What to see in Cella Monte

Cosa vedere a Cella Monte-Via-orologio-fiori

 A Brief Itinerary to Discover the Charming Village in Lower Monferrato, Among Italy’s Most Beautiful

Planning a vacation in Monferrato? Then read on to discover what to see in Cella Monte—you won’t wait to explore it!

Cella Monte is a medieval village with 500 inhabitants, located just a few kilometers from Casale Monferrato in the province of Alessandria. If you’re unfamiliar with this area, it has earned its place among Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages in recent years. The historic center is particularly unique and well-maintained, featuring stone buildings made of sedimentary rock from the ancient sea that once bathed Monferrato. Bathed in sunlight, these houses showcase various shades from light gray to yellow.

Its History

While not as eventful as the neighboring Rosignano Monferrato, Cella Monte’s history provides insights into the village. Let’s start with its name, “Cella,” whose origin is uncertain. One hypothesis links it to wine cellars carved into the rock in the area where the houses were built. Another suggests cells of a monastery that provided shelter for passing religious and pilgrims. What is certain is that the name first appears in an imperial decree from 1116, granting it to the Marquis of Monferrato. Cella remained under Marquisate, later Duchy, rule almost continuously until 1708, when it became part of the Kingdom of Savoy. This stability preserved the urban fabric and many historic buildings that we’ll explore.

One additional note: the second part of the name, “Monte,” was added in 1863. The mayor at the time obtained permission because the village is situated on one of the most beautiful hills in Monferrato.

Now that you know a bit more about its past, let’s dive into what to see in Cella Monte today!

What to See in Cella Monte: Palazzo Volta and the Ecomuseum of Cantoni Stone

What to see in Cella Monte-infernot-palazzo volta-ecomuseum pietra da cantoni
Infernot of the Ecomuseum

Many visitors are drawn to the Infernots, famous cellars carved into Cantoni stone. Due to this, the Palazzo Volta decided a few years ago to open the Ecomuseum of Cantoni Stone. This museum effectively narrates the local population’s relationship with this stone, a fundamental part of Lower Monferrato’s rural life. It was used for construction and dug to create spaces under houses for storing perishable goods and wine. A splendid Infernot, complete with a table carved directly into the stone, is located in the palace’s basement.

The palace itself is also interesting, standing out with its unusual forms for the region. Palazzo Volta is recognized for its fifteenth-century colonnaded loggia, revealing its patrician past.

What to see in Cella Monte-Palazzo Volta-ecomuseum pietra da cantoni-loggia-columns
Exterior of Palazzo Volta (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Inside, you’ll find valuable features like fine floors, a coffered ceiling, and an eighteenth-century false ceiling. The Ecomuseum is open on Sundays from 10 AM to 12 PM and from 3 PM to 5 PM, or by appointment via email at prenotazioni@ecomuseopietracantoni.it.

What to See in Cella Monte: Other Historic Palaces

Strolling through the historic center, you’ll be captivated by the atmosphere created by the light illuminating the Cantoni stone. Each street offers picturesque views, especially in spring and summer when vibrant flower colors enrich the scenery. Among the houses, some stand out for their importance and history.

The first is the Castle/House-fort in Via Barbano, built in the twelfth century as a defensive bulwark. Later, in the seventeenth century, it was transformed into a noble villa by the Arduini family, which still owns it today. From the outside, you can still see ogival windows and stone and brick decorations.

Equally interesting is the Town Hall, where the façade displays graffiti-laden blocks dating back to the seventeenth century. Additionally, a fragment of local Cantoni stone decoration, probably from the early Middle Ages, adds a beautiful touch.

What to see in Cella Monte - Palazzo Comunale - graffiti - flowers
Town Hall (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Lastly, Villa Cossetta, a Liberty-style building, stands out with its elegant turret, oval windows, and delicate decorations on the marcapiano.

Other Visitable Infernots

As mentioned, among the things to see in Cella Monte, the most sought-after are the Infernots. In addition to the one at the Ecomuseum of Cantoni Stone, there are private ones that offer not only visits but also wine tastings and local products. These include:

  • Arditi’s Infernot, owned by Fratelli Arditi Winery (which also has the Cinque Quinti venue). The visit to historical cellars and the Infernot, including tasting, costs 20 euros and can be booked here
    Infernot Arditi-Cinque quinti-visits and tasting
    Infernot Arditi (Credit to Ecomuseo della Pietra da Cantoni)

    .

  • La Cà Nova’s Infernot, owned by the Bellero family, offers visits to cellars and the Infernot, with the option to have lunch in the excellent restaurant. You can make a reservation here.
  • La Casaccia’s Infernot, from the homonymous organic farm, allows wine tasting at various prices, from 8 to 18 euros depending on the quantity of wines and typical products sampled. To book, click here.

Choose wisely and enjoy this fascinating experience!

What to See in Cella Monte: The Churches

Despite the most interesting attractions being the Infernots, Cella Monte also boasts intriguing churches that tell the village’s history in their own way. The most important is the Parish Church of Saints Quirico and Giustina, built in the 17th century. The exterior underwent reconstruction in the 20th century.

Church of Saints Quirico and Giulitta-exterior-baroque
Church of Saints Quirico and Giulitta

Inside, it features three naves and preserves valuable works, including frescoes and altarpieces by Guglielmo Caccia, a mid-18th-century polychrome marble altar, and a beautiful 19th-century organ.

Another significant church for the locals is the Church of San Quirico. Situated on a beautiful panoramic point overlooking nearby Rosignano, this Romanesque church was the ancient parish church built in the early years of the village..

What to see in Cella Monte-Romanesque church-San Quirico-panorama
Romanesque church of San Quirico (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

oday, a stained glass window connects it to another nearby building, where you can glimpse its interior. It was once a destination for pilgrimages by parents seeking healing for their sick children.

Nature Trails Around the Village

Highly enjoyable are the trails starting from the center of Cella Monte, immersing you in the splendid Monferrato nature. The trails are not very challenging and can be explored on foot or mountain bike. If walking, be equipped with sports clothing and hiking shoes to navigate dirt roads, especially in descents and ascents. The three itineraries are:

  • The Cella Monte Ring, a approximately nine-kilometer trail winding through the Carcana River valley, showcasing famous truffle grounds and vineyard-covered hills.
  • The Paintings, Roses, and Vines Trail (No. 754), also around nine kilometers, allowing you to admire splendid landscapes of Monferrato, along with works by artist Gianni Colonna, all titled “Day and Night.”
  • The Vineyards and Infernot Trail (No. 726), approximately 15 kilometers, crosses the territory dividing Cella Monte and Sala Monferrato. Here, you’ll encounter many farms surrounded by vineyards, some possessing particularly suggestive Infernots.

Now that you know what you can do and see in Cella Monte, all that’s left is to plan your visit!

 

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Summary
Article Name
What to see in Cella Monte
Description
Discover what to see in Cella Monte, a medieval gem in Monferrato. Explore historic palaces, churches, and nature trails—unveil the charm of this Italian village.
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La Scimmia Viaggiatrice

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