Big Bench Community Project in Piedmont, Tour and itinerary
Nestled within the scenic landscapes of Piedmont, the Big Bench Community Project offers more than just seating arrangements; it’s an artistic and cultural journey. Birthed from the imaginative genius of Chris Bangle, these oversized benches are not just designed for the sheer fun of feeling momentarily small, but they also aim to enhance and bring attention to the sublime beauty of the Piedmontese countryside.
As these benches emerge, they act as beacons, attracting travelers and locals alike to lesser-known spots in the region, promoting local businesses, artisans, and the sheer natural splendor of the area. From the verdant vineyards of Langhe to the historical narratives of Roero and the undulating hills of Monferrato, these benches tell a story – of the land, of the people, and of the symbiotic relationship between the two.
Ready to embark on this unique journey? Let’s dive into an itinerary that not only covers some of the most picturesque benches but also introduces you to the enchanting nooks and crannies of Piedmont. This tour will not only satiate your wanderlust but will also provide ample opportunities for Instagram-worthy snapshots, sumptuous local cuisine, and deep dives into the art, culture, and history of the region.
What is Big Bench Community Project in Langhe, Roero e Monferrato
The Big Bench Community Project is a unique and fascinating initiative that began in the Piedmont region of Italy. Here’s a brief overview: The project started with the idea of Chris Bangle, an American designer who lives in the Piedmont region. Inspired by the picturesque landscapes and the communal spirit of the region, Bangle designed and installed oversized benches – literally, “big benches” – in various scenic spots. These benches, given their size, encourage visitors to experience the world from a different perspective, almost as if through the eyes of a child. They are not just seating places but also interactive artworks that transform the environment.
Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato: The regions of Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato, renowned for their wines, truffles, and UNESCO World Heritage landscapes, have embraced the Big Bench project enthusiastically. The benches are often located in spots that offer panoramic views of vineyards, historic towns, and rolling hills, making them popular photo spots for both locals and tourists.
Community Involvement: What makes the Big Bench Community Project especially heartwarming is the involvement of local communities. Local artisans, businesses, and residents come together to build and maintain these benches. Each bench, while adhering to the original design in terms of size and shape, takes on a unique color and character, often reflecting the spirit of its location.
Certainly! Let’s craft three distinct SEO-friendly titles and present the itineraries in a clearer, more schematic manner in English.
The Big Bench Phenomenon in Piedmont
In the picturesque landscapes of Piedmont, there’s an unusual sight that has been capturing the hearts and cameras of both locals and travelers: the Big Benches. These are not your ordinary seats but rather oversized wooden benches that provide not only a resting spot but also a unique perspective on the surrounding beauty of the region.
Numbers and Origins:
As of my last update in September 2021, there were several Big Benches scattered across the Piedmont region, with a significant number found specifically in Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato. The exact count can vary as new benches are continuously added to the project. The very first of these benches was installed in 2010 in La Morra, a town in the Langhe region. This innovative idea, conceived by the American designer Chris Bangle, was not only to create an art piece but to elevate the experience of the visitors and locals, allowing them to “see” the landscape as if through the eyes of a giant.
The Purpose of the Passport:
The Big Bench Community Project has also introduced a “passport” system. This isn’t a legal document but a fun way to keep track of the benches you’ve visited. As you travel from one bench to another, you can collect unique stamps in this passport, making it both a keepsake and a record of your journey. Additionally, it encourages exploration of the Piedmont region, driving tourists to local businesses, artisans, and hidden gems that they might not have discovered otherwise. This passport thus serves as a symbolic journey map, making the exploration of Piedmont through its benches a memorable adventure.
1. Langhe Wine and Scenery: A One-Day Exploration
Embark on a wine-soaked journey through Langhe, beginning in the historic town of Alba, famous for its truffles. A short drive leads to Barolo, where you can experience wine tasting at Terre del Barolo and visit the Castello Falletti and its Wine Museum. Afterwards, head to La Morra to enjoy the panoramic views from the “Belvedere of La Morra” and dine at Osteria Veglio. Conclude your day with a visit to the majestic Castello di Serralunga in Serralunga d’Alba before heading back to Alba.
Duration: 1 day
Estimated Cost: €150 per person
- Explore Alba’s historic center and savor its famous truffles.
Stop 1: Barolo (20-min drive from Alba)
- Activity: Wine tasting at Terre del Barolo. Cost: €25.
- Attraction: Castello Falletti and Wine Museum.
Stop 2: La Morra (10-min drive from Barolo)
- Activity: Stroll the panoramic “Belvedere of La Morra”.
- Lunch: Osteria Veglio. Estimated cost: €40.
Stop 3: Serralunga d’Alba (15-min drive from La Morra)
- Attraction: Visit Castello di Serralunga.
2. Roero’s Hidden Gems: Wine, Nature, and History
Start your day in the picturesque town of Bra. After wandering its charming streets, set off for Canale and immerse yourself in the rich flavors of Roero wines at the Matteo Correggia Winery. Journey onward to Montà, taking in the beauty of the Rocche del Roero Nature Park, followed by a traditional meal at Trattoria delle Rose. As your day comes to a close, explore the historic splendor of the Castello di Guarene in Guarene before making your way back to Bra.
