Barolo is famously referred to as “the King of wines”, and where do Kings live? In a castle of course! In the Barolo region of Piedmont, there are countless medieval hilltop villages with impressive castles that live up to the name of the area’s most famous product. So, we’ve rounded up 3 of the best that you can visit to get a sense of the grandeur of the area, and learn a little about its history!
Dating back to the 10th Century the castle in picture-perfect Barolo, the eponymous village of the Barolo area, is not only a historic structure with an impressive aesthetic, but it has also been the home of the Wine Museum of Barolo since 2010! Featuring interactive and multisensory elements, the enchanting castle is the perfect place to start your vino adventures in the region, and to learn about the history and process of a world-famous wine! On top of this, the first floor of the museum exhibits original furnishings from when the castle was owned by the Falletti family, who resided in the property between 1250 and the mid 19th Century, so you really can be transported back in time to see the grandeur of the structure before it became the public attraction it is today. Barolo Castle also houses the Regional Enoteca (wine shop) of Barolo, which stores beautiful wines from each of the 11 towns that make up the Barolo producing area of Piedmont. So, make sure you purchase a bottle so that you can taste the luxurious, “royal” tipple yourself… after you’ve driven back to your accommodation of course!
Now the site of a luxury hotel, the Castello di Novello is a neo-gothic castle which was constructed on top of the medieval remains of a complex belonging to the Marquises of Del Caretto and Oreglia. So, if you choose this historic site as your accommodation during your trip to Piedmont, you’ll be living in the lap of luxury, and following in the footsteps of Italian royalty! The castle is situated, as the name suggests, in the charming little town of Novello, which also has some historic features to peak your interest (especially if you’re a fan of antiquated architecture!). Venture away from the castle and wonder around the streets to see the late 18th Century church of San Michele Arcangelo or the Baroque church of the Fraternity of San Giovanni. Also, whilst in Novello – if you can stop yourself from supping Barolo - make sure you try the Nascetto di Novello white wine, the towns very own DOCG product!
Built-in 13th Century, the castle of Grinzane Cavour was once owned by the Count of Cavour, a statesman who was instrumental in Italian reunification. It was then passed onto his niece Giuseppina, who had married into the well-known Alfieri family, who also owned a nearby property that is a well-known, nearby winery, Marchesi Alfieri - we definitely recommend it for a visit and you can check out our description the winery here! Like the previous two castles we’ve mentioned, Grinzane Cavour has plenty of other reasons for you to visit other than its impressive architecture and extensive history. From its luxurious restaurant featuring traditional Alba cuisine paired with locally produced wines, to its museum that has displays about topics such as truffle making, local food, and relics belonging to the Count of Cavour, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. They even host the World White Truffle of Alba Auction each November, and the Alba White Truffle Award every December!