Locations and their secrets
Montemagno and Grana are two ancient hamlets providing the setting for the Prediomagno winery. They are in the Lower Asti Monferrato area, between two Unesco sites: the Crea Sacred Mountain Sanctuary (Santuario del Sacro Monte di Crea), a religious location that attracts thousands of visitors every year, and the “infernot”, ancient underground cellars excavated into the “Pietra da Cantoni” rock.
With its lovely, imposing castle whose towers are crowned by battlements, once home to the Marquises of Monferrato, Montemagno is at an altitude of 260 metres above sea level. The village was founded in about the year 1000 A.D., at the top of a hill surrounded by forest, as reflected by its name Mons magnus. The small Romanesque church of San Vittore is exceptionally beautiful: just the bell-tower and apse have survived.
A few kilometres away, Grana Monferrato takes its name from the river flowing down the valley. It is in a privileged position: from the belvedere of the parish church, the extensive views stretch from the hills right across to the Alpine chain. On the road from Grana to Casorzo, you can see the “Bialbero della Felicità” (double tree of happiness), a remarkable botanical monument: a large cherry whose blossom in spring is four metres above the trunk of a centuries-old mulberry. The two trees live in symbiosis, united in a prodigy of nature. The cherry took root on the mulberry. The result is two trees, one on top of the other. In recent times, an elderberry has begun to grow in the natural cavity formed by the mulberry branches.
History, hills, culture, vineyards, nature. This is Monferrato, a land rich in evocative beauty set between two rivers, the Po and the Tanaro. According to legend, it was the reward that the courageous young knight Aleramo received from the emperor Ottone I in about 950 A.D., after a ride of three days and three nights. The same legend also suggests the origin of the name: Aleramo used a brick (“mun” in the local dialect) to shoe the horses (farriery is called “frà” locally), giving rise to the name “Monferrato”.
It is a rolling landscape of fields, vineyards, pastures, olive groves and woods. Here the hills are gentler, interspersed with fascinating villages, Mediaeval castles, ancient watchtowers and small Romanesque churches. The vineyards themselves are home to a valuable, historic heritage of “casot”, traditional buildings in red brick and tuff that the farmworkers used to store their tools, or to rest during the hottest hours of the day. One of the fascinating things about the Monferrato area is its slightly wild side, in which biodiversity is an important value: in addition to cultivated lands, there are forests as well. From September to December in the woods of Monferrato, the valuable white truffle, Tuber Magnatum Pico, is gathered. Monferrato has been an area used to grow vines for centuries: its soils, rich in minerals and organic substances, are derived from the ancient seabed that covered these hills in the period from 5.5 to 3 million years ago. Many indigenous grape varieties are grown: Ruchè Barbera, Nebbiolo and Grignolino.