most common but less fine truffles; except for a short period in spring, it grows in abundance all year round.

Funghi - Mushrooms The area of the Curone, Grue and Ossona Valleys is one of the most appreciated in the province of Alessandria for ‘porcini’ mushroom hunting, this is the most known, fine and refined variety. Mushrooms are picked from spring to autumn; the main varieties are: Caesar’s mushroom, light-coloured ‘porcino’, brown ‘porcino’, summer ‘porcino’, black or bronze ‘porcino’, honey mushroom, red, dark and black Leccinum aurantiacum, chanterelle, Grifola Frondosa (hen-of-the-woods), lingua di brughiera or piede di capra (Albatrellus pes-caprae). They can be eaten both fresh or dry, and represent one of the main ingredients of the local cuisine in all restaurants of the area.

Castagna - Chestnut The fruits of the chestnut tree, called in ancient times ‘the tree of bread’, represented for several decades the basic food for the inhabitants of the hills and mountains of the province. In the upper Grue Valley chestnut woods have been maintained and destined to the tiring chestnut harvesting, which is exclusively performed manually. Most of the harvest is used to produce

chestnut flour, while the remaining fruits are for fresh consumption. The chestnuts of Garbagna are idealfor making some specialities: the ‘castagnaccio’ (popular dessert prepared with chestnut flour based dough), chestnuts with rum, or chestnuts boiled in the milk and ice cream with a chestnut flavour. Tortona and its surroundings –Food & Wine

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Montebore cheese a Slow Food Presidium

Miele - Honey

In a few years the Montebore cheese, thanks to its originality, has become very popular. It is a fresh fat cheese, produced all year round. It is prepared with raw sheep milk or with mixed milk coming from the local breeds; its shape resembles a small castle ‘castellino’ (a conish trunk due to the overlaying and ‘welding’ of 3 to 5 moulds of various weights and decreasing diameters, shaped as a castle), it has an ‘old times’ taste, and can be eaten fresh (24 hours after salting), soft, semi-mature (15 days), ripe (it can be grated) or ‘cmudò’, (a traditional dish, it consists in a batter made with leftover pieces of Montebore cheese mixed with white wine and stored in Ligurian olive oil). The Vallenostra cooperative has recovered at the end of the last century the traditional processing recipe from the last expert of dairy technique, Mrs. Carolina Bracco.

The valleys of the Tortona region are suitable for the bees breeding and the production of honey, since they are not polluted and rich in nectar plants. According to the different botanic origin honeys are different as per colour, consistence, aroma and flavour. They can be divided into two different cathegories: floral, produced with the nectar of a unique species and heterofloral (also known as multifowers), obtained from the combination of nectars coming from flowers of different species.

www.formaggiomontebore.it

Testa in cassetta (Boxed Pork Head) of the Curone Valley In the past in the area of the Curone Valley was produced the so-called ‘Testa in Cassetta’ (Boxed pork head), by using the edible and soft parts of the animal’s head. The itinerant sausage makers ‘insaccatori’, butchers or swine gelders, in winter were used to go to the different families’ to process the pork meat and make salami. Today its production, even if in smaller quantities, is made by some butchers and some families for private consumption. Over the years this typical dish changed from being a makeshift food to a rare delicacy. The classic ‘Testa in Cassetta’ is also listed among the traditional Piedmontese Agricultural and Food Products on a specific registry. The name comes from the type of packaging, in fact the ‘cassetta’ (box) is the container, once in soft wood, in which the mixture, previously inserted in the casing, is put in order to confer the product the typical squashed shape. Left in the box for one or two days, it does not need any ageing and is ready to be eaten.

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Traditional Agricultural and Food Products of Piedmont


