Discovering the Langhe with Nightswapping

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Le Langhe they are a treasure chest full of artistic treasures, medieval historic centers, castles, towers and churches and in every town in this area there is something to see. We were invited to visit them thanks to the nightswapping and it was a great opportunity to discover a part of our country that we did not yet know.

Lanche: the view from the b & b La Sosta di Bacco

Langhe, I don't know about you, but the first thing that came to my mind when I heard this little word was: yum, vino a go go!



Seriously, recently, as soon as I was offered to try nightswapping, after a first moment of confusion (but what am I nightswapping?) Among the various options that were presented to me there was the possibility of doing a weekend in the Langhe and then, I thought, why not take advantage of it?

  • The Langhe
  • The nightswapping
  • To see
  • The cathedrals of wine
  • Where to eat
  • Accomodation

Langhe

The Langhe, whose name is very ancient and it is not known precisely where it originates, is a territory formed by suggestive hills that extends between the Tanaro and Bormida rivers.

Although the provinces are those of Asti and Cuneo, the Langhe have found their heart in the lively town of Alba, one of the most evocative of Piedmont, with its tall red brick towers, which appears to those who visit it set like a small precious stone in the green hills.

But the Langhe are not limited to enchanting villages to visit, in fact there are many proposals for recommended itineraries, from those of wine (do not miss the road of Barolo) to those of the castles; we preferred to be inspired by traveling without haste, choosing the road at every bend and savoring every moment the new unpredictable landscapes that were shown to our eyes.



Glimpses of the Langhe

What is nightswapping?

Il nightswapping it is a kind of "night bank": in practice you register your room or house with the community and for each night you stay you receive a credit to spend in another structure or private home of another registered member .
The more guests, you can make your entire home or even just a room available, the more nights you earn and therefore the longer you can travel almost for free (apart from a small management fee of 9.90): it seems like a great way to save!
Another advantage of nightswapping is that being able to stay at home with people, you have a much more genuine experience in contact with the locals of a country or city: just think that the community already has more than 150.000 members in about 160 countries in the world.

The b & b La Sosta di Bacco

Among the various options that were proposed to me to try, in fact, the nightswapping experience there was a beautiful room of the type I like, in a rustic style in a large perfectly renovated farmhouse.
As soon as I saw the photograph I realized that it was what I wanted and so the choice was easy: on Friday evening immediately after work we left for Castigione Tinella, a small and characteristic village in the province of Cuneo, which I had never heard of before this occasion (I'm ashamed, yes I know)
We arrive in the middle of a thick fog, around it is already pitch dark and we find Davide, the kind owner of the B&B The stop of Bacchus  (but with such a name I could not choose it?) who welcomes us with a bottle of Moscato of his production to taste.



The next morning we get up when the sun is already high and we find Davide waiting for us to give us some advice on what to visit in the surrounding area. The B&B is set in a very romantic context, surrounded by hills covered with vineyards which, thanks to late autumn, are colored with a thousand shades of green, yellow, brown, red, purple and orange.

What to see in the Langhe

Autumn colors on the buildings of Neive Alta

Davide gives us some advice on things to do and the characteristic villages to visit: the car is the best way to get around because you can travel along many roads that wind along the sides of the hills, giving new and unpredictable landscapes at every turn.
We leave by car towards our first stop in the Langhe: Mango. The town is nice with a beautiful castle which cannot be visited however as a luxury restaurant has been set up inside, but a few km later in the direction of Neviglie there is a beautiful panoramic point on the hills and surrounding villages.
From there, after a stop for lunch, we continue towards Neive. Surely Neive is an unmissable stop for those who want to visit the Langhe. Neive is a small village: the oldest medieval part was built on top of a hill (Neive Alta), while the more modern and urbanized part extends at its feet. The fact that the urbanized part has developed below has meant that the ancient village remained practically intact: since ancient times, due to the beauty of the place, Neive Alta was chosen by the lords and the bourgeoisie as a residence, leaving as a legacy beautiful buildings.
Another reason to visit Neive are its extraordinary cellars: the wines produced here are those present on the tables of some of the most prestigious restaurants in Italy.
Our road continues towards Barbaresco with its imposing tower, symbol of the town, to then head towards Magliano Alfieri with its castle (open every Sunday, from May to October) and the plaster museum and the wonderful frescoes in the Chapel of the Crucifix.



The cathedrals of Canelli wine

The underground cathedrals of Canelli

Canelli would be a simple, fairly anonymous village were it not for the famous and incredible ones underground cathedrals of wine that wind for kilometers in the underground city. Excavated during the Middle Ages, probably for the storage of goods, during the following centuries they became the ideal place to produce sparkling wine. Recently included among the UNESCO patron names of humanity, they are a maze of tunnels with vaulted ceilings carved into the tuff, the ideal environment to offer a unique sensory experience, combined with a suggestive and surreal location.
There are 4 wine cathedrals that can be visited and they open in turn, so it is necessary to call in advance and book the visit:

Cantine Bosca Via GB Giuliani, 21 tel. +39 335 799 68 11

Cellars Contract Via GB Giuliani, 56 tel. +39 0141 823349

Coppo Cellars Via Alba, 68 tel. +39 0141 823146

Cantine Gancia Corso LibertĂ , 66 tel. +39 0141 8301

Where to Eat

calosso

Wherever, in any village or street you take in the Langhe, there is no risk of skipping lunch: the area is literally scattered with taverns, farmhouses and restaurants where you can eat the delicious specialties of the area, from vegetable flans with fondue, to peppers with bagna cauda, ​​raw meat from Alba beaten with a knife. In short, there really is something for all tastes and the good news is that in most of the places where you stop to eat the cuisine is homemade and the price is cheap.
If you plan a visit to the underground cathedrals of Canelli, you certainly cannot avoid stopping for dinner at Old Press which is practically an institution in these parts.

If you are staying at the Sosta di Bacco you can go to dinner in Calosso al La Crota d'Calos, excellent for the high quality / price ratio and for the raw materials used, always very fresh.
Another noteworthy restaurant and one to go to especially during the truffle season is the Bric di Castagnito a few km from Alba, one of the best places I've ever eaten the "gray diamond".

Accomodation

Our "nest" at Bacchus' stop

Well since we were there and had a great time, I would say that La Sosta di Bacchus it's a great place to stay: rustic, newly renovated, spotlessly clean and strategically located close to calosso.
The village of Calosso is very pretty, on top of the hill, and offers a spectacle in the evening when fully illuminated it dominates the surrounding landscape: La Sosta di Bacco is located just 5 minutes drive from the village, a romantic location in the hills covered by vineyards.

We visited the Langhe in autumn and in my opinion it is really the best time of the year because nature explodes in a triumph of colors and the climate is still mild. If you need in-depth information to organize a weekend in these parts, you can find it on the website of thetourism entity.

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