If, as far back as 1625, Lord Verulam recommended in his Of Travel that the gentleman destined for the Grand Tour undertake the trip with guides, the same milord - as our fellow citizen Baretti pointed out and not without irony – wouldn’t have allowed himself to visit any place that was not already on everyone's mouth.
I present my modest Baedeker for a Tour of southern Monferrato (Acqui area) to the current day emulators of Phileas Fogg, though without a faithful Passepartout. I was assigned a difficult task: in « a little less than one page» illustrate the attractions of no less than 26 municipalities.
So, I figured I’d come up with finding a sort of game based on the singularities of each town where visitors could, at their leisure, invent a route according to their own interests. There is nothing to prevent the paths from intersecting or overlapping. A sort of Primiera « One, two, three, / I look for the Pope and find the King, / I look for the wise man and find the mad man, / I look for the dog and find the cat,.. », do you remember? Alternatively, a kind of Domino in which, instead of ebony and ivory pieces on the green mat we find what is most tempting of southern Monferrato wishing the welcome guests, as Ferdinando Albertazzi hopes, to transform themselves into the « “definitive travellers” of Baudelaire, satisfied by the unravelling of the journey rather than the destination ».
1. Landscape dominated by Monviso among vineyards and gullies: Alice Bel Colle, Ponzone, Castelletto d’Erro, Montechiaro d’Acqui, Denice, Morbello Ricaldone
2. Towers: Bistagno, Cartosio, Castelletto d'Erro, Cavatore, Denice, Merana, Terzo, Visone
3. rare example of landed Tower: “Torre del Marocco” Morbello.
5 Castles: Castelnuovo Bormida, Melazzo, , and
6 striking remains of Castles, “La Tinazza” Moncrescente of Melazzo, Montechiaro d'Acqui, Morbello, Ponti and Visone
1 Medieval bridge: San Rocco in Spigno Monferrato
3 15th century boundary walls with moat and bridge: Rivalta Bormida, Strevi and Visone
1 Gothic door in the walled enclosure: Pareto.
4 Apses of churches from the Romanesque period: San Lorenzo in Cavatore, San Secondo in Arzello di Melazzo, San Vito in Morsasco, Santi Nazario and Celso in Prasco
4 Churches with Romanesque structures: Santa Maria dell’Assunta in Bistagno, San Michele in Malvicino, Sant’Anna in Montechiaro d'Acqui, San Pietro in Visone.
1 Abbey: San Quintino in Spigno Monferrato, founded in 991.
1 Century-old park: “Il Quartino” already of the Scati Marquises in Melazzo.
4 Museums: in Bistagno, in Montechiaro d'Acqui, Museum of sacred art in Ponzone, Tenco Museum in Ricaldone.
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets.