The Piedmont Landscape of Langhe, Monferrato, and Roero
The Piedmont landscape of Langhe, Monferrato, and Roero is a hilly area in the southern part of Piedmont in Northwest Italy. Its uniqueness is linked to several cultural, natural, and rural features. Its historical cultural heritage is entangled in ancient and modern history: archaeological sites, churches, castles, and museums are spread around towns, small centres, and the countryside. Intangible heritage is mainly represented by the literature that testifies to the authors’ rooting in the region’s earth, places, and scenarios, together with the current local community’s sense of identity and belonging. Fine typical rural products, such as grapes for wine production, hazelnuts for the confectionery industry, and the characteristically white truffle of Alba, distinguish the local wine and food culture, which is renowned for its gastronomy.
The local community is deeply aware of how the region’s landscape, hills, and traditions are vehicles for history, stories, and the collective memory it presents to tourists and visitors. In 2014, the Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe–Roero and Monferrato was nominated and included into the UNESCO World Heritage List as a serial site. It was the 50th Italian UNESCO site and the first vineyard cultural landscape to make the World Heritage List. This recognition is living testimony to how winegrowing and winemaking traditions continue the authentic interaction between humans and the natural environment. Three years later, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network recognised the town of Alba as a creative city of gastronomy. These international acknowledgements are important to the entire community, which, in this way, has developed a stronger attachment to the region.
This region is particularly supportive of innovative, inventive values—not only because of its rich twentieth-century industrial heritage (the headquarters of Ferrero Nutella are found here) but also because of visionary projects, such as the Slow Food movement for healthy, fair work in the agro-tertiary sector and numerous contemporary art installations, from the Big Bench Project to the Barolo Chapel—the church decorated by Sol LeWitt and David Tremlett in the vineyards (one of the most Instagrammed objects in the region). Ongoing land art projects further enhance sightseeing visits and visual representation of the area.
The less recent past is represented in the physical landscape and collective memory through literary works, which are particularly important for the values of peace and cohabitation after the tragedy of the Second World War when a civil war was conducted to free the Italian peninsula from the Nazi-fascism. Local writers, whose work is continuously promoted through cultural festivals and literary prizes, detail regional facts and customs in their narratives.
For both the local community and visitors, all of these resources signify an ongoing process of negotiating intrinsic symbolic significance, suggesting a full but incremental approach to the global conveyance of the local culture.