The name derives from the presence of a Benedictine monastery, built in the first half of XI century, near the river Belbo. A small town in the Langhe area, in the province of Cuneo, situated on a hill, the carefully preserved old town, still features the main characteristics of a medieval village. The town is surrounded by an unspoilt nature. This scenario is particularly attractive, a destination for trekking and walking fans in direct contact with the environment, which inspired the famous writer Beppe Fenoglio who spent some memorable Summer holidays here and was hopelessly fascinated. The local inhabitants have kept a close link with the Benedictine traditions, expressed during the Micùn, a rite that includes the blessing and distribution of bread on Holy Thursday and the tradition of choral singing.
It is widely believed that the villages of the Langhe area have ancient origins: in particular, in the valley of the river Belbo, there are traces of a settlement built by Ligurian tribes, which, in later times, were joined by the Celts. The Romans colonized the territory during the III century B.C., after a long period of rule by the existing populations. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the whole area submitted the invasion and sequential looting of the Barbarians, the Lombards, the Franks and the Saracens.
In 1033 the Marquis Adalbert II donated some of the lands of the Langhe to the Benedictines and some years later the monks built here the first houses and the monastery, around which was later constituted a large village. In the Middle Ages the territory belonged, over the centuries, to the Marquis of Monferrato, to the Saluzzo Family and to the Del Carretto Family, that in the XV century surrendered to the Duke of Milan. In the second half of the XV century the town was proclaimed municipality and acquired a series of tax exemptions and administrative rights. From the XVI to the XVIII century the entire Langhe region was dominated first by the French and then by the Spanish. In 1735 the Savoy took over the rule of the area until 1796, when Napoleon's troops arrived. With the fall of Napoleon Empire, the Savoy regained possession of their lands.
Not to miss:
- the Parish of Our Lady of Snow, whose construction began in 1649 on the ruins of the castle;
- the rural Chapels built in gratitude to the Saints, by the survivors of the plague of the XVII century. The most important ones are the Chapel of Our Lady of Buscajìn, the Chapel of San Rocco, the Chapel of San Luigi and the Chapel of San Sebastiano;
- the remains of the fortified walls of the ancient castle dating from the XIII century;
- la Porta Sottana bearing the coats of arms of the Del Carretto Family;
- Contrada Casazza.
- Lake Verna, a recently created reservoir, built along the river Belbo and is ideal for picnics and fishing;
- the water spring of the Agrifoglio Region which it reachable only after crossing the fields of the Alta Langa and the Woods dell'Agrifoglio.