What to See and Savor in the Villages of the Barbaresco Langhe Region
If you’re considering a visit to the Langhe region and want to learn more about the Barbaresco Langhe, read on to discover what to see in Neive and its surroundings.
The Barbaresco Langhe, located in the eastern part of the Langhe region between the right bank of the Tanaro River and the hills of Asti, has become a familiar destination for us in recent years. Here, you can wander through Nebbiolo vineyards, gaze at the nearby Roero, and savor excellent wines. This small portion of the Langhe, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, comprises three small villages: Neive, Barbaresco, and Treiso. Despite their recent popularity, they have managed to maintain their rural atmosphere, perfectly described in the works of authors like Fenoglio and Piccini.
In this article, we will explore the most enchanting places in the Barbaresco Langhe and sprinkle in some interesting stories. So, keep reading to discover what to see in Neive and its surroundings.
What to see in Neive and its surroundings: Neive
Our journey to explore what to see in Neive and its surroundings begins with the most renowned and famous center of the region. Neive, particularly its ancient part, is a beautiful example of a medieval village perched atop a hill surrounded by vineyards, making it one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.” It has also received the Touring Club’s Orange Flag for its charm.
The name Neive is believed to derive from the Roman noble family gens Naevia, which had significant properties in the area. During the Middle Ages, despite its proximity to Alba, it was an important possession of Asti until the latter was annexed to the Duchy of Savoy.
Notable Civic Buildings
Neive has preserved its medieval urban layout and some important buildings from that period. Among these, the Clock Tower stands out as a symbol of the town, along with the nearby Cotti di Ceres House-Fortress.
The historic center of Neive also features aristocratic palaces from later periods, once the residences of the area’s most important families. Two of them overlook Piazza Italia, the 18th-century heart of the village. The first is the Old Town Hall, easily recognizable by its white color, clock, and the large municipal coat of arms. The second, Palazzo Borgese, might not impress with its exterior, characterized by simple terracotta façades, but its old cellars carved into the rock, known as “Infernot,” now host the famous Bottega dei Quattro Vini, where you can savor the region’s finest wines in a captivating ambiance.
Another interesting building you’ll encounter while strolling through the village is the Palazzo dei Conti di Castelborgo, an 18th-century aristocratic residence with beautiful Italian gardens accessible through a neoclassical monumental entrance.
Neive also boasts two churches overlooking Piazza Negro, a lovely natural terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding hills.
Architecturally, the most interesting one is the Church of the Archconfraternity of San Michele, with a vertical terracotta façade adorned with baroque decorations leading up to the dome and bell tower. Inside, the Greek cross plan is enriched by a 17th-century organ and a vividly colored painting of the saint. In recent years, the church has been granted for Orthodox community worship, so you’ll find golden icons that harmonize with the rest of the decorations.
The other, less ornate, is the Parish Church of SS. Pietro e Paolo, rebuilt in the 18th century. Its façade, adorned with pilasters, hints at its three-nave layout. Inside, you’ll find numerous well-crafted processional statues and an intriguing wooden choir, along with a painting of St. Peter and Ubaldo.
One aspect we appreciate about Neive is its tranquil atmosphere, which is zealously preserved by its inhabitants and can be enjoyed while strolling or dining at a local restaurant.
What to see in Neive and Its surroundings: Barbaresco
Continuing our journey to discover what to see in Neive and its surroundings, we arrive at the village that lends its name to this corner of the Langhe: Barbaresco. This small village perched on a hill’s crest is a prime example of the Langhe’s recent success. While many residents left for the cities a few decades ago, a significant number have returned to cultivate vines and produce wine.
The village’s name dates back to pre-Roman times when the valley was mainly inhabited by Ligurian-Celtic populations. It is believed that the hill where Barbaresco now stands was once known as the Barbarica Sylva, a place where the faithful gathered to pray to the God Tanaro. In the Middle Ages, like Neive, Barbaresco was a center of dispute between nearby Alba and Asti, with Asti emerging victorious. Thus, Barbaresco remained under Asti’s influence until its annexation to the Duchy of Savoy in the early 16th century.
