The Landscapes of Piedmont’s Alessandria Province
The province of Alessandria lies in the extreme southeast of Piedmont that has for long been of strategic importance for its connections with Lombardy and Liguria. A multiplicity of landscapes can be discovered in this land, including the Monferrato hills, covered by vines and rich in color, uncontaminated nature and dense woods of chestnut, oak and beech.
Many reserves safeguard the province’s varied environment, such as the Parco Fluviale del Po Tratto Vercellese-Alessandrino, home to many colonies of birds and the Capanne di Marcarolo Natural Park, where the Alpine flora flourishes alongside the Mediterranean scrub. The area is also a natural location for wine production and boasts an important cultural heritage, from Roman remains to the imposing ruins of castles dotted about the countryside.
Ovada, Acqui Terme, Casale Monferrato and Gavi are towns rich in history and art, with monuments from different epochs. Other treasures make any visit here special and unique, from the Acqui Terme spa to the goldsmiths of Valenza, now internationally-renowned. The Campionissimi of Novi Ligure Museum is dedicated to cycling and was established in memory of two local athletes, Fausto Coppi and Costante Girardengo.
The starting point of any tour should be Alessandria, the Provincial Capital, is rich in artistic heritage, including the famous Cittadella with its ample piazzas and 18th-Century palaces. There are many religious sites of remarkable artistic value such as Sacro Monte di Crea listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site; the Santa Croce complex in Bosco Marengo and the Romanesque Abbey of Santa Giustina in Sezzadio. There are also many churches and shrines all around the countryside, including the evocative Parish Church of Santa Maria in Viguzzolo.
Roman relics can be found in Libarna, near Serravalle Scrivia and in Acqui Terme, a town renowned for ages for its art and health spa. One of the most important sites is Casale Monferrato, boasting prestigious architecture and churches, particularly the Duomo, one of the most remarkable Romanesque-Lombard cathedrals of Piedmont. Be sure to visit the hills, their vineyards and imposing castles of Vignale Monferrato and Camino.
Valenza, a small town built on the banks of Po River, is world famous for its gold and jewelry production. Gavi, a small town on the border of Liguria and the Pianura Padana, is dominated by an imposing castle that once was the fortress of the Republic of Genoa. The Roman remains and artistic monuments of Tortona offer an interesting journey into the past, while Ovada is surrounded by remarkable castles. The Marengo Museum is dedicated to a historical Napoleonic battle and lies in Spinetta Marengo, a district of Alessandria. Sports lovers should visit the Campionissimi Museum in Novi Ligure, dedicated to Costante Girardengo and Fausto Coppi, two local cycling champions.
The Province of Alessandria provides many opportunities for both active and relaxing vacations in the countryside. From Monferrato to Ovada, hiking, biking and riding trails can be found amidst lush vegetation and charming hamlets. Trails for cycle tourists wind through the Po River Park, Vercellese-Alessandrino Tract, while climbing enthusiasts will enjoy the Falesia di Gavi, a wall that invites climbers of varying levels to practice their sport in this magnificent landscape. The Acqui Terme is an important spa and a modern wellness center. With its hot springs, it is perfect for rest rejuvenation. Otherwise, modern golf courses welcome professionals and amateurs alike.
For those looking for excitement, extreme sports are all the rage at the Bob & Downhill Park Val Curone and the Val Borbera Adventure Park, perfect for trekking, canoeing down steep descents, or competitive cycling.
The area is an important wine-producing territory, with outstanding wines the likes of Cortese di Gavi, Dolcetto, Brachetto, Grignolino and Barbera.