Duration: 1 day
Estimated Cost: €130 per person
- Breakfast and wander around Bra’s charming center.
Stop 1: Canale (20-min drive from Bra)
- Activity: Wine tasting at Matteo Correggia Winery. Cost: €20.
Stop 2: Montà (10-min drive from Canale)
- Activity: Visit Rocche del Roero Nature Park.
- Lunch: Trattoria delle Rose. Estimated cost: €35.
Stop 3: Guarene (15-min drive from Montà)
- Attraction: Explore Castello di Guarene.
3. Monferrato Majesty: UNESCO Cellars and Thermal Springs
Experience Monferrato’s cultural and natural wonders starting in Asti, where the grandeur of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta awaits. Drive to Nizza Monferrato and savor a wine tasting session at Bava Winery. As you continue to Canelli, uncover the magic of the UNESCO-recognized underground cellars and refuel at Osteria La Curia. The therapeutic waters of Acqui Terme provide a serene ending, with a stroll around the thermal springs and a visit to “La Bollente” before returning to Asti.
Duration: 1 day
Estimated Cost: €140 per person
- Dive into Asti’s history with a visit to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.
Stop 1: Nizza Monferrato (30-min drive from Asti)
- Activity: Wine tasting at Bava Winery. Cost: €20.
Stop 2: Canelli (15-min drive from Nizza Monferrato)
- Activity: Discover the UNESCO-recognized underground cellars.
- Lunch: Osteria La Curia. Estimated cost: €40.
Stop 3: Acqui Terme (20-min drive from Canelli)
- Activity: Relaxing walk around the thermal springs and visit “La Bollente”.
Note: All driving times, costs, and venues are estimates and can vary. It’s advised to book tastings and meals in advance and to verify the most up-to-date operating hours and costs before embarking on your journey.
Big Bench in Langhe, Alba and Surroundings
The meticulously curated list of giant benches spread across various provinces in Italy serves as a roadmap for travelers and enthusiasts. Traversing from the Capital of Truffle in Alba, and winding through Barolo, Clavesana, and beyond, this itinerary paints a colorful and vivid journey not just of benches, but of the rich cultural tapestry of each region. Each bench, with its distinct number and color, tells a unique story, and collectively they knit together the diverse landscapes, from the bustling town squares to the serene countryside, offering visitors a seat to pause, reflect, and immerse in the beauty of Italy.
Moreover, the beauty of this journey lies not just in the aesthetic appeal of the benches but in the strategic layout. The route is thoughtfully planned to ensure an optimal travel experience, minimizing backtracking and maximizing the exposure to the array of landscapes and cultures. Whether one is a first-time traveler to Italy or a seasoned visitor, this journey promises a fresh perspective, one that combines art, culture, and the simple joy of discovering a giant bench waiting to share its tale.
|Diano d’Alba||nr. 65||Maroon|
|Montelupo Albese||nr. 100||Yellow/White|
Big Bench Barolo and Surroundings
|Monforte d’Alba||nr. 12||Purple|
|Monforte d’Alba||nr. 6||Pink|
|Dogliani||nr. 13||Light Blue and Red|
Big Bench Clavesana and Surroundings
|Cigliè||nr. 43||Red and Silver|
Big Bench Asti and Surroundings
As the journey continues through the heart of Piedmont, one is enchanted by the mesmerizing landscapes of Asti, with its rolling vineyards and historical sites. The benches here, in their resplendent hues, invite travelers to relish panoramic vistas, sipping on the region’s famous wines.
|Canelli||nr. 38||Sky Blue|
|Costigliole d’Asti||nr. 41||Lime|
|Rocchetta Palafea||nr. 50||Dark Green|
Big Bench Turin and Surroundings
Moving northward towards Turin, the capital of the region, one can’t help but be swept up by the grandeur of the city. Here, the benches are more than just resting places; they are storytellers, chronicling tales of royalty, revolutions, and renaissances.
|Bra||nr. 55||Forest Green|
|Ceres||nr. 60||Deep Purple|
|Susa||nr. 65||Navy Blue|
Big Bench Cuneo and Surroundings
Journeying further to the province of Cuneo, the benches serve as gateways to the area’s rich tapestry of art, nature, and gastronomy. From the chocolaty hues of the Cuneo bench to the peachy undertones in Busca, each bench is a sensory experience waiting to be unraveled. It’s a testament to the charm of the region that the very objects meant for pause and relaxation compel one to explore and discover more. Whether it’s the medieval architecture, the lush valleys, or the culinary delights, these giant benches ensure every traveler leaves with memories as vivid and varied as the colors they’re painted in.
|Bene Vagienna||nr. 73||Royal Blue|
Visiting the Benches in Langhe, Roero and Monferrato
The benches have become mini-tourist attractions in their own right. Visiting them offers an excellent excuse to explore lesser-known parts of these regions, enjoy the outdoors, and engage with the local communities. Due to their oversized nature, they also provide a fun and immersive experience, where adults can feel like kids again.
Conclusion: The Big Bench Community Project is more than just an art installation. It’s a celebration of community spirit, local craftsmanship, and the stunning beauty of the Piedmont landscapes, especially in Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato. Whether you’re a local rediscovering your own backyard or a tourist exploring for the first time, the big benches promise a unique and delightful experience.