Italy
Provincia di Asti

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37 travelers at this place:

  • Day3

    Auf dem Weg von Asti nach Turin

    September 9, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Wir sind auf dem Weg nach Turin und dann weiter am südlichen Fuß des Colle delle Finestro Passes vorbei. Den Schotter- und Geröllpass werden wir heute auslassen und stattdessen gleich die zweite Tagesaufgabe ansteuern: den Cole d‘Izorad in den französischen Alpen (2.360 m).

  • Day66

    Castell'Alfero Day 1

    November 6, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☁️ 10 °C

    Breakfast then a walk up to the the “Osteria” (a type cafe/restaurant) for Anne’s early morning coffee (no hot chocolate so I had to have a tea). These are great little places where the locals turn up for a quick coffee pick me up. They often shut for a couple of hours, from late morning, before reopening in the afternoon - this place also does dinners so I booked for Friday night.

    After coffee we set off Cereseto, a little very old village where mum was born (for years we thought it was Ottiglio, but this is where the family moved soon after). We got to the village and found the Municipal Office - there really isn’t any much else there.

    We told the guy behind the counter why we were there. He disappeared for a few minutes and came back with a large very old birth register. He flipped through a few pages and quickly found mum’s birth registration - it was a lot quicker and easier than I thought it would be. We took photos of the record (and I almost immediately sent a copy to my sister Mary). There’s the usual information including about parents etc. - it really was terrific and I’m pretty sure mum would/is be happy 😃 too. We had a good walk around Cereseto with its tiny streets. It’s small but beautiful.

    After Cereseto we headed off to Sala to see if we could get birth records for my dad. We found the Municipal Office but the woman behind the counter was about to close up and the office doesn’t reopen until Friday (I told you it was small). We had a walk around Sala to have a good look around and had a quick chat to a local (an elderly lady) and the conversation went a bit liked this:
    Her - “where are you from?”
    Me - “Australia”
    Her - “I went to Austria once”
    Me - “nice but we’re from Australia”
    Her - “If I wasn’t so old I’d go back to Austria for another visit”
    Me - “no I’m from Australia not Austria”
    Her - “I know but I like Austria”
    Me - “nice talking to you bye”

    She also mentioned that there are more dead people in the cemetery than live people in the houses!!!!!! I wonder how many of them (dead or alive have been to Austria- probably not many to Australia).

    Anne and I found the cemetery (it is pretty big and I wouldn’t be surprised if the old lady was right) and had a look to see if we could find any of my family. Anne found a grave with a picture of a woman that she thought had a Francia family resemblance and we took a photo. We found out later she was right, it was my grandmother!!!

    We went for a drive to Ottiglio where mum grew up and I think we found the building where mum and her family lived (residence above a small shop they owned).

    After Ottiglio we set off to Asti for a look around and Anne found a street market. Being the wonderful person I am, I followed her through the about 75 stores where she bought one coin purse🤷‍♂️.

    A gelato later we headed back to Castell’Alfero. Before dinner we had an evening walk around the village.
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  • Day65

    Bergamo to Castell'Alfero

    November 5, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    I’ve really been looking forward to this part of the trip - we’re off to Piedmont. This region is in the northern part of Italy (think Turin and the Olympic Winter Games of 2006). My mum and dad were born here in little rural/rustic villages (all cobblestone streets, terracotta tiles and washing hanging outside windows). We booked a little apartment next to an old castle in a small, very old, hilltop town called Castell’Alfero (near Asti - I’m sure many of you would have, in your youth, drunk too much Asti Spumante). It should also be a nice drive through Piedmont - in Italy Piedmont is as famous for wine as Tuscany is, and more famous for food (home of Nutella for a start!!). It’s just that the Italians want to keep it a secret for themselves.

    Before heading off we had breakfast at a close-by cafe, thought we’d have something traditionally Italian like bacon and egg sandwiches. We didn’t get what you would get at home. Instead we got two pieces of un-toasted bread with pancetta and fried eggs on top, some greens and tomato. Not bad, if only they supplied cutlery!!!

    We had a bit of a hiccup with our navigation and ended up going through the middle of Milan. There’s Italian traffic, and then there’s Milan traffic. We ended up doing some pretty radical turns and crossing lanes but eventually we got out of Dodge. After this the drive is pretty normal, but once you hit the hills of Piedmont it’s just plain beautiful. Rolling green hills with small towns throughout the valleys. But, most spectacular, almost every hill has a castle or church sitting atop with a village rolling down the side - it’s hard to keep an eye on the road.

