crossing the River Po, the road that runs across southern Piedmont
from Turin towards the sea works is way through the mysteriuos
tangle of hills known as the Langhe. Geographically they lie between
the Ligurian Alps, the Monferrato area around Asti and the River
Tanaro, but their precise borders remain a moot point.
a distance it is not always easy to make out the houses and villages.
In the summer it is more soothing to dwell on the roundness of
the contours, accentuated by the lush swelling of the woods, vineyards
and fields of corn. In winter it is the turn of the brightness
of the snow to add to the disorienting effect of the rolling landscape,
while in spring and autumn a light mist seeps into the valleys,
blurring the heavily-outlined knolls.
inside, though, reveals - as the celebrated local writer Cesare
Pavese remarked - the infinity of details with wich nature and
agriculture have merged into a harmony that kindles peace, respect
The roads run along the ridges linking farmsteads, castels and
villages where the colour of the ploughed fileds reapperas in
the bricks used to build the houses.
endless series of hills owes its origins to the formation of the
land, which is clayey in the upper layers, and marly limestone
or even decidedly sandy underneath.
The surface and meteoric waters have flattened the crests - know
as langhe in the local dialect - and the sides of the hills with
ease, ofter carving out deep furrow.
local inhabitants of ancient times, who belonged to the prehistoric
Ligurian people and fought at length agains Roman colonisation
, where already known as langenses.
The history of the Langa largely reflects the history of Italy
itserlf: in 89 B.C. Alba and the Langhe became a Roman province,
and they remained such until the rout of the empire.
The region was then dominated in turb by the Visigoths, the Longobards
and Charlemagne's Franks, until Otto I's feudal regime at the
beginning of the millennium broke up the territory into a lot
of small possessions which were politically opposed to each other.
The Langhe were not united until 1700, under the Kingdom of Savoy.
Regardless of the historical events, however, the people of the
Langhe have always been joined spiritually - and this is what
strikes visitors still today - but the strenght and tenacity of
The men and women of this area have tilled, drained and cultivated
what would normally seem to be impossible land, and they have
faced an incredible succesion of historical and natural disasters
with the same determination, becoming strong, proud people with
a deeply-rooted culture in which every gesture, sign and thought
represents a scar left by their suffering.
distinction between the Upper and Lower Langhe is mainly due to
the altitude, which is higer in the south-west, and consequently
to the type of farming, which is more intensive and specialised
in the Lower Langhe (vines and cereals) and more extensive and
barren in the Upper Langhe (hazelnuts, chestnuts, woodland and
Diano d'Alba and Rodello, the heart and the soul for the "Azienda Mario
Giribaldi" production are to be found right in the center
of the Lower Langhe.