I’ve recently had the opportunity to experience an authentic farm stay in Alta Langa, in the region of Piedmont, by spending the weekend at Pascoli di Amaltea.
They say that the best way to really learn about a place is to live like the locals do and that’s exactly what my girlfriends and I did last weekend. Thanks to our hosts at Pascoli di Amaltea, we had the unique opportunity to experience what is like living in this beautiful part of Piedmont surrounded by an uncontaminated landscape of steeped terraced vineyards, hazelnut groves and lots of sheep and goats!
Alta Langa is one of the most scenic parts of Piedmont. It’s a strip of hilly land at the border with Liguria that includes the provinces of Cuneo, Asti and Alessandria.
The altitude is pretty high here, ranging from 700 to about 900 meters above sea level. This makes Alta Langa a great option for those looking to escape the summer heat, not to mention you get phenomenal views at every corner.
Despite being far from the glamour of Barolo (which is pretty close, by the way), the villages of Alta Langa are full of character and rustic charm, with a fantastic combination of picturesque cobbled streets, old-style trattorie and slow rhythms of life.
This is also the land of dairy farms, where a variety of excellent cheeses are still produced using traditional methods; many have become slow food presidia and have been awarded the Protected Designation of Origin mark.
Pascoli di Amaltea
We stayed at Pascoli di Amaltea, an organic farm located in Mombarcaro, the highest village of Alta Langa. From here, views extend as far as the Ligurian sea on a clear day! The farm is run by a young couple, Arianna and Alessandro, who chose sustainable agriculture as their profession and way of life.
They breed Langhe sheep and goats and have a small cheese factory where they produce delicious raw milk cheeses. The great thing is that these guys totally respect the animals’ natural breeding cycle, meaning that no cheese has the same taste and appearance (in fact, this totally depends on the season and the type of grass the sheep eat).
The farm has two comfortably furnished rooms with en-suite bathrooms (don’t expect luxury though, this is a truly authentic working farm). Our room was called ‘Il Granaio’ (the granary), it was right next to the stable, and in the morning we were greeted by the bleating of the sheep, while the couple’s adorable dogs waited for us at out doorstep!
Breakfast is totally home-made and organic, with cakes, cheese, marmalade and freshly picked fruit. Oh, and coffee is served in classic moka pots, just the way most of us Italians prepare it at home (quite unusual to see in most accommodations).
Arianna and Alessandro are amazing hosts and make you instantly feel as if you are visiting friends. They show you around, sharing their story and the challenges of running a farm with an open heart. They also organize tasting sessions of the cheeses and cured meat they produce, all washed down with a bottle of red wine and Alessandro’s home-made liqueurs (just for an extra 20 euros).
Pascoli di Amaltea is a great base to explore the treasures of Alta Langa. Interesting places to visit nearby include Bossolasco, known as the village of the roses, Bergolo, the stone village, and Murazzano, famous for its panoramic medieval tower. Alba, the truffle’s capital, is just 40 km away.
The whole territory is surrounded by a fantastic landscape of forestry and rolling hills, making Alta Langa a true paradise for hikers and cyclists.
Staying at Pascoli di Amaltea has been a fantastic experience and I recommend it to anyone who loves nature and is interested in experiencing a destination from a different perspective. I’m sure that this farm and Alta Langa more in general will be a pleasant surprise!
Please note, this is not a sponsored post. All opinions and photographs are my own.