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Before the Winter Olimpic Games of 2006 Piedmont was almost unknown to the majority of the European citizens.
The inattentive modern tourist drives along its eastern side on his way down to the coast or flyes above this region to reach Toscana or Rome. But it was not in Florence nor in Milan or Rome where the unification of Italy took its first steps, but rather in Piedmont, and Turin was in fact the first capital city of the newborn nation.
Piedmont has in Turin the leading centre in Italy for research and technologies.
Moreover the regional capital hosts several of the biggest Italian industries.
Some crucial politic impulses of the years following the Second World War originated here as well.
ALICE BEL COLLE
Located few kilometers from Acqui Terme, in a very panoramic position, among the huge vineyards of the Alto Monferrato hills, Alice Bel Colle dominates the east side of the Medrio stream valley. Alice Bel Colle is at the valley floor, along the national route of Turchino, very close to the outlet of the railway tunnel that crosses the buttress between Belbo and Bormida Valley.
The patron is celebrated on 15th August in the higher village and on 8th September in the station village.
The econonomy ispredominantly based on agriculture, above all vineyards, with a very good production of moscato, barbera and dolcetto wines. There are two public wine cellars and other wine- and grappa producing companies.
Bistagno, an agricultural village of the high Monferrato, is located at the bottom of the Bormida River's valley, below the confluence of the two river's branches of Spigno and Millesimo. It has a typical triangular shape. The majority of the commune's territory develops on the left of the Bormida River, and borders on the province of Asti for a long stretch. In order to define the origins of the name, it is important to consider the proximity to the meeting point of the two branches of Millesimo and of Spigno. The Latin words Bistagnum o Bisanium are in fact the two etymologic origins bound to a unique reason, the presence of the two branches of the river that since the nature of the land is plain, slow down and seem to create two small-unified ponds.
Bistagno was an ancient ownership of the bishops of Acqui Terme and one of them in 1253 let three blocks of the village being destroyed to build a new and fortified dwelling place. Strong bastions, six big towers and a castle, whose ruins are still visible, formed the fortification mass.
Giuseppe Saracco an important politician, who was prime minister in 1900, was born here: during his ministry, King Umberto I was killed and for one day, in awaiting for the arrival in Rome of his heir Vittorio Emanuele III, he assumed for the king's power.
The remaining part of the ancient castle is a triangular tower, that is part of a mediaeval shaped house. The baroque Church of San Giovanni Battista with a gothic bell tower, has a nave and two aisles and still keep the balustrade, the high altar and a wood chancel. There is also a marble mass of the local sculptor Giulio Monteverde (1837-1917) and to his works is dedicated a very interesting plaster cast gallery.
In the village there are some furniture factories and other industrial activities. Also the agricultural sector is important for the economy and it is mainly based on the production of wheat, maize and vegetables.
Morbello is an agricultural village of the Alto Monferrato, located at 500 meters on the sea level in a typical holiday area, appreciated for its clean and fresh air.
The territory is above all made of hills, covered with chesnut trees and oaks and full of water sourcesThat area is well known for the production of excellent Dolcetto wines, among which there is the DOCG.The village is composed of three different parts: Morbello Piazza, Morbello Costa and Vallosi. The village can be easily reached thought the country roads that start from Acqui Terme and Ovada. That area is well known for the production of excellent Dolcetto wines, among which there is the DOCG.
Agricultural centre of the Alto Monferrato, it is located on the edge of a hilly buttress that on the left side dominates the River Bormida, below Acqui Terme.
The castrum quod Ursa vocabatur (Ursa stands for Orasa), it is stated by Lorenzo Calceato in 1920 as goods belonging to San Guido, Bishop of Acqui Terme (XI century) and by him given to his church.
There are few documents on the structure of the castle; some statements date 1578 and in the XVIII century Soletta gives a complete vision of the castle, on the top of a steep hill, very useful for the defence thank to the presence of an enclosure.
The village develops on a softer side of the hill, towards east. Its receptiveness is of about 10 families.
The castle is in good conditions and the XVIII century remakings are visible and of the ancient structure it conserves in good conditions, the central stone tower
The economy of Orsara Bormida lives above all on the agricultural activities (vineyards and wine production, sowable land and vegetables) and cattle breeding.
There are small metalliferous and carpenter's companies. During summer, from July to September, the village is a destination for manifold vacationers.