Barbaresco Piedmont day trip tour, food and wine
The Barbaresco area, in the Piedmont region, includes the municipalities of Barbaresco and Neive. It represents the production’s heart of the red wine Barbaresco, one of the best Italian wine, historically bound to the Piedmontese tradition arising from the Nebbiolo grape, now worldwide renowned.
Its name derives from the Latin word “barbaric silver” which means “forest of barbarians Romans used this term to define the dense forest that covered this land, dedicated to the Celtic god “Martiningen” by the indigenous Celtic-Ligurian who lived there and to the deity Mars by Romans, who settled here later. In effect, in the current location Martinenga they can identify the original Roman center of “Villa Martis”, where the Roman Emperor PubIio EIvio Pertinence was born.
Immerse yourself in the unique Piedmont Barolo and Barbaresco world that cannot be understood only with excellent wine. Here the wine, although wildly famous, well recognized through various awards, is just a part of the experience. You will have the opportunity to go deeper into a perfect harmony between nature and culture.
In Middle Ages Barbaresco was a feuding municipality that belonged first to Aleramo’s Marquises Marquis and subsequently to Bonifacio del Vasto.
Barbaresco is made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes grown within the boundaries of this comune (or township) in southeastern Piedmont's Langhe district. The grapes are harvested in late September or early October depending on weather conditions.
The wine was promoted by Domizio Cavazza who encouraged local landowners to plant Nebbiolo rather than Moscato as he felt that it had greater potential.
In 1894 came a large increase in demand for Barbaresco wines from outside Italy which led to an increase in production but with low-quality control so that at times fraudulent wines were sold under this name. In the next year (1895) a cooperative winery was founded which now accounts for over 70% of production.
The first definition of a fortified settlement dates back to the Xll century when the tower is attested, and built-in a dominating position at the end of the village. The strategic location of Barbaresco, at the municipal boundaries of Asti and Alba, provoked a long contest of the territory and its tower between the rival cities and finally, in 1223, the entire control passed into the hands of Alba. Later succeeded several lords for the local control, up to the definitive consolidation of the Savoy. The name Barbaresco appears for the first time in 1239 in a document that mentions "the tower of Barbaresco," but it is only from 1307 that we have a stable reference to "the village de Barbarisco." The village was built around its castle, which later became a parish church dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. The castle was originally owned by Bernardetto di Ternavasio and his wife Berta di Borbone. In 1252 they gave it to Emperor Frederick II as a gift. After being passed down through various ownerships through marriage or trade, it eventually came into possession of several members of the Falletti family.
The Church of San Donato
The Church of San Donato was built in 1478 by order from duke Ludovico II di Savoia to host a relic: the Holy Skull. In fact, during some works close to where today stands Santa Maria in Monte (a hamlet on a hill overlooking Barbaresco), it was found an urn containing a skull. Due to this find, Ludovico decided to build a church devoted to Saint Donato; it was also erected next to this place a new tower hosting two bells (one of them is still present today). In 1658 it was added on top of this church a tall bell tower.
Legend has it that the name of Barbaresco derives from the name of the goddess Barbara, worshipped in this area. The first definition of a fortified settlement dates back to the Xll century when the tower is attested, built in a dominating position at the end of the village. The strategic location of Barbaresco, at the municipal boundaries of Asti and Alba, provoked a long contest of the territory and its tower between the rival cities, and finally, in 1223, the entire control passed into the hands of Alba. Later succeeded several lords for the local control, up to the definitive consolidation of the Savoy.
The oldest part of Barbaresco is located on top of a hill overlooking Tanaro River. It was surrounded by walls and towers to protect it from significant military assaults such as those committed by Vercelli in 1468 and by Emperor Charles V in 1542. The access to Barbaresco was closed by four gates: one in front of Piazza Garibaldi, one between Via Moresco and Via Vicolo della Torre (which is still visible), one on Via degli Artisti and one along Via Romana.
The characteristics of the soil, the climate and the sun exposure make Barbaresco a region with a great wine-making vocation. The first definition of a fortified settlement dates back to the Xll century, when the tower is attested, built in a dominating position at the end of the village. The strategic location of Barbaresco, at the municipal boundaries of Asti and Alba, provoked a long contest of the territory and its tower between the rival cities and finally, in 1223, the entire control passed into the hands of Alba. Later succeeded several lords for the local control, up to the definitive consolidation of the Savoy.
In 1678 Amedeo VII decided to build a castle in which to spend time in his hunts. It was built on top of a hill, in an area once demolished by an earthquake, where there was already an ancient watchtower. The building was designed by architect Filippo Juvarra with a classic style: an asymmetrical plant with two low wings and two towers at each angle. In 1879 it became the property of King Vittorio Emanuele II and later passed to Queen Margherita di Savoia after their marriage with Umberto I. Between 1920 and 1930 it was completely restored to become the property of Prince Amedeo d'Aosta Duke of Spoleto. Today is the property of Banca Intesa San Paolo and is used as a luxury hotel and restaurant.
The area is renowned for its wines with Nebbiolo as their primary grape. The soil of Barbaresco zone is composed primarily of calcareous marl dating from the Tortonian epoch. The area is divided into two DOCG production zones, "Barbaresco" and "Barbaresco Asili", with 10 communes producing wine under either designation (Casorzo, Cherasco, Cortemilia, Mondovì and Narzole for Barbaresco; and Barbaresco, Montelupo Albese, Neive, San Rocco Seno d'Elvio and Treiso for Barbaresco Asili)
Following a tasting of three different wines, we will walk through the vineyard where you can learn about viticulture, soil and grape varieties. The tour ends with a selection of four wines paired with local specialties based on cold cuts, cheese, and traditional desserts.
The peculiar location of Barbaresco made it an important strategic point and this, along with the family feudal rivalry, contributed decisively to the tumultuous history of the village. To support themselves as a result of their soil, the peasants in Barbaresco had to take on difficult jobs such as digging out tree roots from the vineyards. The discovery of gas fields increased the number of local industries generating income and employment for locals. A particularly lively period in Barbaresco was undoubtedly in the XIX and XX century: at that time, thanks to its strategic position for trade and due to its elegance conquered the hearts of many rich foreign travellers who transformed some country homes into luxurious villas, where they particularly appreciated relaxing near a good glass of Vino Nobile de Barolo.
The Barbaresco zone can be described as small and picturesque. In the territory there are still several ancient castles, related to various feuds which have occurred during the centuries. No other region of Piedmont has so many castles and towers from ancient times as this one. The fortifications were built due to the rivalry among the local lords who tried to dominate over each other, either through agreements or through force.
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