i-ItalyNY - 2014-06 - page 56

What’s the reason for the
Langhe’s success compared to
other nearby places?Why is
the Langhe prosperous and rich
while, for example, Monferrato,
in the province of Asti, is not?
“It’s true.When you get off the
turnpike inAsti, you pass poor
Monferrato where they sell
Barbera for next to nothing,
whereas we sell Barolo
for 30 Euros a liter.
They have
truffles, too,
but no one
knows
The Middle Ages being one
fundamental phase, as it was for
many Italian cities, especially in
the center and north.
“Right.That marked the beginning
of castles and municipalities.
There were 100 municipalities
in the Langhe, each with an
average of 1,000 inhabitants.
Every hilltop had a castle and
surrounding village.You can still
see many of them: Grinzane
Cavour, Barolo, Serralunga d’Alba,
Govone, Magliano Alfieri, Roddi,
Mango and Beneve. Agriculture
flourished.”
A little way away is Savoy, a
prominent territory since the
Middle Ages, now split between
France, Italy and Switzerland.
Savoy is the seat of the Savoy
dynasty, where the future kings
of Italy came from…
“The Savoys settled in the area
and built a castle in SantaVittoria
for vacations. In the mid 1800s
Carlo Alberto built his court
in Pollenzo. He created
the first prototype
of a farmstead. He saw
the enormous potential
in Piedmont’s cuisine and
agriculture. His son,Vittorio
Emanuele, the first King of Italy,
bought Fontanafredda and
settled there with his lover,
Bela Rosin.That was a thriving
period for the Langhe, too, up
untilWorldWar One.Then
came “
la malora
” (‘ruin’)”.
Tourism
Langhe
You’re referring to the title of
Beppe Fenoglio’s book. Fenoglio
was an important writer who
came from the Langhe. His home
in Alba is now a museum and
center for literary studies.
La Malora
(Ruin) is an
extraordinary novel. It begins:
“It was raining all over the
Langhe, and up in San Benedetto
my father was getting wet
underground for the first time.” So
it begins with the rain, with the
soil, with the death of his father.
And it recounts the hunger of
those times, the epidemics.The
population dwindled. Farming
dwindled. It didn’t take a turn for
the better till after the Second
WorldWar.”
And today we have a new
marvelous territory…
“I remember a lesson on change
held in Fontanafredda by Alain
Elkann. He read the first three
pages of
La Malora
, which takes
place about sixty years ago, and
then two pages from the Michelin
guide.What a contrast! In a span
of twenty kilometers around
Alba there are now 22
restaurants with Michelin
stars. And besides Barolo
and Barbaresco,
there’s another
big secret: white
truffles.”
about the truffles of Asti. It’s
chance. It depends on themen
born in a certain time in history.
In the Langhe we owe everything
to one person, Giacomo Morra.
He owned the Hotel Savona, the
first place in Italy to get a Michelin
star. In 1946 he found a truffle
weighing two and a half kilograms
and decided to give it as a gift
to PresidentTruman. It made
headlines around the world! In
1947 he gave one to Hitchcock,
then one to Sophia Loren, Brigitte
Bardot. Every year he gave one to
a big star.Around the world, the
white truffle became synonymous
withAlba.”
So the truffle is the first
ambassador of the Langhe?
“Yes, it put the Langhe on the
map. But we have a phenomenal
economy in all sectors. Ferrero
produces the world’s supply of
Nutella.There’s Miroglio, the
second biggest Italian apparel
firm.The Pallinis invented
Famiglia
Cristiana
, the second biggest
Italian weekly. Nowwe have
S
ince the time of Alba Pompeia—as the Romans knewAlba—the
historic center of the city has seen several successive cities
erected in the same place, one after another. The medieval city
sits on top of the Roman one.The modern city replaced (yet didn’t
destroy) the medieval one. And so on through the ages, down to
the present city, which was unwittingly shaped by the urban grid
of Alba Pompeia.
A
fter 2,000 years of being a city, a lot remains hidden under-
ground, just a few feet below the street, fragments of cities
that have preceded the present-day city, which have gone toward
creating the great collection in the Museum Eusebio, the Monu-
mental Archaeo-
logical Tour, and
numerous under-
ground tours.
T
ou r i s t s c an
take a fascinat-
ing guided tour led
by a professional
archaeologist and
discover the roots
of the city, including
the ancient temple,
the theater, the Ro-
man forum, the first
baptismal fountain
and the vanished
medieval towers.
UndergundAlba
Atourof theoriginsof thecity
56
|
i-
Italyny
|
June-July 2014
|
Langhe is the best place to eat in
Italy. We have the richest cuisine
and the best wines! Amenuwith
18 to 22 appetizers. Five
first courses, various
second courses,
and several
varieties of
cheeses.
The ancient Alba Pompeia
1...,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,53,54,55 57,58,59,60
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