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Borghi delle Rocche - MONTA' D'ALBA



The presence already in the Roman period of an important access road departing from the ascent (the montata fangi) and the ancient findings attest a remote interest for the area. Around the year 1000, there was the beginning of the creation of the “villa” (between the eighteenth-century bell tower and the ancient parish), whereas in the nearby other settlements were forming (Morinaldo, Desaia, Laione, Turriglie, Tuerdo) along with the relative cemetery church and its own territory. However, all changed during the half of ‘200, when the Municipality of Asti, desiring to destroy the opponents (particularly the Counts Biandrate) with the purpose of keeping open the commercial roads, overturned the whole area. In 1257, the above mentioned decentered settlements were wholly or partially destroyed or become depopulated: inhabitants were forced to converge to the “villanova”, which extends itself as a fan from the ancient villa and wherein converged also the exiles of Anterisio who did not want to move to the “villanova” of the near Canale. In 1363 the fief of Montà was purchased by Roero family, who in 1440 sold it to Malabaila family of Asti. After the extinction of this last family, it reached at the end of ‘500 the Isnardi of Sanfré and at the end of ‘600 the Parella family of S.Martino. After them, it changed to Wilcardel and for a half to Falletti families of Barolo. The inhabited area suffered many times owing to the wars, but the most severe event happened on July 7th, 1691: five thousand soldiers of the French general Catinat reached the village and for reprisal they ransacked and set to fire all the houses. This event is commemorated during the Town festival of September held each year in the village.


The Rocche, a 32 km fracture passing through the smooth landscape of Roero hills from Bra to Cisterna d’Asti. An unusual geological phenomenon due to the erosion which dated back to time immemorial but still continues nowadays and influences the life of man. A naturalistic heritage which can be discovered thanks to the Trails network of Roero: ring routes which deepen the themes of the local cultural identity.

The Church of S.Antonio Abate and the Castle. At the upper end of the villa there is the ancient parish, dedicated to the Saint, already described in 1585 as a church having three naves, without the bell tower because bells were positioned on the near civic tower. In 1650 the Isnardi family commissioned huge restorations, whereas the facade was rebuilt in 1814. The inside is sumptuously decorated and embellished. From the square of the ancient parish, it can be seen the outer side of the Castle, which was constructed by Roero family in 1363 and restored by Isnardi family in 1647 with the addition of the current façade and the gallery. Nowadays the castle and the park are private areas.

The Civical tower. It is located near the ancient portal of the villa and was made by Asti after 1257 for symbolizing a new community, not anymore depending upon the local lords. Behind the tower there is a suggestive panoramic balcony.

The Santuario dei Piloni. In the small town of Laione, at the borders with S.Stefano Roero, there is the ancient worship site of the Roman period. The place and the underlying valley are known as Valdiana (Vallis Dianae), an area characterized by woods and recesses already consecrated to the hunting goodness in the Pagan period. The Church was mentioned already in ‘400, restored many times after that period and shows in the late Romanic façade two marble faces from the Roman period and the lateral walls preserve signs of a 13th-century brick decoration. A path flanked by chapels of the Via Crucis (the beginning shrines are cited starting from 1774 and were rebuilt in 1897 with an hexagonal shape), brings up to the S.Sepolcro, within which a 17th-century statuary group representing the Lamented Death of dead Christ concludes the suggestive devotional route.

Curiosity. At the entrance of the village arriving from Alba, it can be noticed on the building on the right of the road, a big painted head of Benito Mussolini realized in 1936. A study has attested it as the most significant colored example of fascist iconography survived in Piedmont.


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