What to see in Mombaldone

What to see in Mombaldone-Stairway-flowers-church

A Brief Itinerary in the Medieval Village of Langa Astigiana

Are you in the Langhe region, searching for a tranquil place with a taste of the past? Read on to discover what to see in Mombaldone . It’s the perfect place for you!

Mombaldone is a tiny village in Langa Astigiana, nestled between the provinces of Alessandria and Cuneo in the Asti region. Located in the Bormida Valley, just a few kilometers from Acqui Terme, it rests at the foot of Roccaverano hill, near the Ligurian border. Unlike the more famous UNESCO-protected Langhe, Mombaldone boasts tall hills covered in dense forests and green meadows, making it an ideal spot for relaxation and nature walks, both on foot and by bicycle.

However, what drew us to Mombaldone is its unique feature: being the only village in Langa Astigiana still surrounded by its original walls.

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Section of the walls (credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Furthermore, we discovered that its urban core remains unchanged since its foundation. Walking through its stone-paved streets feels like a journey back to the Middle Ages, earning Mombaldone a place among the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” and sparking a rediscovery.

After this brief introduction, let’s delve into the history and explore what to see in Mombaldone.

The Village’s History

Despite its medieval charm, Mombaldone’s history traces back to Roman times, with its first settlement along the Aemilia-Scauri road connecting Savona to the Po Valley. Medieval records mention “Mons Baldus,” evolving from the Latin “Mons” (mountain) and the Germanic “Bald Monte.” Anselmo, son of Aleramo of Monferrato, initially ceded its territory to the Abbey of S. Quintino di Spigno Monferrato. Later, in 1208, it became a fief under Enrico IV del Carretto, Marquis of Finale Ligure. In 1382, the Carretto family acknowledged vassalage to the Duchy of Savoy. Mombaldone’s history intertwines with the Duchy of Savoy and later the Kingdom of Sardinia, marked by events like the Spanish occupation thwarted by Vittorio Amedeo di Savoia in 1637 and the ruthless passage of Napoleon’s troops in 1799.

What to See in Mombaldone: The Historic Center

“What to see in Mombaldone?” may seem like an easy question, but it’s not. The charm lies not in grand architecture or masterpieces but in an emotional journey through a bygone era. The ancient pointed arch gate leading to Via Cervetti marks the start of this journey.

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The Ancient Gateway (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

This street, the backbone of the village, showcases Renaissance houses with seventeenth-century renovations, providing picturesque views.

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Glimpse of an alley along via Cervetti (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

At the end of this stretch, Piazza Umberto I hosts the most artistically significant buildings: the Church of San Nicola and the Oratory of Saints Fabiano and Sebastiano. The former houses valuable decorations and paintings by Giovanni Monevi, while the latter, with its nineteenth-century embellishments, hosts frequent exhibitions and conferences.

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Piazza Umberto I with the Church of San Nicola and the Oratory of Saints Fabiano and Sebastiano (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Both structures date back to the eighteenth century, erected on the former moat of the nearby castle. Today, only a few ruins remain, notably the imposing square tower dominating the surrounding area.

Portiola and the Fortress Palace of the Restaurant “L’Aldilà”

Continuing along Via Roma, you reach Portiola, a covered passage connecting the main street to a steep descent leading to the river—once a route for a potential escape in times of attack.

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Glimpse of Via Roma (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

A few meters ahead stands the Fortress Palace, where descendants of the Dal Carretto family reside and work. Though no longer holding power over the village, the family continues to care for Mombaldone, even attracting tourists with their restaurant, “L’Aldilà.” In “L’Aldilà,” Marchesa Gemma Dal Carretto not only offers excellent dishes but also leads guests into fascinating Enlightenment-style halls with eighteenth-century furnishings.

What to See in Mombaldone: Pastures and Calanchi

While a classic Mombaldone itinerary may end at the Fortress Palace, understanding the true spirit of the village and its surroundings involves exploring the surrounding countryside. Ascend a few hundred meters outside the inhabited center and immerse yourself in nature. Encounter herds of grazing goats, whose milk contributes to the area’s renowned product: Robiola di Roccaverano.

The presence of Calanchi adds a unique touch—deep furrows marking the steepest slopes, formed by erosion of the gray sandstone hills of Langa Astigiana. In certain spots, walking feels like strolling through a lunar landscape.

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The Calanchi (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

What to See in Mombaldone: Historical Reenactment and Festivals

As you may have gathered, Mombaldone easily transports you back to the medieval era. For years, the residents have enhanced this characteristic by organizing the annual historical reenactment titled “Historia Montis Baudonis” on the last Sunday of August. Episodes significant to Mombaldone and its surroundings are staged in cycles:

  • The marriage of Marchesina Ilaria Del Carretto.
  • The 1631 witch trial in Spigno Monferrato.
  • The victorious battle against the Spaniards in 1637.
  • The dramatic passage of Napoleon’s troops in 1799.

Beyond the undeniable beauty of the village, the immersive experience is heightened by setups such as taverns offering traveler menus, workshops, and small Renaissance and Celtic music orchestras.

Two other deeply cherished festivals are the “Sagra delle Frittelle” in late May and, especially, the “Festa della Madonna del Tovetto.” This ancient traditional celebration, held every September 8th in memory of the battle against the Spaniards, features a procession carrying the Madonna’s statue to the Tovetto church. The church witnessed a pilgrimage in 1637 by Mombaldonians thanking the Madonna for their safety, commemorated by two cannonballs walled in perpetual remembrance. In recent years, a Spanish dinner with fish, paella, and sangria complements the patronal celebration.

Final Recommendations

If you plan to stay in Langa Astigiana, click here to discover the best accommodations at the best prices!

Now that you know what to see in Mombaldone, all that’s left is to decide the day of your visit!

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Article Name
What to see in Mombaldone
Explore the charm of Mombaldone in the Langhe region—a tranquil haven with medieval allure. Then discover with us what to see in Mombaldone!
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La Scimmia viaggiatrice

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