Diano d’Alba is a balcony over the Langhe where you can contemplate the Piedmontese landscape, shaped by a history of wine and food production.
Let’s discover Diano d’Alba and the wonderful territory surrounding this corner of Piedmont. A perfect destination for a weekend or a trip among nature, art, food and wine!
The Langhe, a World Heritage Site since 2014, is a territory situated in lower Piedmont which stretches between the provinces of Cuneo and Asti. It is divided into three main areas:
- Lower Langhe: we are less than 600 metres above sea level
- High altitude Langhe: we are over 600 metres above sea level
- Langhe Astigiane: the area south of Asti
These lands are famous for their multicoloured hills: you will admire different colours depending on the light and crops.
In fact, we move from the imperious vineyards in the lower Langhe, from which great wines such as Barolo, Nebbiolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto D’Alba and Barbera D’Alba are produced, to the woods cultivated mainly with “Tonda Gentile delle Langhe” hazelnut in the high altitude area. Nuances of taste that make this place rare. Each small municipality deserves to be revealed.
With a magnifying glass, let’s look at Diano d’Alba
Among the villages of the Langhe at low altitude, 500 metres above sea level, we find Diano d’Alba in the province of Cuneo. At its feet, you can admire Alba and the territory of the lower Langhe, made up of hills, villages and castles.
Diano is a strategic location to appreciate the beauty of Piedmont landscapes. To the east, we encounter the austerity of the Alta Langa, to the west our gaze is softened by the the hills of Barolo.
This town is 17.75 square kilometres and the resident population is 3608. It is divided into three areas:
- Diano capoluogo (chief town): it is the town centre where we find the town hall. From here, we can appreciate the amazing panorama around Diano.
- Frazione Valle Talloria: here we find the fulcrum of the town’s economy. It is in fact an important agricultural centre, where many famous wineries are located.
- Frazione Ricca: it is an important residential and craft centre. This is the area of Diano d’Alba closest to Alba.
A town with a curious name and history
Diano d’Alba is a name most likely derived from the ancient veneration of the Diana.
Diana is the ancient goddess of hunting for the Romans and Ligurians, two peoples who practised the “cult” of hunting before the apostles, such as St. Paul and St. Barnabas, preached and spread Christianity in these lands.
It is presumable that the name comes from Diana because, according to ancient pagan beliefs, the goddess was worshipped in the open countryside, in sacred woods. In fact, it is well known that around Alba there were votive woods. On the hill where Diano d’Alba now stands there was a wood dedicated to the worship of Diana.
Further evidence in support of this thesis can be found in the dedication to Diana “quae fuerat, quondam, hic esulta sacello”, in the small temple situated at the entrance to the town.
The history of Diano d’Alba runs parallel to that of Alba. In fact, during the barbarian invasions, Rotari, King of the Lombards, reduced the power of Alba and extended it to Diano d’Alba. The city became the seat of the local administration under the name of “Diano committee”.
From the year 1000 onwards, the construction of the first nucleus of its castle began and it would be increasingly strengthened over the course of historical events. A series of dynasties alternated in power, but there are three main periods to remember: a troubled period with the Marquises of Busca, a quiet one with the Gonzagas of Mantua, and finally the endless period of the Savoy family. The feud was finally ceded to the Counts Ruffino of Savigliano until 1856 when the lineage came to an end.
What to see in Diano d’Alba
In Diano d’Alba we find many traces of its history.
Starting from Palazzo Ruffino, restored in 1730. Inside the palace, you can admire wondeful rooms embellished with friezes and refined furniture. There are two other historical buildings in the historic centre: Porta Rossa and Palazzo del Conte Rangone.
The parish church of St. John the Baptist, designed by architect C.F. Rangone in Piedmontese Baroque style and built between 1763 and 1770, is also of great importance.
To discover and learn more about the agricultural life of the Lower Langhe, you can visit the Museum of Vine and Rural Civilisation in Diano d’Alba. A route focusing on the area’s traditional crop, the vine. You can see photos, ancient tools and practices that have shaped the winemaking tradition of this wine region.
If you are in this charming village, you cannot certainly fail to reach the panoramic point of the village. From there, you will enjoy a unique 360° view and admire the Alps, Aosta Valley and Lombardy, as far as the Moscato and Barbaresco hills to the East and the Barolo hills to the West.
Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba DOCG
Diano d’Alba DOCG is a wine appellation recognised in 2010, but this wine has got a much longer history.
Starting with its correlation with the territory; since 1985, in fact, a campaign has been underway to enhance the value of this wine-growing area, which has led to the creation of a “Vineyard Master Plan”.
Hence Diano D’Alba is known as the “Land of the Sörì”. Sörì in dialect means sunny and indicates the best vineyards with the best sun exposure. There are a total of 77 areas, entirely within the municipality of Diano d’Alba.
So it is a territory with a strong wine tradition, manifested in its most renowned product: Diano d’Alba DOCG wine.
The Dolcetto grape has found its greatest expression in the land around Diano d’Alba. In fact, it is demanding in terms of sun exposure and loves wide temperature ranges. This harmony between plant and environment produces a dry, fruity wine, with a hint of wood and a light almond aftertaste.
According to the production specification, the local wine producers must use 100% Dolcetto grapes, grown exclusively in the municipality of Diano d’Alba. This document also indicates the conditions for wine growing: the soil must be clayey and/or calcareous with an exclusively hilly terrain. It must be at a mfaximum altitude of 550 metres above sea level with an exposure suitable for ripening the grapes. Furthermore, the winemaking protocol requires that the Diano d’Alba Superiore DOCG wine should be aged for 10 months.
If Diano d’Alba has fascinated you, discover the food experiences in the Langhe selected by Italia Delight, from the wine tasting to the Alba white truffle hunting experience!