On the road aboard “Lumachina”
We leave Nizza Monferrato in the province of Asti in the Piedmont region, capital of the last of the great Piedmontese red wines, the Nizza Docg, after two days of visits and tastings in the local wineries
and presentation of my two books published by the Italian publishing house “Echos Edizioni”: LA MASCHERA a novel, an international thriller of 328 pages inspired by current events mostly occurring between 2017 and the end of 2019 and IN VIAGGIO CON MANEKI the latest book published, a narrative of a sailing trip in the Atlantic Ocean among the Canary Islands.
Walking along narrow roads up and down through vineyards and woods, we keep Alba (Cuneo province) and its truffle fair on the left, too much chaos, we continue to Barolo and then head to Novello, land of the great king of Italian red wines (Barolo Docg), and so at a very slow pace we reach the valley floor.
By now the sun has set, every now and then a few small queues of roaring cars form behind us, “Lumachina”undaunted: first, second, third, fourth and we reach the hamlet of Pra (about 15 km from Barolo) in Bene Vagienna (CN), ancient town of Roman origin, and so Villa Amai, a beautiful B&B obtained in a beautiful and colorful manor house of the early ‘900 surrounded by a lush park now tinged with the colors of autumn, all around woods suitable for white truffle hunting (which at night turn into a hiding place for wild animals).
We cross the large iron gate and park in the adjacent gardens, a beautiful green space for my camper, “Lumachina”, translated into Italian little snail (a 1986 Ford Transit MK2 camper ), immediately makes friends with a beautiful 1977 Ford Transit MK1 pickup parked nearby while,
we are greeted by its managers: Francesca and Taka, both globetrotters. She is an Italian artist who has lived between America, Europe and Asia (she spent a lot of time in India, also invited to exhibit her works of art between Delhi and Calcutta), he is a Japanese photographer (he also lived for a period in India).
Francesca shows us our room while Taka uncorks a good bottle of red wine, a Dogliani Docg, which we later discover to be exceptional, if I remember correctly from 2015. The private cellar of “Villa Amai” is very well served, there are some of the best labels of fine wines from the Langa, Roero and Monferrato area but also from other regions of Italy, vintages that are often difficult to find such as Barolo Docg, Barbaresco Docg, Roero Docg, Amarone Docg, Brunello Di Montalcino Docg and many other names ranging from 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, up to the most current ones.
The room is very bright, Francesca’s art can be breathed everywhere, terracotta floors that take us back to the past, the bathroom with a modern design using materials from the past, very welcoming.
Tonight “Lumachina” will stay with her new companion and we will enjoy the hearth and especially the bed of this beautiful very big room.
Nice to wake up in the morning to the chirping of birds, the sound of leaves blowing in the wind among the treetops.
Francesca prepares us a royal breakfast served in antique porcelain, silver spoons, decorated fine glass glasses, delicious food all handmade on the spot, mother “Luciana”‘s jam tart cake, cappuccino, orange juice , local cheeses and much more…. We relax again (with good glass of white wine “Langa Nas-Cetta by the winery Vietto), before leaving, for a few hours on the armchairs under the gazebo in the beautiful front garden so that I can carry on the draft of what, perhaps, will be my next book.
We hug with Taka and Francesca who were exceptional guests, I put “Lumachina” back in motion which moves slowly as if she didn’t want to leave her new companion, the beautiful vintage Ford Transit Mk1.
Villa Amai is now behind us, we take the road again towards the bottom of the valley, surrounded by meadows and woods, so that in a matter of minutes we can reach some of the most beautiful municipalities in the Langa wine area such as: Monforte, La Morra , again Barolo, Serralunga D’Alba, Diano D’Alba and the remaining 11 municipalities in the Barolo Docg wine territory.
The journey continues… if any of you crosses paths with us, well, you are welcome on board. “Lumachina” also has a very well-stocked (small) private cellar.