It’s a quiet summer weekend on Monferrato’s hills, 
land of good wine, in Piedmont.

The landscape of vineyards, villages and hamlets, scattered here and there, is a symphony of colors ranging from deep green of the fruit trees to the dark brown of the earth, in sharp contrast with the blue sky of the hot day.

The grapes are ripening on trees 
...and see some cows grazing in the meadows here and there.

We arrive in Canelli, an ancient rural village a few kilometers from Asti, 
and It’s like taking a journey through time.

The country is ready to recall, as every year,
the historic siege occurred in 1613 by troops of Charles Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers for the conquest of the Duchy of Monferrato, Savoy’s territory.

All the inhabitants of the village are in period costumes, each representing a piece of society: peasants, soldiers, farmers, traders, restaurateurs, nobles and knights.

A nice couple of spouses

People in a public square
Citizens and visitors are fully involved in staging, 
they become witnesses of what's happened in past History. 

They also must follow rules of the “permit” (such as undergo inspections of armed guards around the streets),  and change money with the local currency, named “testoni”, to buy goods or pay for a dinner at the restaurant.

Wine shop....

.....and confectionery

People walks among noises of artillery, improvised duels by swordsmen and street entertainment.

We climb in the crowd, up the narrow streets of the village
grew up on a hill... 
Happy people!

...Till we get to the Gancia’s castle, 
where we can enjoy the spectacular scenery 
offered by the fertile lands of Monferrato hills, 
illuminated by the magic glow of the Italian sun.

Nice panorama...
Old houses
In the evening we can dine sitting among 
with the protagonists of History.

The old taverns reproduce the same meals 
prepared at least five centuries ago and 
the excellent local wine fills the long tables set up.

This is the land of Barbera, Dolcetto, the Freisa and Moscato d’Asti.

Here we have some of the best wine cellars of Italy.

Typical meal

Old wine cellar
At dusk a long procession grows in the streets: peasants, farmers, soldiers 
(also arrived from other provinces and countries of Europe), commanders and nobles. 
All mixed to the public.

English soldiers
They walk towards the field where the armies will start the battle. 
 Not only Italians, but French, Scottish, and English people 
are here for the occasion: to be part of the siege.

Autentic English girls...
...and scottish boys (a fake!)

When the moon rises 
the guns and the cannons start to thunder.

It’s the beginning of the mother battle, 
which will end only with the fire of the Gancia's castle, 
on top of the hill.

Between fights and celebrations
the siege ends only on Sunday evening, 
with the expulsion of the invaders from the old town.

And the History, the real one in 1613, how did it end?

The Duke of Savoy, to reward the loyalty and the indispensable help received from the people of Canelli, officially exempted citizens from paying taxes for thirty years.

A couple of the protagonists of the History
Such a dream for us, in the XXI century, 
in a country like Italy.

Serves eight people


A half liter of fresh milk
four fresh eggs
six tablespoons of granulated sugar
two tablespoons of cocoa powder
50 gr macaroons (amaretti bisquits)
two tablespoons of rum


Beat the eggs in a bowl, add four tablespoons of sugar, cocoa, crushed amaretti biscuits with your hands, liquor and milk. Mix gently.
Then switch to the preparation of caramel.

Heat two tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan until light brown, then sprinkle a bit ‘of water and stir the pot by turning on the flame alive.

The operation is finished when the caramel has consistency and has darkened glass.

Then pour it hot on the bottom and sides of the pudding mold kept warm to facilitate its flow: moving and tilting the mold to obtain a uniform coat that gradually solidifies.

Put into the pudding mold the mixture (bonet) and bake it in oven at 180 degrees, at water-bath for thirty minutes.

Cool in the refrigerator and serve, if you like, decorated by whipped cream.

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