Salame Nobile del Giarolo (Nobile del Giarolo Salami) A Slow Food Presidium Characterized by a coarsegrained mixture, with an flavoured taste, sweet and delicate, and an intense smell, it comes from an accurate ageing. This salami is produced in the territory included among the Curone, Grue, Ossona, Borbera and Spinti Valleys, by using exclusively the more noble parts of the pork. The animals come only from local farms or in any case they belong to the ‘Gran Suino Padano’ and are raised in a semi-wild state, with a controlled diet, without integrated feed or

antibiotics. The pork meat is processed with salt and peppercorns and flavoured with a typical infusion of garlic and red wine. Later the resulting salami paste is put into a natural sow casing, tied up with a thin string and let mature, in properly ventilated environments, for a period that can vary from four to eighteen months, depending on the size. When on the surface starts to form the characteristic white mould, the salami is perfectly aged. The Association for the protection of ‘Salame Nobile

del Giarolo’ was established in order to protect and enhance the peculiarities, the quality and the uniqueness of this product belonging to the history and the culture of the territory. The ‘Cucito’ (sewn salami) is certainly the finest variety. It requires a longer ageing Up to twenty-four months. Totally unrivalled its smell, the aroma, but above all its softness despite the long ageing. The ‘giarolini’ (a small variety of this salami), because of their smaller

size, are and were the first ones to age and to be consumed. They have the same paste and the same noble characteristics of the bigger salami, to keep the unique smell and a flavour.

www.salamenobilegiarolo.com

Carne all'Erba (Meat with herbs) It is the product of an integrated zootechnics between the farm maintenance and the natural resources of the earth, calves born and raised in this territory and exclusively bred out to pasture and fed with local food: furthermore, the whole chain is favoured by the typical climate conditions of the area, allowing to obtain exclusive qualitative parameters and inimitable organoleptic properties. The production is safeguarded by the Associacion for the Protection of the ‘Carne all'Erba del Giarolo-Parà-Ebro’, established in 2011. www.carneallerba.com Tortona and its surroundings –Food & Wine

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Traditional Dishes S

Anlot or Agnolotti (Ravioli) Agnolotti can be considered as a unique course, typical of important occasions of the past. It is a stuffed pastry. The sheet of pastry, which in ancient times was rolled out manually, is prepared with fine-ground flour, thickened with eggs and water. Inside there is a delicious stew beef filling, cooked on a slow fire by adding a full-bodied red wine. The first leaf of pastry is covered with another leaf and then cut with the serrated pastry cutter (or with the mould) in order to obtain small squares. The ‘anlot’ are usually served with the sauce of the same stew beef used to make the filling. It is also possible to taste them in stock or in wine. In some areas surrounding Tortona, there is another version of the ‘agnolotti’ with its filling and sauce made of stew donkey.

The typical ‘agnolotti’ from Cosola and Cabella Ligure are made of rice and milk, they are big and their filling consists of rice boiled in milk and flavoured with eggs, cheese and some spices, served with cheese and fresh cream.

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Zuppa di Ceci (Chickpea Soup)

Like in many other places in northern Italy, the tradition says that this soup should be prepared on 2nd November, the day of the Commemoration of the dead; it is flavoured with the garlic from Molino dei Torti, the onion from Castelnuovo Scrivia, sage and is cooked together with pork rinds and/or trotters. It is usually served with croutons. It is a nourishing and tasty dish, ideal on cold winter days.


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Malfatti - Dumplings

It is a first course made with Swiss chards, eggs and Parmesan cheese. It is typical from the Curone Valley, above all in the village of Momperone, wherethe inhabitants have been preparing this delicacy for ages both for private consumption and on the occasion of local festivals. The traditional recipe, even if several versions are usually made, has been handed down from mother to daughter and says that the ‘Malfatti’ should be served with melted butter and sage.

Trippa (Tripe)

A second course made with soft and slightly fat beef meat, it is marinated for 24 hours with vegetables (garlic, celery, carrot, and onion) spices (laurel, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg) and a full-bodied red wine (local Barbera). It is an ideal dish to serve with ‘polenta’ made with ‘Ottofile’ corn or with mash prepared with the potatoes of Castenuovo Scrivia and it is the typical filling for the traditional ‘agnolotti’ or ‘anlot’ (ravioli) and the sauce with which they can be served.

It is a traditional dish typical of several Italian regions. It is prepared with offal taken from different parts of the stomach of bovines, it requires a long cooking during which it takes the right softness, by becoming impregnated with the spices conferring it a tasty flavour. The ‘buseca’, as it is named in the area of Tortona, represents a second course typical of the folk cuisine, it consists of tripe, ‘fagiolane bianche’ (white climbing beans) of the Borbera Valley, tomato sauce, carrots, celery and spices, it is usually prepared in winter. Once it was cooked on the occasion of the village festivals and fairs.

