- Written by Diana Zahuranec
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La Morra may be the first place you want to visit while exploring the wine regions of the Langhe. This 13th century hilltop town with its long curve of medieval walls boasts the greatest number of Barolo producers of all the wine’s regions, as well as the most cultivated land of Nebbiolo vineyards.
Constructed a mere 13 km (8 mi) from Alba, it was under Alba’s rule in its early years, in 1340 passing under the Falletti family, a feudatory of Barolo; but from 1402 this small town had its own code of law. In its texts, in fact, the Nebiolium vine is cited, today’s Nebbiolo, thus documenting some of the oldest roots of La Morra’s fine wine heritage.
Follow your way up the streets until finally reaching the lookout from Piazza Castello. The view sweeps across the whole valley of the Langhe, promising a bellavista during misty morning hours, clear daylight, and in the long-shadowed evening. La Morra’s historical buildings render a walk through its streets artistic and rewarding: the Baroque bell tower in Piazza Castello, the parish church of St. Martino and Church of St. Rocco in Piazza del Municipio. From this piazza you’ll find I Bastioni, the ancient stone walls of the town’s medieval past that drop sheer over the edge and down into the valley.
Not far from Piazza Castello and its fantastic view is the Community Winery (Cantina Comunale), which houses over 70 Barolo producers. Further along is the wine bar and restaurant Vineria San Giorgio, its 300-year-old walls creating an appropriate environment for tasting and purchasing wine, paired with delicious and traditional food. In the past, these old walls held the Gabetti cellars, named after the famous musician Giuseppe Gabetti who lived here in the early 1800s.
Stroll along Via Umberto I until you reach the small Piazza Martiri Patrioti, turning onto Via XX Settembre here. This road is lined with a number of choice stops. First is the Tourist Office with information on events, helpful maps, and wineries. Nearby are two restaurants, L’Osto il Duca Bianco with both traditional dishes and modern takes on old favorites (the comforting and familiar Ravioli del plin with butter and sage; or the filet with a toasty hazelnut crust) and Osteria More e Macine, a cozy restaurant that also has the option of a picnic take-away. Along this street find wine shops, a gelateria, bars, and buildings painted in cheerful colors.
One of the brightest buildings is yet to come. Among the splendor of centuries past, find the Chapel of Barolo a bit outside of La Morra in Borgata Cerequio on the road to Barolo. Built in 1914 and abandoned before its consecration, its walls were taken over by artists David Tremlett and Sol Levitt, who painted it in a rainbow palette of bold colors under the Ceretti family (both wine producers and art lovers).
Not quite as far out and nestled at the foot of La Morra is the Fior di Farine bed and breakfast and organic flour mill. If not in need of a room, enter its bright yellow walls for a tour of its mill The Mulino Sobrino. Heading back up towards the town, pass by Macelleria di Alessandro Garello, a high quality butchery that also supplies meat to participants of the locally famous Mangialonga (“Eat-along”), a moveable feast that takes place every year on the last Sunday in August. The enogastronomic hike follows the wine trails around La Morra with delectable stops along the way to refresh and recharge. The wine glass pouch given at the beginning certainly comes in handy.
Continuing this tasty tour of La Morra, along Via Vittorio Emanuele is the Pastry Workshop of Giovanni Cogno, whose traditional biscotti, cakes, and chocolates are made from high quality ingredients. Taste their specialty chocolate named after the town, the Lamorresi, made with Piedmontese hazelnuts and Barolo wine from the Brunate cru. Down the road from this sweet house is the popular Pizzeria Per Bacco; stop in here if you’d like a taste of what locals are lucky to have: true pizza Napoletana, plus classic Italian and Piedmontese first and second courses.
La Morra is unique and charming in itself; its surrounding villages of dell’Annunziata and Santa Maria only add to this effect. As you make your way through the hills of vineyards and hazelnut groves, stop by these small frazione and their popular eateries. In the Frazione Annunziata, stop by the family-run Osteria Veglio with its impressive wine list and equally impressive view. In Santa Maria Borgata, Ristorante l’Eremodella Gasprina offers a restaurant, rooms, and a cooking school; or check out the Osteria del Vignaiolo. A highly-recommended hotel in the area is Corte Gondina, with modern rooms, a pool, lounge bar, and wellness center.