Type of trail: trekking
Point of departure and arrival: panoramic point of the Strada Romantica
Length: circa 1.5 km
The tour starts at panoramic point of the Strada Romantica (A). Proceeding uphill towards the old town, on the left you can enjoy the amazing view over the Moscato vineyards and on the right the picturesque center of Neive.
We reach the ancient chapel of San Sebastiano (B). The chapel was already in existence in the 15th century but was completely rebuilt in the 18th century. It was erected as a sign of devotion to the saint who is considered the protector against the plague. This chapel might be linked with the one of Saint Rocco because they both stood by the two gates of the village.
We go forward until we reach the Chapel of San Rocco (C). It was in existence in the 15th century but was completely rebuilt in 1783 by the architect Borgese, who only maintained the central part of the original building. This chapel, as the one dedicated to Saint Sebastiano, was named after a saint who was invoked for protection against the plague.
Palazzo Bongioanni Cocito (D) is the most elegant Baroque building of Neive, it is set in a striking position at the entrance of San Rocco gate. It was built in the second half of the 18th century by the architect Borgese. We can observe the front door, the elegant cornice and some rococo rooms.
The next stage will lead us to the great Palazzo dei Conti di Castelborgo (E). It was built early in the 18th century, incorporating pre-existing buildings. The first experiments for the vinification of the Nebbiolo grapes in order to produce the so called Barbaresco wine were carried out in the cellars of this palazzo. The interior is beautifully decorated and there is also a private chapel.
The gateway to the Conti di Castelborgo Gardens (F) was also designed by architect Borgese as his degree thesis at university. It features beautiful iron gates and elegant columns made of rustic bricks. Another palazzo we can admire from here is the one at top right built by architect Paolo Francesco Rocca in the first quarter of the 19th century, which today houses the Regional Bakery School. In the courtyard we can still find the ancient walls that surrounded the medieval “ricetto”.
In Piazza Italia we can admire the colorful buildings among which we find the Casa dell’Orologio, the previous Town Hall (G) headquarters. The actual building was built in the second half of the 18th century by Borgese in a very elegant rococo style.
The Clock Tower (H) dates back to the medieval times, it was knocked down and rebuilt several times., higher each time. It is thought to have been rebuilt in 1224 during the conflicts between the Communes of Asti and Alba. The ancient fortified village, the Castrum Nevearum, stood in this area, which was once a Roman site and is known nowadays as Pian Castello. Here we discover the Casaforte dei conti Cotti di Ceres (I) where the vicarious Francesco Cotti wrote Piedmont’s most ancient book on the cultivation of grapes and the production of wine. Hanging on the façade, with a dedication for grace received, is a cannonball fired during the battle of San Martino in the Risorgimento times.
The fifteenth-century fortified house named Palazzo Cocito (J) is also very interesting. It was built by the oldest noble family of the area, the Cocito family. Twelve members of that family have held the position of Mayors of the village since the 16th century and others had relevant roles at the Savoy court. The palazzo was restructured during the Baroque period. The square that it stands on, which has the same name, was built in the 20th century after the demolition of the walls and other ruins of the medieval “ricetto”.
We’re now in front of the picturesque Confraternita di San Michele Arcangelo (K), a small masterpiece. Architect Antonio Borgese created it in the second half of the 18th century; the elegant façade is an embroidery of rustic brickwork terminating at the top near the dome and bell tower. Inside we find a precious organ with a Renaissance design, a colorful painting representing San Michele and a statue of the Archangel made of polychrome wood.
We move towards the Chiesa parrocchiale dei SS. Pietro e Paolo (L) whose bell tower was designed by Francesco Gallo. The church, which dates back to the 12th century, was rebuilt in the 18th century and enlarged in the 19th century. Inside there are many works of art from the mid-18th century: the statues of S. Michele and Madonna del Rosario in the naves and the paintings representing S. Pietro and S. Ubaldo in the apse.
We conclude our tour admiring the wonderful view of the soft hills of the Langhe from the panoramic viewpoint.