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Panissa (typical dish made with rice) The name ‘panissa’ means two different kinds of dishes of the Italian cuisine: the Ligurian ‘panissa’ is made with chickpea flour, and the Piedmontese one is a kind of ‘risotto’. The latter is a very popular dish, even if with some variations in the ingredients, in the provinces of Vercelli and Novara. It is also typical of the upper Curone Valley, where in the past some seasonal workers in the rice-fields of Vercelli ‘imported’ this recipe.

Ajà

(a sauce made with garlic, walnuts and butter) A typical dish exclusively coming from the area of Tortona. The tradition says the ‘Ajà’ should be prepared on the day when the new wine is extracted from the barrel. It consists of a sauce obtained by pounding in a mortar the walnut kernels, a lot of garlic from Molino dei Torti and butter. The sauce is served with the home-made tagliatelle. In order to reduce the calories of the dish it is possible to put less butter and add some good cream. The sauce is diluted right before adding the tagliatelle with some spoons of pasta cooking water. According to the tradition, this sauce is also served with ‘reginette’, a type of ribbon-shaped pasta, that are usually eaten at Christmas eve dinner and are called ‘fasce del bambino’ (the baby’s swaddling clothes). 82 Tortona and its surroundings – Food & Wine

Main ingredients: rice, onion from Castelnuovo Scrivia, ‘fagiolane bianche’ (white climbing beans) from the Borbera Valley or Borlotti beans, lard, salami or sausage paste and some small variations such as savoy, red wine, carrots, and celery.

Bagnet

A typical raw green sauce made with parsley, it is very soft and thick and is usually served with boiled meat; it is perfect with all kinds of meat, with boiled potatoes or as a starter. In some villages there is also a red version of this sauce obtained by adding some tomatoes, however this version is cooked for a long time on low heat. In both versions the ingredients are finely minced with a blender or, as the tradition suggests, on a pastry board with a steel mincing knife in order not to remove too much fibers from the ingredients, above all from parsley, and to keep the scent unaltered.


Baci di dama The Baci di Dama (Lady’s kisses) from Tortona, have been prepared for more than one and a half century by the artisanal pastry chefs of Tortona, they boast unique fragrant and exquisite characteristics. The original recipe suggests the use of almonds, which are more expensive and more difficult to find than hazelnuts. This is one of the peculiarities that have always characterized the production of the ‘Baci’ and represents a quality signal. The product does not contain preservatives and but is packaged in such a way that the fragrance is maintained for at least four months. Currently, the processing methods are the same that were handed out over the years, and respect the original recipe. The version ‘Baci dorati’ (golden kisses), with an ovoidal shape and a golden wrapper, suggests to add chocolate also in the dough. These delicious sweets, have been mentioned several times by the most successful Italian gourmet guides, they can be a perfect and appreciated gift and can be tasted on any occasion and at any time of the day.

"Bragton" and "Busela" Typical sweets of the Christmas period made with shortcrust pastry or sweet hard pastry, with the shape of puppets – ‘bragton’ reminds a male figure, with trousers (‘braghe’ in dialect) and ‘busela’, a female figure with a skirt – in the past they were given to kids at Christmas since lots of families could not afford other presents. This tradition, that partially fell into disuse, is coming back into fashion and during the Christmas period it is not unusual to see in the backers’ windows these funny biscuits wrapped up in cellophane and decorated with ribbons.

Gazzosa (Fizzy soft drink) Founded by Angelo Abbondio in 1889, the ‘Premiata Fabbrica Bibite Gassate’ has been one of the first Italian companies making drinks. They are secret and original recipes, prepared with natural ingredients, carefully selected for their quality and for the total absence of artificial colouring agents, that have been awarded several official prizes, generation after generation. Tortona is known for its three ‘gazzose’: white, red, and green. The ‘Bianca’ (white ‘gazzosa’) is made with five varieties of Sicilian lemons expertly dosed to obtain a balanced taste and with some extra-fine sugar, while the Rossa (red ‘gazzosa’), still represents the soft drink par excellence of Tortona and its surroundings, and is made up of more than ten different essences, conferring a bitter aroma to the drink, halfway between ginger ale and bitter, the Verde (green ‘gazzosa’) is made up of three different varieties of Piedmontese mint mixed according to a secret recipe; the result is an intense, fresh and unique taste. Tortona and its surroundings –Food & Wine

