Guest Post by Richard Noble, Living in the Langhe (all images provided by Richard.)
1. Location, Location, Location!
First off, Novello is in the Barolo zone, a group of just 11 villages in which the King of Wines can be produced. If that wasn’t enough, just take a look at the map.
Barolo Wine Area Map
Barolo, Monforte d’Alba, and La Morra are just a stone’s throw away and should you need to escape the Langhe for any reason (I’m not here to question your motives…), Novello is also perfectly situated for a trip to Bra (the home of Slow Food), Cherasco (the home of snails and amazing chocolate), the mountains or even the Italian Riviera.
2. Give Peace a Chance!
Assuming you were paying attention to my first point, you’ll know by now that Novello is extremely close to some of the Langhe’s best-known villages, but the best thing about it is it is not one of those villages. You see, they are beautiful, they’re crammed with wine bars, tasting rooms, restaurants and wineries, but they can also occasionally be crammed with tourists, particularly on sunny autumn weekends.
Novello, on the other hand, is off the tourist track. Only by a few metres, but off it nonetheless, which means you can wander around, stop for a glass of wine, go for lunch, all in peace and tranquility, far (okay not that far, but far enough) from the madding crowd. And there’s not a single sign offering “Weinproben” (German for “wine tasting”), which for me at least is a relief as it sounds frankly terrifying!
3. Let There Be Wine!
Novello may not be Barolo or La Morra, which between them house hundreds of wine producers, but it does have some extremely good, very friendly producers. It doesn’t quite hit double figures, but with Elvio Cogno, Stra, Vietto, Le Strette, Marenco, Gavetta, Sartirano, and La Pergola it’s got plenty to keep anyone busy for a few days!
4. Have you met my friend Nascetta?
There’s a slight overlap here with point 3 but bear with me… Nascetta del Comune di Novello is Novello’s very own DOCG wine. It’s the only white vine native to the Langhe and until the mid-1800s, it was kind of a big deal. And, then it disappeared. Twenty or so years ago a few local producers, among them Valter Fissore of Elvio Cogno, Sergio Germano of Ettore Germano, and Enrico Rivetto rediscovered it, bringing it back from obscurity.
Nascetta achieved DOCG classification in 2010 and with most Novello winemakers producing it now, it is becoming one of the Langhe’s most sought-after wines. There’s even a film about it! Click to read more on the Nascetta Story.
5. Those Novello Views!
Everywhere in the Langhe has great views and Novello is no exception. With the rolling, castle-topped hills of the Langhe in one direction and the towering Monviso in the other, every day is a photo opp around here!
6. Hungry? Novello has you covered.
Despite its somewhat diminutive proportions, Novello boasts three restaurants, two cafes, and a Gothic-styled Pizzeria. You can’t say that about many towns in the world, let alone in the Langhe… Angolo di Rosina (my personal favourite), Il Grecale, and Barbabuc all serve wonderful local food. Novel Café and Plaza Café are great for a coffee, an aperitivo, a glass of Nascetta, or a quick snack. And, the Gothic Pizzeria is great if you like your pizza with a large serving of knight and dragon murals!
7. There is Room at the Inn (Novello lodging).
Like its wineries, Novello’s accommodation options focus on quality rather than quantity…
- There’s Azienda Agricola Stra, a beautiful winery offering small apartments.
- Rosso di Sera, a B&B with a swimming pool, wonderful views of Monviso and a breakfast spread big enough to keep you going all day.
- There’s the Castello di Novello, a remarkable neo-gothic castle (the inspiration for the pizzeria perhaps) with exceptional views and atmospheric rooms.
- And finally, drumroll please, comes the piece de resistance (or the pezzo di resistenza as no Italian has ever said) – Villa Ribota, a holiday home for up to 12 people with its own swimming pool nestled among the vines. The owners are pretty cool, too.
8. Keeping it Real: Novello is a real town.
This one may sound a bit strange, but with tourism being such a big business these days, it’s getting harder and harder in places like the Langhe or Tuscany to find real, working towns full of normal people.
Novello boasts a petrol station, a newsagent, a bakery, a grocery store, a post office and a school, but most importantly of all it is home to 1000 or so friendly, welcoming, normal inhabitants who are still excited when they hear foreign voices and who still think anyone who moves here from the U.K. or the U.S. is crazy.
9. Did I mention the views?
So good, now I mentioned them twice.
10. The walks – yes, I said walks!
Italy isn’t a country famed for a love of walking. Back when I lived in the U.K. a Sunday wasn’t a Sunday without a nice long country walk and a pub lunch. Here, they definitely have the lunch thing covered, but suggest going for a walk and you’ll get laughed out of town. Except in Novello…
In the past couple of years, a whole network of circular walks has opened up, spreading out from the centre of town through the vines, hazelnut trees, and truffle-rich forests in every direction. Now there’s no excuse for laziness! That said, if walking really isn’t your thing, Novello also has electric bikes for hire.
There you have it. The 10 Reasons to visit Novello — the best in the Langhe.
Keep up on Living in the Langhe’s expat, wine, and villa rental adventures by following the blog, and their social media accounts:
- Website: Living in the Langhe
- Social Media: Living in the Langhe and Villa Ribota on Facebook and find them on Instagram.