3 Artistic itineraries in the Langhe you must do
Let’s face it: many of us have rediscovered the gentleman thief Lupin with the new Netflix series. The protagonist, played by the talented Omar Sy, takes his inspiration from this fictional thief to uncover a hidden truth through ingenious methods and tricks, not to mention his truly enviable and chameleon-like disguises!
I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but watching the series, I wondered if Lupin would have managed to pull off a heist with his cunning and magical touch in the hills of Montferrat. Most likely he would have surprised me, but in this case the mission would have been arduous because these works of art are embedded in nature: is it possible to take away an entire plot of adorned land?
If these open-air museums hit the heart of Lupin, I know they might interest a connoisseur like you. Let’s go and discover them together!
Chris Bagle’s giant benches
American designer Chris Bagle’s first giant bench was built in Clavesana in 2009. Colourful and oversized, it is the perfect place to feel like a child again and admire the Langhe landscape. Over the years, the giant benches have spread throughout the area and have become a true non-profit project: the Big Bench Community Project supports local tourism and the excellent craftsmanship of Piedmont. Chris Bagle has succeeded in transforming an everyday object into a true work of art, capable of blending with the territory that hosts it and offering moments of serenity and light-heartedness to all visitors. It makes you want to organise a treasure hunt to discover all the Giant Benches in Piedmont.
Thanks to the giant benches, you can sit two metres above the ground and admire breathtaking landscapes.
The Giant Bench in the La Court Art Park is not to be missed. Among the vines that branch out into the hillside of the village of Castelnuovo Calcea, you will find a fairytale path dotted with works of art by Italian and internationally renowned artists. The paths can be visited freely and are dedicated to the four elements of fire, water, earth and air.
Close to the first giant bench built in Clavesana, there is a truly picturesque village with a curious architecture: Dogliani. Although small, it is so rich in history that it is considered the capital of the Langhe.
The local wine-growing tradition is best expressed in the Dolcetto grape variety, which has been present in this area since 1593: its name indicates the dense, sweetish pulp of the grape. Cristina and Alfonso of Ca Mamai cultivate this vine with extreme care, taking care to prune the vineyard by hand and to follow the traditional vinification process to obtain a prestigious final product.
An excellent wine for the whole meal, with a bouquet of flowers and fresh fruit and a dry, almondy flavour.
The Barolo Chapel in La Morra
If you spot a superbly coloured chapel in the vineyards of La Morra, you have found one of David Tremlett’s wall paintings: the Barolo chapel. Thanks to the Ceretto family, the chapel was renovated and decorated in 1999: David Tremlett did the interiors, while artist Sol LeWitt did the exteriors. Bright colours and geometric shapes communicate joy and serenity, and attract more than one hundred thousand tourists a year from all over the world.
Right here in La Morra, one of the eleven communes where Barolo is produced, we also find a work of wine art, the San Biagio winery, owned by the Roggero family: the family’s 80 hectares of land are part of the Grandi Vigne del Barolo.
From the heart of this hillside, the grapes from the historic Nebbiolo vines are harvested to produce Barolo Bricco San Biagio. A wine that strikes for its complexity of taste, for its spicy and balsamic notes and the pleasant aftertaste of liquorice and goudron.
The open-air museum of Camo
In the village of Camo, a hamlet of Santo Stefano Belbo, there are more works of art than inhabitants! Paintings, sculptures, frescoes, created from 2013 until today are just waiting to be discovered. Arm yourself with a camera and explore the open-air museum of Camo: you can enjoy many works of art for free, together with the most evocative views of the Langhe.
If earlier we made a toast to the Barolo Chapel with Barolo Bricco San Biagio, to conclude our journey in search of works of art perfectly immersed in nature, we would enjoy a glass of good Barbaresco. For the best of occasions I choose Montersino di San Biagio. But what is the difference between Barolo and Barbaresco? Both are made from the black grape variety, Nebbiolo, which is only grown in the lower Piedmont region. The difference is the specific communes from which these two different types of wine can be made: there are 11 communes that are granted DOCG status for Barolo, while there are only four for Barbaresco.
The Nebbiolo vine changes radically depending on the terrain in which it is found: having very long roots (reaching up to 7 metres in length), it retains the specific characteristics of each layer of soil.
The area in which Barolo is grown gives the bottle structure, longevity, richness and great harmony. Barbaresco gives rise to full, decisive, velvety, soft and pleasantly tannic wines.
Which of these open-air museums did you like best?
– Until next time, with love!