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D.O.C. Local Wines

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The wines produced here are regulated by a Set of Wine Production Regulations ‘Denominazione di Origine Controllata’ or ‘DOC’ ‘ (registered designation of origin) COLLI TORTONESI’. (Official Gazette No. 253 of 29th October Tortona and its surroundings – Food & Wine 2011)

The area of Tortona appears to its visitors as a varied landscape, with its gentle hills that become high peaks (such as Giarolo, Ebro and Chiappo). Going up from Tortona along the main routes, a series of tilled fields, vineyards and orchards better represent the natural prosecution of the Po Valley than the mountain chain of the Lower Piedmont, where the Alps go downand towards the Apennines. With a DOC surface of over 1,000 hectares the sunny hilly ridges lying to the south-east of Tortona, represent the third vine cultivated area of the Province of Alessandria as for extent. The soil, which is varied both from a composition and colour point of view, is optimal everywhere to grow vineyards. The registered designation of origin (DOC) finds its roots in the high oenological culture of the Tortona area, where vineyards are small-sized but grown with great passion.


White Wines Timorasso

Cortese

Favorita

Moscato

In the wide and prestigious wine-growing and producing panorama of the hills surrounding Tortona, the white wine Timorasso definitely represents one of the most appreciated varieties of this area. It is a local high quality white-grape variety grown in the Curone, Grue, Ossona, and Borbera Valleys. In this area the vine finds a good habitat thanks to the soil, the long exposure to the sun, and the position protected from the wind. The Timorasso has been produced since time immemorial, however only recently, around the end of the Eighties, the local wine growers restarted to plant this kind of vine that reaches the full maturation after the first half of September. Its production is currently limited but of high quality. The wine obtained from this vine is well-structured, its colour is straw-yellow more or less intense, the aroma is distinctive and fragrant and the flavour is fresh and well-proportioned with its evolution.

This vite prefers special soils and a not too humid climate. It is a wine that can be savoured at a younger age, however it is also good after a short ageing and can be submitted to the sparkling process to obtain an excellent product.

On the hills of Tortona the production of this grapes had almost disappeared in favour of the red-grape variety, however its growing has been recently restarted and the results obtained are encouraging.

Suitable to the climate of the Tortona hills, Moscato vines have been present in this territory for over two centuries.

Colour Straw-yellow more or less intense. Aroma Distinctive and fragrant. Flavour Quite structured and harmonic. Alcohol content Minimum alcoholic content: 12% Food matches Hot and fresh appetisers, pasta (also savoury) and white meat-based dishes served alone or with legumes and vegetables. If aged, it is specifically recommended with ripe and strong Cheese and can also be used as a wine of meditation.

Colour Light straw-yellow, with greenish reflections. Aroma Delicate, pleasant, persistent, with a little fruity aroma. Flavour Dry, fresh, lively, with a little almond flavour. Alcohol content Minimum alcoholic content: 10% Food matches Cortese wine is specifically recommended with light appetizers, pasta and fish-based dishes. It is also recommended with white meats served with different sauces and rice whisked with the same Cortese. The sparkling ‘frizzante’ and ‘spumante’ varieties are specifically recommended with all kinds of meal from appetizers to dessert.

Colour Straw-yellow more or less intense. Aroma Delicate, distinctive. Flavour Dry, harmonic and sometimes sparkling. Alcohol content Minimum alcoholic content: 10% Food matches Appetizers, fish-based and cold-meat based dishes, such as veal with tuna sauce, chicken salads and dishes made of dressed vegetables such as Russian salad.

Colour Straw or golden yellow, more or less intense. Aroma Distinctive and sweetsmelling. Flavour Sweet, aromatic, sometimes sparkling, typical of Moscato grapes. Alcohol content Minimum alcoholic content: 11% Food matches Alone or mixed with other fruity cocktails, is specifically recommended with the aperitif. Excellent with chocolatebased desserts and strong cheese such as ‘gorgonzola’ or medium ripe cheese.

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I “Rossi"

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Barbera

Dolcetto

Croatina

Considered as a common wine for a long time, today Barbera can boast an excellent quality able to meet the needs of the most refined palate. The ridges around Tortona are full of this vines, with their garnet red bunches with little, sweet and juicy grapes.

