And then on to Garessio: “the most beautiful hamlet in Italy”.
It’s not an opinion, because the historical centre of Garessio was actually selected by the association itself, which granted the recognition, just to be clear, only to 14 places throughout Piedmont. On reaching the Square of San Giovanni it’s easy to see why.
(The square is) an elegant medieval “parlour” and accomodates the Church of the Confraternity, where a huge painting has recently been installed, depicting the Mortorium (the typical commemoration of Garessio dating back to the middle ages that re-enacts the deposition of Christ from the Cross), painted and donated personally by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The famous designer, among other things, of the Alfa Romeo and BMW, is a native of Garessio and his home is near the square. San Giovanni’s square is enclosed in the so-called Borgo Maggiore, alongside churches, the medieval complex and the remains of the castle.
The bridge gives its name to the heart of the village, to be enjoyed in the evening when the lights render all the small charming buildings, such as the Church of Santa Caterina, even more beautiful. Then, we have the houses of Poggiolo, and a little further outside of the village, Valsorda with its sanctuary. The surrounding greenery and the chestnut groves supply good, fresh air. The chestnut of Garessio thrives here for this reason: it is smallish and is frequently smoke-dried before being marketed; it is rarely distributed in its natural state. It can be found in the woods of the Tanaro Valley, but also in Val Mongia or in Val Casotto. It’s the “gabbiana” variety, typical of colder climes. The month of October is completely dedicated to the chestnut, with a lot of weekend events. During the summer, every year, “il parco delle fonti” (the park of fountains) emerges from its lethargy, as its thermal waters start to flow again. In the evening, the disco is a popular destination.