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Piedmont , Langhe, Monferrato and Alba

Piedmont region

Piedmont Region

Set in the heart of Europe, Piedmont is one of the twenty Italian regions. It has an area of 25,399 km2 and a population of about 4.4 million, the capital is Turin one of the largest city of northern Italy. Piedmont is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, including Monviso (Mont Vis), where the Po river rises, and Monte Rosa. It borders Switzerland, France and the Italian regions of Lombardy, Liguria, Aosta Valley and for a very small part with Emilia Romagna.

In early historic times Piedmont was inhabited by Celtic-Ligurian tribes such as the Taurini and the Salassi. They were later submitted by the Romans (c. 220 BC), that founded several colonies including Augusta Taurinorum (Turin) and Eporedia (Ivrea). After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the region was repeatedly invaded by different barbarian tribes.

Piedmont position in Italy

In 1046, Oddo of Savoy added Piedmont to the main territory of Savoy. Other areas such as Asti, Alessandria, the marquisates of Saluzzo and Montferrat remained independent. The County of Savoy was elevated to a duchy in 1416, and the seat was moved to Turin in 1563. In 1720, the Duke of Savoy became King of Sardinia, founding the basis of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and increasing Turin's importance in Europe. The Republic of Alba was created in 1796 but it was disordered and badly organized, so it had a short life.

Monferrato region

Piedmont was an initial springboard for Italy's unification in 1859-1861. The House of Savoy became Kings of Italy, and Turin briefly became the capital of Italy. However, the addition of territory paradoxically reduced Piedmont's importance to the kingdom, and the capital was moved to Florence, and then to Rome. One remaining recognition of Piedmont's historical role was that the crown prince of Italy was known as the Prince of Piedmont. After the WWII Piedmont has had firstly a demographic boom and then a demographic decline. Now is one of the regions of Republic of Italy, and it’s very famous for the group FIAT and for its truffles.

An important part of Piedmont are surely "The Langhe". The Langhe (Langa from old dialect Mons Langa et Bassa Langa) is a hilly area to the south and west of the river Tanaro in the province of Cuneo. This region is very famous for  its wines, cheeses, and truffles—particularly the white truffles of Alba. The countryside as it was in the first half of the 20th century features prominently in the writings of Beppe Fenoglio and Cesare Pavese, who was born here, in Santo Stefano Belbo.

San Marzano Oliveto

San Marzano Oliveto

San Marzano Oliveto is located at 300 meters above sea level. It is easily visible from the SS6 road that runs from Canelli to Asti. The town rises on a steep hill and this peculiar geographic location probably gives the name to the town itself.
San Marzano was named after St. Marcian of Tortona, the first Bishop of Tortona, who was martyred in 2nd century by the Roman emperor Hadrian. The epithet “Oliveto” probably comes from the local dialect the expression “ò rive” means slope. Another hypothesis about the origin of the town’s name is that “Oliveto” (olive grove) comes from the cultivation of olives practiced by Ligurian population until the Late Middle Ages.
The landscape of San Marzano Oliveto reminds the hilltop villages of Tuscany and Umbria with its almost mystical calm, an irresistible attraction for foreigners. In the countryside surrounding the area there are many apple orchards and vineyards as well as ploughlands.
In the town there five churches, one in the center of the town named after Saint Marzano and the other four rural churches in the surrounding: Sant’Antonio, San Rocco, Santissima Annunziata and Santa Libera. The town nowadays it’s also famous for its white truffles that can be found on the hills surrounding the area.

Alba - Truffles' Capital


Alba is an Italian town located in Piedmont, , in the province of Cuneo. It is considered the capital of White Truffle and it’s also famous for peach and wine production. Alba's origins date before the Roman civilization, connected probably to the presence of Celt and Ligurian tribes in the area. The town is on the site of the ancient Alba Pompeia, probably founded by the Roman consul Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo while constructing a road from Aquae Statiellae (Acqui) to Augusta Taurinorum (Turin).
After the fall of Roman Empire Alba was invaded by Lombards and then by Saracens. In the 11th century it become a free commune (or city-state) and was a member of the Lombard League. Montferrat and the Visconti fought over the town; later it became a possession of the House of Gonzaga. Charles Emmanuel I of Savoy conquered it twice, while later France and Spain battled for its possession. The Treaty of Cherasco assigned Alba definitively to Savoy.
Alba won a Gold Medal for Military Valour for the heroic activity of its citizens in the Italian resistance movement during the course of World War II. In October 1944 the town was liberated by partisans who established a Republic of Alba which for a few weeks was able to maintain its independence from the Fascist Republic of Salò.

Alba International Truffle Fair

White Truffle Magnatum Pico Photo

From 1945 the “Alba International White Truffle Fair” is the most important event in the town and receives visitors from every part of the world. The origins of the fair can be found in the “Esposizione Agraria Industriale” (Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition) of 1903 attended by many important guests like Victor Emmanuel III. In 1922 the exposition grew under the patronage of People's Party and following this success in 1929 the first big truffle fair was organized. The name of that event was "Fiera mostra campionaria a premi dei rinomati Tartufi delle Langhe" (Langhe Truffles Fier) and on that occasion special trains from Genoa, Milan and Turin were scheduled.
Following this success, during the thirties the town council founded an institution to make it a permanent fair and its importance grew annually until the outbreak of WWII. From 1940 to 1942 the Truffles’ Fair lasted only 3 days and it was eventually suspended. After the end of the war the fair was reestablished on October 20, 1945. That year the fair lasted 3 days and it was attended by Major Gardner, Captain Dickens and Lieutenant Moseley. From that time on the fair expanded and nowadays the it’s one of the most important of Italy.

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