It is an early wine, and can be tasted precociously even in the spring following the grape harvest, but if the alcoholic content is high, the aroma is fullbodied and it is made with the maceration on the longest peels, it becomes a high quality wine.

It is a vine that is cultivated on calcareous-clayey lands, with scarce humidity and a good exposition to

Colour Bright ruby red, which become more and more light with aging. Aroma Pleasantly winy, persistent and distinctive. Flavour Fresh, dry, savoury and sometime lively, which becomes full-bodied, round and harmonic with aging. Alcohol content Mimimum alcoholic content: 11.5% Food matches Recommended with starters made up of salumi and cured meat, with pasta, ‘risotto’, stewed meats, boiled meats, oasted red meats such as beef, lamb, and duck,medium ripe cheese.

Colour Ruby red, with purple reflections more or less evident, but always intense. Aroma Distinctive, with a pleasant winy taste, sometimes fruity. Flavour Dry, quite full-bodied, harmonic, with a pleasant bitterish aftertaste. Alcohol content Minimum alcoholic content: 10,5% Food matches It is specially recommended with pasta with light sauces, white meat, salami and cured meats and quite ripe cheese. If more aged Dolcetto is recommended with savoury dishes, braised meats and very ripe cheese.

Tortona and its surroundings – Food & Wine

Colour Red with different shades, from pure red to intense ruby red. Aroma Intense and winy, with a distinctive taste. Flavour Dry, savoury and full-bodied, a little tannic and sometimes sparkling. Alcohol content Minimum alcoholic content: 12% Food matches It is recommended with dishes and appetizers not containing fish, with white meat, pies and medium ripe cheese. It is also excellent with strong dishes such as the typical pasta with ‘ajà’.


Freisa

Chiaretto

It is a rustic vine with a timehonoured tradition: the first documentation of this grape variety date back well to five centuries ago. From a genealogical point of view it is a ‘close relative’ of the more famous Nebbiolo, the leading grapes of Piedmont, but its tannic composition is much more marked and confers to the wine a pleasant fruity aroma with raspberry and rose scents, a characteristic that is enhanced in the production of slightly sparkling wines. At least two varieties have been documented: the ‘Freisa Piccola’, less productive and more suited to hilly areas, and the ‘Freisa Grossa’, more productive but qualitatively less valuable. Their good colour quality and structure also allows the production of still wines which are sometimes moderately aged.

It is a rosé wine ‘intentionally’ produced with D.O.C. red grapes, which means that are performed specific complex techniques that can be grouped into three different categories: the racking off, the direct pressing and the carbonic maceration. The rosé wine making shall guarantee some fundamental peculiaries, since it has to preserve the intensity of the aroma and the flavour persistence, that is very tasteful. Since this variety of wine tends to lose the distinctive aromatic freshness and the pleasant taste of flowers and fruits, it is recommended to taste it within a short time.

Colour Ruby red tending to garnet red. Aroma Distinctive, delicate. Flavour From dry to sweet, sometimes slightly sparkling. Alcohol content Minimum alcoholic content: 11%. Food matches Pasta with meat sauces, red or white meat prepared with the several traditional recipes. It is excellent with salami and cured meat, ‘agnolotti’ and seasoned ‘polenta’.

Colour Rosé or light ruby red. Aroma Winy, delicate and pleasant. Flavour Dry, harmonic and sometimes slightly sparkling. Alcohol content Minimum alcoholic content: 10%. Food matches The Chiaretto rosé wine is excellent with different food varieties, but since it is a smooth wine it is specially suitable with fresh ‘tagliatelle’, stewed fish, salmon with vegetables, and white meat.

Tourism and Events Office Municipality of Tortona Photo references: Armando Bergaglio Carlo Balduzzi CAI Tortona Pier Luigi Casanova-La Pietra Verde Association Mela Cocozza Flash 2000 - Viguzzolo Marco Mandirola Nonsolobike Tortona Raffaele Vaccari The Municipalities of the Tortona Area Organisation: Studio De Bernardi Novi Ligure Tourist map: Claudio De Bernardi Translation: Manuela Xillovich Print: Modulgrafica Forlivese Forlì

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CittĂ di Tortona

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