Santo Stefano Belbo
The town is named after the first martyr of Christianity, Santo Stefano, and after the Belbo river, which flows through the centre. Strategically located at the beginning of the road leading from Alba through the entire Belbo valley, this territory played a key role during the Roman era, as well as the Middle Ages. The valley has always been a land of monasteries, with communities of Cistercians and Discalced Franciscans working in Santo Stefano between 1600 and 1840. Major historical and artistic legacy includes the Sacro Cuore di Gesù, a beautiful church housing a 10th century copper cross. Santo Stefano Belbo is the emblem of Cesare Pavese’s poetry. The author was born and spent most of his youth there, developing a love-hate relationship with the area, which found its highest expression in Pavese’s novel The Moon and the Bonfires.
Castagnole delle Lanze
The earliest evidence of Castagnole delle Lanze dates back to the Roman era, most likely because the town lay along a branch of the Via Emilia. One of the most eventful moments in the history of Castagnole, however, was in the Middle Ages, under Manfred I, known as Manfredi Lancia. The feud was later handed over to Valentina Visconti on her marriage with Louis de Valois, Duke of Orléans. In 1573, part of the territory came under the control of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, and, later on, of the Alfieri family. The municipal territory of Castagnole delle Lanze is composed of two separate areas, one rising uphill, and one lying in the new town, which was founded in the early 1900s, and is the “powerhouse” of the local economy (with winemaking playing a key role).