Piemonte's Le Langhe: Embracing All Five Senses

Life in Italy has been turned upside down many times over the centuries, but the ancient landscapes never seem to change. In the UNESCO World Heritage area, Langhe Monferrato Roero (aka “Le Langhe”), in southern Piemonte, it seems the lush vineyards have been in place since the beginning of time. 

But, the past here can be interrupted by the present, with flashes of geometric neon colors peeking through the endless green. Thinking we’d come just for the wine and food, we discovered Le Langhe’s art scene, beginning with the outdoor installations of David Tremlett.

The Reva Wine Resort in Monforte d’Alba is surrounded by vineyards and a pitch and putt golf course, and offers 12 rooms, including two suites.

An easy trip from Milan, Le Langhe can be a fine place to steal away for a week (or two) to savor fine wines and truffles, play golf, and explore undiscovered art and culture. (For foodies, a fact: Piemonte is home to almost 50 Michelin-starred ristoranti).

We based ourselves at Reva Wine Resort in Monforte d’Alba, where there are 12 rooms, including two suites, and the Michelin-starred Fre, the on-site ristorante ([email protected]). Chef Yannick Alleno, known around the world for his collection of Michelin stars, brings French, Italian and world cuisine to Fre. 

The Reva Wine Resort in Monforte d’Alba

Surrounded by green — vineyards and a pitch & putt golf course — the resort also offers a spa, which was created in the old cellars of the estate. The bedrooms are spacious, simple and restful, with high caliber linens and furnishings, most with views across the vineyards through French doors. The two suites, which each sleep three guests, are in an adjacent building with separate verandas overlooking the landscape.

Reflecting the culture of the owner, Miroslav Lekes, and his wife, gallerist Petra Lekesova, the property is decorated with Czech art from her Adam Gallery in Brno. The Reva winery produces territorial wines, including Barolo, Dolcetto d’Alba, and Nebbiolo. The word reva, it turns out, means grape in Czech. 

The Reva Wine Resort in Monforte d’Alba

Daniele Scaglia is the GM and Valeria Necchio ([email protected]; 011-39-351-906-0656) is the marketing/communications director.

Not far away, in the direction of the renowned Slow Food town of Bra, is Palas Cerequio. The Barolo Cru resort offers nine suites, four located on the piano nobile of the old manor house and called the Suites of the Past. Each of the suites is named after a different Barolo cru and include vineyard views, steam baths and sitting areas. The Suites of the Future include the same amenities, but are slightly larger and decorated in Italian contemporary style. Some can be connected to offer additional guest space.

Palas Cerequio is a relais dedicated to Barolo, one of the most prestigious wines in the world. 

Palas Cerequio’s 17th-century cellars are called the Temple of Barolo. There is a wide variety of important wines to taste in the hotel cave, or, a food/wine apericru can be arranged at chef Francesco Oberto’s ristorante, Da Francesco a Palas. For more information about the hotel, travel advisors can contact Erika Gandino ([email protected]).

The Caveau of Cerequio at Palas Cerequio has a collection of over 6,000 bottles.

Yet another of the boutique hostelries in this area is the Relais San Maurizio near Santo Stefano Belbo, originally opened as a monastery in 1619. Here in a cavernous open gallery are stunning murals painted by David Tremlett. Carlos Cardona ([email protected]) is the front of house manager.

The Suites of Past at Palas Cerequio have the feel of 18th-century noble houses in Piemonte.

Rooms and suites occupy the old monks’ cells, the stable, and the original sacristy. The Cloister Suite is a two-bath suite for four guests and a small private garden overlooks what is said to be the oldest arbutus tree in Piemonte; the two-floor Sacristy Suite also accommodates four guests. The double suite within the stables offers a large canopy bed and original Langhe stone ceilings. Nearby, the Villa San Luigi houses additional luxury suites and the Zaffiro Presidential Suite, with its outdoor Jacuzzi and fully equipped kitchen. For smaller groups, there is a variety of rooms and suites. The ristorante, Guido da Costigliole, has one Michelin star and the wine cellar boasts almost 3,000 bottles. The resort has a spacious spa built near the old salt caves.

The Suites of Future at Palas Cerequio have more contemporary design. 

Onward, between Benevello and Manera, is Villa d’Amelia and its Michelin-starred restaurant, Damiano Nigro. Chef Damiano has also developed a more informal dining spot, DaMa’, which is nice for lunch on the terrace in warm weather.

The villa houses 37 rooms and suites, including the San Damiano Suite above the property’s historic chapel, with Old World ambiance and a panoramic view. In contrast is the contemporary Attic Room penthouse, one bedroom with walk-in shower and large private terrace. There are also two deluxe suites with separate living rooms, walk-in showers and bathtub. Hint: One of these suites is on the ground floor, which could be a choice for guests wishing to avoid higher floors. For special requests, contact Mauro Tezzo ([email protected]), the director.

Relais San Maurizio originally opened as a monastery in 1619. Its rooms and suites occupy the ancient cells, original sacristy and historic stables. 

To follow up on art installations, here are some places to discover in Le Langhe:

David Tremlett’s work can be seen in Langa del Barolo at “Cappella del Barolo;” Langa del Moscato in Coazzolo; Langa del Cesare Pavese within Relais San Maurizio and Alta Langa in Serravalle Langhe. 

Relais San Maurizio

In Asti, there is the tapestry workshop of the Scassa family, the Arazzeria Scassa, which, in 1957, began to combine weaving with contemporary art. Their production includes work by Klee, Miro, Renzo Piano and many others. They were working on a custom design for a famous international company when we were there. Tours
are by appointment, contact [email protected].

Relais San Maurizio

For the adventuresome art lover, an afternoon trip to Lunetta 11 is well worth the drive. An art and music compound located near Mombarcaro in a restored borgo, Lunetta 11 specializes in new work in a rambling remote setting. It’s open everyday by appointment, contact [email protected]. (For the less intrepid, ask your hotel to arrange a local driver). 

The “Arazzeria Scassa” is a tapestry weaving mill in Asti. 

Despite the constellation of Michelin stars in the area, we recommend a couple of down-to-earth alternatives:  

Opt for homemade goodness with a picnic in the vineyards at Fratelli Durando. Called “Il Fagotto di Durando,” each guest receives a multitude of small courses wrapped in a linen tablecloth (fagotto). Afterwards, visit the family’s hazelnut roasting facility for an aromatic taste of fresh roasted nuts. Their website will have an English version in mid-2021. They will respond to WhatsApp messages via the website. 

LUNETTA 11, above and below, is an art and music compound located in a restored borgo. 

Ristorante Enoteca Canelli (Corso Liberta 65. [email protected]) is a family-run eatery with excellent local food in an evocative setting in the little town of Canelli. Of course, the local wines are as good as the meals. 

As travelers return to Italy, they will be seeking the ambiance of more tranquil, outdoor settings, such as Le Langhe, to refresh both mind and body.  Never boring, this area of Piemonte is a haven for those who love art, wine, fine food, and fresh air.

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