Tue 29 Dec 2009
The most impressive thing about Mondovì is the location on the top of Monte Regale with a backdrop of the Maritime Alps. Getting to the top of the hill and inside the old town center takes some effort, as being a hillside city there are many one way streets and god forbid you try and drive into the city center at 1pm when the school kids are being let out for the day. I learned the hard way that school kids have priority in Mondovì and access by car into the old town center is virtually impossible (unless of course you really do know where you are going).
That aside, once you navigate up the hill, likely you will find yourself in the pretty Piazza Maggiore, the heart of the old town center. Via Vico, which heads into Piazza Maggiore, features facades that are decorated with frescos dating back to the 15th and 16th century. Also on this street you will find an 18th century Synagogue, which is testimony to the Jewish quarter. Mondovì actually was the most populated town in Piedmont in the 16th century and is home to the first University founded in Piedmont.
- the Church of St. Francesco with the painting masterpiece “La Missione” by Andrea Pozzo;
- the Cathedral of St. Donato and “The Misericordia” Church, architectural masterpieces by Francesco Gallo;
- the Belvedere, the Town tower (13th century) and the spectacular facades in St. Pietro square (15th-18th century).
Another reason Mondovì makes a good day trip destination is that likely there is a cultural event or show happening. For example, in February the city host a Carnival, one of the most well known and important ones in Piedmont. In April they host a Spring fair. In August there is Handcraft fair, where pottery is one of their most famous handcrafts along with printing, wood restoration and wrought iron). On September 7th, there is a fireworks display and then at the beginning of November the truffle fair “Peccati di Gola” (sin of gluttony) kicks off which is a bounty of wines and gastronomic products of the area.
In keeping with my desire to combine day tripping with a long lunch, there is a unique restaurant in Mondovì that I would recommend, especially if you have had your fill of restaurants with exposed brick and yellow walls. Trattoria Ezzelino is a contemporary restaurant serving creative Italian dishes. Instead of the typical tomato and mozzarella salad, I remember getting served a quasi gelato/mousse of tomatoes and mozzarella. Also very unusual to find in the Langhe, there was fresh fish on the menu and I enjoyed seared tuna over a medley of fresh vegetables. (29 Via Vico. Closed Monday and Tuesday for lunch, Phone number: 017 455 8085).
From TorreBarolo, Mondovì is 34 km away and can be reached in about 35minutes. If you felt like some culture combined with some skiing, Prato Nevoso is only another 15min up into the Alps past Mondovì.