Destination Wedding: Montferrat
The Montferrat is that piece of land in the heart of Piedmont, right between the towns of Asti and Alessandria, so rich in History, Culture, traditional cuisine, and landscape beauty, that its enlisting in the World Heritage Sites from Unesco sounds almost redundant. We have some of the world’s greatest wines, a cuisine so varied that spaces from meat to fish, and from risotto to some desserts that made Italian food so well known in the world. All of this under a bright hilly blue sky that has seen some of the most important events in History, such as the Napoleonic Wars and, in the last century, the bombings of WWII and episodes of guerrilla between the partisan forces and the german and fascist militias. Great authors like Beppe Fenoglio and Cesare Pavese, then, made these lands into literary place, that slowly shifted onto the numerous vines, so common around here.
All of this History is still present and alive, shaping what we do. Since ever an important asset in local and international politics due to its enogastronomical and agricultural richness, in the years the inhabitants of the Montferrat made of the quality of their products and defense of the excellence in their modes of production, a matter of identity. In the Montferrat the food is good, and it has to be. Tastes so refined and so accustomed to excellence will not give it up, and therefore we ended up making a business out of it. Even today enogastronomy and agriculture, along with turism, is the main economical strenght of the Montferrat. Our wines are well known throughout the whole world, just think of Barbera, Dolcetto, Moscato and Malvasia. Red, white, sparkling or still, we have all of them, and they are all special. The Piedmont White Truffle attracts tourists from the whole world, in our kitchens and in our festivals.
Why get married in the Montferrat? Historical villas and castle settled among the vines in the hills in Italy’s countryside. People come here to taste the bonet, and they come back to get married among glasses full of Moscato and the famous Risotto. Our perfect climate, cool but never cold, allows us to stage events outdoor simply by going out in the country. Where everything is landscape, you really are spoiled for choice. Castles and old residences are everywhere on the horizon, and they really embody the spirit of the place that surrounds them. The bad taste that takes historical places and makes them into tv sets for luxury weddings is not part of our customs. The summer is the perfect time, for sure, given the moderate altitude that allows even for pool parties without having to feel the heat, but spring and autumn are painted in wonderful colours, so much that they get in your eyes and never leave. To a photographer these details do matter. Every point of view on the surroundings is a potential picture.
Hard to say in reality what period of the year is the best suited. The richness and variety of the local traditional cuisine is such that every season has its gem. Be it spring or summer, there is always something good coming out of the oven. And let’s not forget that wine is always there, waiting for us, no matter what the temperature on the outside is.
In my work as a professional photographer, born and raised in the Montferrat, I have seen them all, but I won’t get tired any time soon. Dinners at dusk in a villa, with soft live music and good wine in the air. Parties on the terrace of a castle, between a nice piece of meat and soft jazz played right next to us. Rural settings, maybe with a pool on the side, where you laugh and you eat until you are completely worn out. Moments like these, you wish they would never end, and to be able to take them and make them last forever as a memory simply by capturing them on paper feels like a gift. One that makes me give it all, every single time.
Hard to think that such a corner is so easy reachable. Tourists from abroad take advantage of the airport in Turin to get here in just a few hours. People from all over Northern Italy, who know already the Montferrat as a summer destination, or sometimes a second home, decide to marry among these hills. They book some of the Hotels, even in huge groups, and they cut themselves a few days break, and then they come home, as if they had just woke up. I guess that life here simply has a different feel, and it is this, more than everything else, the reason people come here to live their most magical days.