Monferrato is a historic region of Piedmont, located mostly in the province of Alessandria. Originally, the Marquisate of Monferrato was an ancient state of southern Piedmont from 1575.
It was located between the current provinces of Alessandria, Asti, Turin and Pavia. For this reason, sometimes very far from the ‘classic’ Monferrato there are still places which have the name Monferrato.
Today, the Monferrato area has boundaries to the south by the Tanaro, Belbo and Bormida courses. To the north, it borders with the Po River. Monferrato Casalese and Alto and Baso Monferrato Astigiano all belong to the Monferrato of Acqui, Ovada and Gavi.
Gaining World Heritage Status
On June 1, 2006, the bid for heritage status arrived in Paris. It was put forward by a team made up of the local provinces of Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo. It aimed to include the territories of Monferrato degli Infernòt, Barbera and Asti Spumante. Langhe, Roero and Valtellina too were to be given UNESCO World Heritage status.
On June 22, 2014, during the 38th session of the UNESCO committee in Doha, Monferrato joined the list of World Heritage Sites together with Langhe and Roero.
The Underground World of Monferrato
The most original feature of Monferrato is also the least visible, Piedmont’s hidden gems lie underground. It has an interesting architectural heritage, and over time these have become real ‘underground cathedrals’. These span the whole city and sink down into the heart of the rocky hills, creating magical environments.
These are true masterpieces of engineering and underground architecture, and their origins are unknown. The current cellars date from the nineteenth century following the boom in wine production in the area.
They were built by expanding kilometers of tunnels and galleries dug directly into the hills. In the aisles of the underground cathedrals some of the most delicious Italian wines rest and age for centuries. This is thanks to the constant temperature of 12-14 degrees.
Sweet and dry sparkling wines were born for the first time here a century and a half ago. There are three underground cathedrals that are open to the public, linked to as many wineries. The first houses the historic 190-year-old Bosca cellars.
Here, visitors can go underground, and room after room the tour unfolds, all the way to a large room dedicated to art and music.
Other Places To Visit Near Piedmont
Visitors should not miss the two UNESCO heritage sites: the hills and the infernot where 59 underground cellars have been surveyed in total. There are also many picturesque villages, included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Cella Monte, for example,where the Pietra da Cantone Ecomuseum can also be visited.
The park and sanctuary of the Sacro Monte di Crea is a UNESCO Heritage site too. It is a place of spiritual pilgrimage for centuries. It has a devotional path dedicated to the Rosary, consisting of 23 chapels and 5 hermitages.
The cities in the Piedmont area are also full of charm. The tour in Monferrato starts from Casale, the regional capital. The term is only an honorary title, but it is also historical testimony. Between the 15th and 16th centuries it became the capital of the Marquisate of Monferrato. Thanks to the Gonzagas, it became one of the most notable centers in Europe.
Among the most important cities of Monferrato there is also Acqui Terme. It’s healing thermal springs and historical relics date from the Roman era. Alessandria too was a provincial capital, a fortress city full of charming palaces and the home of the famous Borsalino hat.
If you wish to Visit Piedmont and all its treasures including the postcard city of Turin, get in touch with our travel consultants today and start building your trip. We recommend incorporating this region with the natural mountainous wonders in Valle D’Aosta and the coast of Liguria where you can visit the iconic Cinque Terre.