Highlights of this trip

  • To discover the smallest city in Italy
  • To savor the excellent wine produced by the local winemakers
  • To get lost in the maze of alleys of the historic center
  • To admire a wonderful panorama from the top of the castle
  • To admire the wonderful masterpieces in the Civic Museum
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Your must-have travel gadget for this trip

A good Camera :)

Best things to do in Moncalvo

Moncalvo, on the Asti hills, is the smallest city in Italy, this is a land of good wine
Moncalvo, is a small village located in the province of Asti. Or rather it would be the case to say city. Indeed it is the smallest town that boasts the title of city. Located halfway between Asti and Casale Monferrato, its history goes back to Roman times. Owned by the church of Asti, but also by the Marquis of Monferrato first to that of Saluto, then. The history of Moncalvo also passes from the Gonzaga family to that of the Savoy family. It was Vittorio Amedeo III of Savoy who declared it a city, reconfirming the title that had already been attributed by the Duke of Mantua Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga on 23 March 1705.

Post Creator Moncalvo, detail of the historic center

Travel tips

Moncalvo is a small village, indeed, the smallest city in Italy, but it boasts excellent wine production, being located halfway between the Monferrato and the Asti hills. So those who arrive here must take into account that sooner or later they will end up in the "cellar". And here the wine shop is truly special because it is the place where the wine production of the area is found. And if the visit coincides with the White Truffle Fair, in October, it is the top. The ideal period for a visit is summer, when the heat is nagging, here you can breathe fresh air thanks to the hilly position of the village. The cuisine is also the typical Piedmontese one with typical meats and cheeses. Prices, of course, for all budgets. You can eat well even if you are cheap. The village is located in an exceptional panoramic area and from the Montegaurdo hill or from the ramparts, exceptional photographs can be taken.

What to see in Moncalvo

Post Creator Moncalvo, view of the surrounding hills

The smallest city in Italy offers a maze of streets in the historic center that are a succession of palaces and historic buildings, churches, and small shops, all imbued with a retro atmosphere, such as via XX Settembre, the ancient commercial heart of the city. The other peculiarity of the village is that it has two neighboring squares. Then the wine shop, a long tunnel, formerly a patrol walkway for soldiers, where you can taste the local wine production.

The buildings

The visit to Moncalvo can begin by discovering the city's historic buildings, such as the house of the Marquises of Monferrato, built around the middle of the 15th century, and an example of late medieval architecture, with particular carved wooden ceilings.
Palazzo Testa Fochi from the first half of the 16th century or Palazzo Mancorda, one of the few examples of Renaissance architecture still visible in Moncalvo. Casa Montanari has the particularity of having a terrace above the sacristy of the church of Sant'Antonio Abate.

Post Creator Moncalvo, Casa Lanfrancone

One of the most evocative palaces is Casa Lanfrancone, which has a nineteenth-century appearance, even if it is of older construction. Only very few traces of its gothic appearance remain. The historical sign written with golden strokes is interesting.

The castle

The castle of Moncalvo dates back to the early years of the fourteenth century and was built on the hill from which you could see the boundaries between the borders between the committees of Torresana-Monferrato and Asti. Initially it was a residential building for the Marquises of Moferrato. In the mid-1500s its function was changed, transforming it into a defensive structure. It gradually lost importance and was partially dismantled under the domination of the Savoy. Reduced to a simple ruin, Napoleon in 1812 granted it in partial use to the Municipality, who bought it in 1858 for the sum of 4000 lire. After 20 years it was decided to partially destroy the remains to make room for a square to be used as a market and with a large portico.

Post Creator Moncalvo, Piazza Carlo Alberto seen from the castle tower

As evidence of the ancient castle, today remain the two imposing towers that overlook the Carlo Alberto square, connected by walkways. The first of the two towers house the Moncalvo Wine Shop while the other is used for other purposes. The two towers are joined by the patrol walkway. Surviving the sieges that took place during the 17th-century Franco-Spanish war, the towers are the most fascinating viewpoint in Moncalvo.

The Civic Museum

The smallest Italian city preserves very rich works of art in the Civic Museum where you can admire important masterpieces signed, among others, by Giorgio Morandi, Modigliani and Chagall and many other painters of the twentieth century. In the rooms housed in the convent that once belonged to the Ursulines, works of African art and a collection of Japanese art are also exhibited.

The two connected squares

It is not often to find two joined squares, in Moncalvo, Piazza Carlo Alberto is adjacent to Piazza Garibaldi. The first overlooks the Synagogue which belonged to one of the oldest and most influential Jewish communities in Piedmont. Piazza Garibaldi, on the other hand, is home to a historic theater dating back to 1878.

Post Creator Moncalvo, the Municipal Theater in Piazza Garibaldi

The churches of Moncalvo

Post Creator Moncalvo, the interior of the sanctuary of Mother Teresa

The oldest existing cult building in Moncalvo is the Church of the Madonna delle Grazie, formerly the parish seat in the period from 1536 to 1623. The building is the only work by Magnocavalli to have been completed according to the original project dating back to the period 1756- 58. The temple was built on the site of a previous church. The interior is a hall and opens onto four side chapels, while the presbytery is raised by two steps and bordered by a 1761 balustrade in polychrome marble. The stucco decoration that covers the whole environment is remarkable.

Post Creator Moncalvo, Church of Sant'Antonio abate

In via XX Settembre stands the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate, and was built where an oratory dedicated to the saint existed before 1459. The church underwent several alterations and was rebuilt in 1623. The sacristy dates back to 1700, the bell tower was completed in 1744. It has a stone staircase from 1882. The interior is a hall and preserves several paintings. On the Monteguardo relief there is the Church of San Francesco. It was built by the Minori Conventuali around 1272. The current facade dates back to 1932 on a project by the architect Vittorio Mesturino, who took up the ancient drawings. The interior has three naves. Interesting are the frescoes by Mario Micheletti in which the Canticle of the Creatures is represented in the central dome and the Stories of Salvation in the apse. In the sacristy, you can admire the painting “Madonna Enthroned with Child and Saints. Martino and Rocco ”by Bartolomeo Bonone.

The Moncalvo wine shop

Halfway between Asti and Casale Monferraro, in the land of wines, the wine shop could not be missed, which is located inside one of the fourteenth-century towers. It is a very special place that develops inside a long tunnel, once a walkway for soldiers
Here you can enjoy a good glass of red wine from the producers of the Moncalvo area.

Post Creator Moncalvo, Church of San Francesco

How do I get to Moncalvo

Moncalvo can be reached by car from the A26 Genova Gravellona Toce motorway, Vercelli Ovest exit, then continue on the Sp 455 and on the Sp 457var to the destination

Where to stay in Moncalvo?

It was a day trip, but there are excellent overnight options in the area. I recommend the agritursmo, so you stay in contact with nature

Photography tips

Where to photograph?

The best place to take pictures in Moncalvo is the top of the castle tower. Pay attention to the opening hours!

My Camera

Panasonic Z 1000

Is any special equipment needed?

I used a zoom. For photos in the city streets a wide angle is recommended. From the hill of the church of San Francesco, with the drone you can get spectacular images of the village.

Sightseeing tips

Which sights to visit?

the best places to visit are the ones I wrote. as for the churches, they are not always open. Some can be visited by appointment. Ask locally

Is there a fee to pay to visit some sights?

Entrance to the museum requires the payment of a ticket

When to visit?

I recommend visiting Moncalvo on weekdays, you can enjoy this town to the fullest

3. Travel Insurance

Why WorldNomads has impressed us so much?

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