Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Sirmione and the neighborhood, May 2016

Ten days in the home of the Scaligeri and the heretics



You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Sirmione farewell, and Vignale Monferrato in the Piedmont region

The morning of Tuesday, 17 May 2016, and the Mille Miglia classic cars are traffic-jamming through town to get to Brescia in time for the technical checks and starting gun.

Goodbye to Lago di Garda

Goodbye to the Ristorante San Lorenzo

Goodbye to narrow downtown Sirmione

And goodbye to the teensy 12th century church of Sant’Anna della Rocca, next to the town's gateway . . .

. . . with its 14th to 17th century frescoes.

Goodbye to Sirmione from the grand parking lot

Hello to a police operation on the autostrada. Look sober!

Huge farms along the highway, many abandoned

Look sober!

Roadside attractions from the autostrada

Traveling on the autostrada via Cremona and Piacenza, we've got off at the Alessandria West exit and are presently making our way through the villages of the Monferrato area. This is Mirabello Monferrato.

What on earth is that?

Having passed through Lu without pausing to restock the wine supplies (yet), we're in Conzano and turning left for Camagna.

Approaching Camagna Monferrato . . .

. . . with its distinctive cupola on the Chiesa di Sant'Eusebio.

To the wonderful B+B La Casa nel Vento just short of Vignale Monferrato

With its Kristin-operated security gate. That's our room and balcony above her head.

Spacious, with windows on both sides and a terrace. And wifi.

'The House of the Winds' indeed, but the temperature is perfect today.

Views from the terrace

Squirrel scoping out the possibilities

The comune of Vignale on the nearby hill, 1 km away

We're taking an afternoon walk up to Vignale.

It looks a bit farther away than it did with the zoom lens on.

Closer. Vignale, a comune of about 1,000, dates from very early times and is located about 50km due east of Turin and 17km northeast of Asti. The next village to the southwest is Altavilla Monferrato, where we stayed a few months ago.

Very sadly, Nico Marchis, head of the local unit of the Garibaldi Brigade of anti-fascist partisans, died here at 7 a.m. on 7 April 1945. And someone keeps renewing his flowers.

Camagna in the distance (about 2 km)

Now what?

Looking for real estate bargains

Near the top of the hill, in the Piazza del Popolo

The walls and front of the Callori Palace facing off the southern side of the Piazza del Popolo

The northern end of the huge Counts of Callori Palace, the main block built in about 1700 and this northern wing in about 1800, following the decline of the medieval Callori castle farther up the hill. It passed to the Piedmont Region in 1974 and since 1979 has been the home of the Enoteca Regionale del Monferrato.

The municipio or town hall

The Via Bergamaschino, with a sign for the Infernot Belvedere

The "infernot" is apparently a type of wine cellar carved out of the local rock structure, historically common in the Monferrato region, and the association of internots arranges open-house aperitifs on Sundays. The Callori and Belvedere infernots are Vignale's contribution to the network. The infernots are apparently considered to be part of the World Heritage cultural property, Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, inscribed on the List in 2014.

The Chiesa di San Bartolomeo just up the hill, built between 1772 and 1842 in a "palladian-inspired" style.

A paved yard alongside the church, facing westward

The countryside to the northwest

Farther up the hill, at the highest point in town, is a private chapel and belltower built on the site of the medieval castle of the Counts Callori, which had been destroyed through the 16th and 17th centuries by sieges and assorted lootings, especially in 1556 and 1691.

Downtown, we're scoping out places for dinner for the next two evenings. One was very good, the other was great: the Trattoria Panoramica Sarroc and the "gastropub" Osteria Della Luna.

Back to the Casa nel Vento; tomorrow, Casale Monferrato, former capital of the medieval Marquessate of Monferrato.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 2 August 2016.


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