Bruno, July/August 2007

This was the main holiday, until it got re-planned by one of my clients.

Alice Bell Colle

I took Roger to see the belvedere at Alice in daylight, and to bag this panorama.

Alice Panorama

I also took him to visit the Cantina Sociale, where we saw the remarkable bulk wine sales kit:

Alice, wine pumps


While Christine and Anne shopped at Serravalle Scrivia, Roger and I went to see the Genoese fortress at Gavi, more famous for its white wine.

Fortress from below

The fortress dates from the 17th Century, although there have been fortifications on the hill for at least 1000 years.
At first, we thought we would only get to admire the surrounding countryside, because we walked all the way around without finding anything resembling an entrance.

Gavi, Madonna della Guardia

This, we later found out, is the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Guard, apparently a snook cocked at the Genoese, who are also devoted to this personification of the Virgin.

Gavi, towards Genoa

Gavi, towards Belforte Monferrato

Eventually, we discovered a small door, where a notice announced that we could visit the fortress in 20 minutes. We decided there was time to wait, at least until we could prove that the notice was a bluff. To our surprise, the door opened only 1 minute late. An enthusiastic guide let us in, and started to give us the full tour. The part of the fortress you can see from the road up to the hill was built by the greatest expert on fortifications of the 17th Century - Vicenzo da Fiorenzuola. A strange field for a Dominican friar!

Gavi, well hidden door

You can see that the Piedmontese (Gavi is now in Alessandria province) have beaten the swords if not into ploughshares, at least into vine trimming equipment.

Gavi, upper enceinte

The upper part of the fortress is still in restauro, so you can only visit the lower gallery, which was used as a storage area after the fortress became a prison, in the aftermath of the Treaty of Vienna.

Here an even better view of the valley towards the Scrivia.

Gavi, view to South East

Barolo region

We went for an exploration of the Langhe and Barolo region. Here we stopped in an unidentified town, to take in a old Benedictine monastery, now converted into ordinary housing.

Langhe, Anne Roger Christine

This appeared to be the old abbey church.

Langhe, old monastery

Eventually, we pitched up near Rodello, where Mossio produces the excellent wine of which we had enjoyed a bottle in the 2006 holiday.

Rodello, Panorama

Rodello is on the right hand side. On the left, I think, is Montelupo Albese. And on the way home, we stopped and had a drink in Neive, of course.

La Marigliana

To apologise to Christine for the disruption to our holiday caused by my client (I had to go to Munich twice in the second week), I took her for lunch to La Marigliana, at Castel Rocchero. It's quite a luxurious place.

Marigliana, Majolica Tables

Just visible in the bottom of my glass are the remains of the best Barbera I have ever drunk.

Marigliana, Pool

The view from the left hand side of this infinity pool is of Castel Rocchero, across the valley

Marigliana, Castel Rocchero

And then it was time to come home again :-(