    We arrived at Castell’Alfero early/mid afternoon after a drive up the hill towards the castle. The road has signs showing you must carry snow chains between November and April. It’s cold, but not that cold yet. The village looks like it hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. The castle itself is thought to be about a 1,000 years old - most of the people who live here look old enough to have been there when the foundation stone was laid 😛. Anne and I definitely brought down the average age of the town population!!!.

    The apartment we booked for 6 nights is 3-stories (tall but reasonably narrow). It’s on a one-way cobbled street. We’re living in Italy!!!!! Anne unpacked while I had a walk through the village and used a couple of locals to try out my Piedmontese (local dialect of the region and quite different/seperate to Italian - I t’s actually so different that UNESCO has classified it as a language). Let’s just say I did okay but maybe there was a smattering of both Italian and English words thrown in - when in doubt add an “A” or an “O” to the end of an English word and it sounds Italian, even if it makes no sense.

    During the next few days we get to start exploring and visit the birth places of my mum and dad (Sala and Cereseto - see what I mean by the “O” and “A”).

    More tomorrow.
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  • Day26

    Lomardy

    May 12, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Not a very exciting drive (a slow crawl beside the lake followed by many kilometres on a straight road across the Lombardy plain). Again we found a lovely place to stay. Big country house hotel, set in pretty gardens, with an excellent restaurant. And a theatrical barman giving us cocktails in the garden. Tomorrow we shall tour a little instead of driving the kilometres down.Read more

  • Day68

    Castell’Alfero Day 3

    November 8, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    Off today (without time for Anne’s coffee hit - she is going to go through withdrawal 😛) to Sala to see if we can get my dad’s records. The woman at the office was really helpful and we soon had a copy of the birth registration details. She then asked us if we wanted to see something interesting - of course!!!

    We followed her downstairs to a large underground round shaped room (made of old brick) with a chute to the outside at the top. Have a guess what this was used for? Before the days of electricity and freezers/fridges, people would harvest ice from high up in the mountains and cart it back to be stored for sale to the local town’s people. Workers would go down into the room and chop of hunks of ice to be hand winched to the top. As the ice was sold it was replenished.

    We headed off to the town of Casala Monferrato to do some laundry - there’s no end to the excitement. I even managed to help some locals out by showing them how to use the machines (even though we hadn’t read the instructions and there was twice the amount of detergent you are supposed to use in our machines and we now smell like a walking soap factory!!!).

    I also let them know they weren’t allowed to wash their horses, dogs or cats in the machines. They looked at me as if I was some sort of idiot (so did Anne when I mentioned to her what I’d said to them). I said “well have a look at the instructions on the machine, it’s even illustrated to make sure there is no misunderstanding”. See the photo below if you don’t believe me😛).

    Headed off to visit the city of Alessandria before going home. We had a coffee here, and a cannoli that tasted the same as a type of zabaglione we used to make as kids after school.

    Tomorrow we’re visiting some of my cousins - looking forward to seeing them (Anne and I actually visited them about 13 yeas ago when we were here).
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  • Day71

    Pio's place at Asti

    November 11, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 6 °C

    We’re staying with Pio tonight before heading to Bologna tomorrow. His house is (beautiful and located at the edge of Asti) is built on 3 levels (the bottom built into the ground includes two “Salas” (dining/entertaining rooms - each with a fireplace/BBQ). We got there at 3.30 pm and sat around the kitchen table talking right through until 10.30 pm (Pio managed to cook us a great dinner at the same time). I have to mention dinner - Anne went right out of her comfort-zone and ate agnolotti made with donkey meat!!!! She probably won’t ever have it again, but said it was fine😁. Anne said the home made wine was also very good. Cheese and honey for desert - I think we’ll bring that idea back home with us.

    A really really nice day with a really really nice and generous host.

    Tomorrow we head to Bologna.
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  • Day67

    Castello'Alfero Day 2

    November 7, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    It was supposed to rain today so we were going to have a lazy restful day (we’ve been on the go for over 2 months now). But, it’s not raining so out we go !!!! Had to drop in to our local cafe so Anne can have her morning coffee hit before a walk around the the “bottom of the hill” part of town.

    Ended up at the town of Moncalvo where we had lunch at a restaurant that was recommended to us as having very good Piemontese cuisine. From the outside it’s just a door in a building - I wasn’t even sure if it was open. We went through, and like a lot of these places, all the action was “out the back”. It’s a set menu with a small selection of antipasti, small selection of first and second plates and then a desert selection. The meal was fantastic, I had agnolotti (a local version of ravioli) and it tasted just like my mum used to make - perfect. By the time we left the place was packed (50 plus people) on a Thursday.

    After taking a few phots of Castell’Alfero we did end up have a lazy afternoon back at the apartment. The photos will show you how pretty the town and area are - tomorrow will head back to Sala and see if we can get my Dad’s birth information.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Provincia di Asti, Asti

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