What to see
There’s culture around every corner, with museums, castles, churches and ancient mansions. The area will surprise you with its riches. Choose among our suggestions the one that’s closest to your idea of discovery.
Villages and cities
All around there are wonderful cities and villages starting precisely with Vignale Monferrato, which stands atop one of the highest hills in the Monferrato area; its old town centre, dominated by a medieval tower and by Palazzo Callori, the 15th century home of a noble family, is visited by tourists from all over the world during the summer for its famous “Vignale Danza” festival.
Less than 20 minutes drive away, Casale Monferrato is the feather in the cap of this historico-geographically important region and full of monuments and places of interest.
Continuing westwards, there is the city of Asti, known by the Ancient Romans as Hasta Pompeia it is renowned worldwide above all for its wines and spumante and its throbbing heart is Piazza Alfieri.
The old town centre of the village of San Marzanotto, a ward of Asti, is perched on a high hill, looking down the entire Tanaro valley, which it towers over with its Belangero castle.
The village of Nizza Monferrato, a few kilometres away, has UNESCO World Heritage listing for its landscapes and Barbera wine, and the most ancient area of the village has a unique triangular layout! Definitely not to be missed.
The twelve alleys of Montemagno run out like the spokes of a wheel and are still indicated with Roman numbers. A small gem, Montemagno is a “must” as a destination.
Albugnano, known as “the balcony of the Monferrato region” for its height of 549 metres, is completely immersed in vineyards.
Alessandria, the province’s major city, greets visitors with its huge Piazza della Libertà, numerous churches, large mansions, historical military architecture and lastly, outside the city centre, one of Italy’s largest monumental trees, Napoleon’s plane.
The Piedmont region is has countless castles, fortresses and mansions. Through time, almost all have bee restored to their original ancient splendour, without in any way loosing the fascination of the past centuries. We indicate some that can be visited and are open to the public in the vicinity, such as the Rocca di Verrua Savoia, a fortification standing on the banks of the Po, which to this day indicates the border between the provinces of Turin and Vercelli. Numerous sieges have not tarnished its impressive nature.
Acqui Terme has its Paleologi Castle, whose name comes from that of the noble family that became its owners in 1340 and converted it into a military fortress. The Castle now hosts a botanic garden and Acqui Terme’s Archaeological Museum. Forte di Gavi is another military fortress and is located on the ancient road that connected Genoa with the Monferrato region and Lombardy. With a magnificent structure, the Fort is currently entrusted to Italy’s Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, who is responsible for its restoration and activities.
The Castle of Bergamasco, a municipality close to the Monferrato hills, completes your trip with the charming atmosphere of its garden full of wistaria, roses and age-old lime trees and yews.
For museum lovers, there’s plenty to see, starting from the Museo Civico di Casale Monferrato which hosts notable works by 17th century Flemish, Lombard and Ligurian painters, 15th century Monferrato artists, Alessandria’s Angelo Morbelli, the eclectic Leonardo Bistolfi and much more.
The Marengo Museum of Spinetta Marengo is the first multimedia museum completely dedicated to a historical event, while Mombercelli’s MUSarMO (Museo Civico di Arte Moderna) proudly hosts works by contemporary Italian artists such as Paulucci, Benetton, Guglielminetti and Oriani, as well as organizing temporary exhibitions with works by emerging artists. For history buffs, there is the Asti’s Risorgimento Museum, with exhibits datable from 1797 to 1870 and three floors on which to discover all the collections. Then there is the extremely interesting Borsalino Hat Museum in Alessandria, named after the local company that has been a landmark of style for the last 150 years, which hosts examples of all the headwear manufactured by the factory from 1857, the year of its foundation, up to the present day.