From that period, only one prominent structure remains, the imposing Medieval Tower, which happens to be the tallest and most massive in Piedmont. From its top, admirers of landscapes can enjoy a splendid panorama of the Langhe and Roero, crossed by the peaceful Tanaro River.
At the base of the tower stands the other noteworthy building in the village, the Church of San Giovanni Battista. Although it’s late Baroque in style and richly adorned, it harmoniously blends with its surroundings
Where to Taste and Purchase Barbaresco DOCG
Despite the beauty of the vine-covered landscapes, most people visit Barbaresco for the experience of tasting Barbaresco DOCG. There are numerous high-quality wine cellars, taverns, and restaurants where you can sample this excellent wine, often paired with local culinary products. Before suggesting two places we’ve personally tried, here are some tips for identifying authentic Barbaresco:
- The color should be garnet red with orange highlights. Barbaresco is known for its ethereal, intense aroma with delightful hints of violets or roses. As it ages, more complex scents of earth, herbs, truffle, and licorice may emerge.
- The taste is dry, full, robust, austere yet velvety and harmonious.
- The minimum overall alcohol content must be at least 12.5%.
- Barbaresco must undergo a minimum aging period of two years, with one year spent in oak or chestnut barrels.
Now, let’s explore two places where you can savor Barbaresco, guided by friendly and knowledgeable staff. The first is the Regional Enoteca of Barbaresco, hosted within the stunning setting of the former Church of the Archconfraternity of San Donato. Here, you’ll find the most important Barbaresco labels, along with the intriguing Nebbiolo grappa.
The second is the shop of the Agricultural Cooperative Society of Barbaresco Producers, a modern building located near the Church of San Giovanni and the Medieval Tower. Here, you’ll discover bottles from the finest vintages of one of the most prestigious wineries in the region.
What to see in Neive and its surroundings: Treiso
The third stop on our journey to discover what to see in Neive and its surroundings is the lesser-known village of Treiso. You can reach it via a narrow but scenic road winding through vine-covered hills. This immediately reveals the love and dedication the residents of Treiso have for their well-maintained vineyards.
In contrast to Neive and Barbaresco, Treiso has retained the predominantly rural spirit typical of the Langhe a few decades ago. If you’re a fan of Beppe Fenoglio, you’ll know that he set the events of one of his most famous books, “Una Questione Privata,” right here in Treiso. The writer himself enjoyed retreating to Treiso for moments of relaxation and once described it as “a village to live in peace.”
Treiso derives its name from “Tres,” given by the Romans to the small settlement that stood three miles from Alba along the Magistra Langarum road. The village doesn’t have a significant historical background, which is reflected in its lack of remarkable artistic and historical structures. The only noteworthy building is the imposing Church of the Blessed Virgin, a large and beautiful Baroque edifice that starkly contrasts with the surrounding urban context. It’s unusual to find such a tall church and bell tower in a small village.
Trails Among Vineyards and the Rocche dei Sette Fratelli
The true treasure of Treiso, as you might have realized, lies in its hills and nature. Tourists visiting Treiso are primarily drawn to the numerous paths and trails that start from the village, winding through the hills and woods. We highly recommend the one that leads to the famous “Rocche dei Sette Fratelli,” an immense chasm in the earth carved over millennia by erosive forces of water.
The spectacle you witness upon reaching it is truly impressive and nearly unexpected. Before your eyes, a vast white amphitheater opens up amidst the green hills, leaving you breathless. We had no doubt about including it in the places to see in Neive and its surroundings!
A popular legend is associated with the curious name of the “Rocche dei Sette Fratelli.” It tells of a meadow frequented by seven brothers who came here to mow the grass. One day, when it was time for lunch, their sister arrived with a modest meal in a basket. Since it was a Friday, they were obliged to observe abstinence from meat. The hungry and less pious brothers took offense and blasphemed against their sister. Suddenly, the ground beneath them opened up, and they were swallowed by a chasm. Only the sister remained standing on a strip of land. Since that day, the place has been known as the “Rocche dei Sette Fratelli.”
Now that you know what to see in Neive and its surroundings, all that’s left is to plan a visit to experience these charming villages, delightful products, and the stunning landscapes of this corner of the Langhe.
If you plan to stay in Neive and its surroundings, click here to discover the best accommodations at the most competitive prices!