Art in the vineyard: Art Park La Court

One of the 55 Unesco protected sites of Italy, included in 2012, is commonly refferred to as “Vineyard landscape of Langhe, Monferrato and Roero”. Within the context of this huge geographical area several edu-tainment opportunities are found, most of which deal with learning ore about the wine making process, including cellar visits, guided wine tasting, wine museums and so on. However, there is a place that I really like, which is not only about wine, but mostly about Art and is called “Art Park La Court”.

In 2000 a local wine producer, listed among the best wine makers of Italy, decided to open one of his vineyards to the public by turning it into an open air museum that everyone can enjoy for free since there is no entrance fee. The Art Park is actually a compound of several vineyards, dramatically located on the top of a hill, in the middle of Monferrato, on the way from Asti to Canelli, in southern Piedmont. One of the vineyards is called “La Court” and the other is called “Le Orme” which also are the names of the two red wine that are produced with its grapes. Both wine are “Barbera D’Asti” in the basic version, or the elevated one called “Nizza” which is only made with grapes grown within the territory of selected municipality where vineyards are south or south east oriented. Specific signs are in place to let the visitor know what wine is produced with a specific section of the vineyard.

Art Park La Court is found in the municipality of a small village, dramatically and scenografically located on the top a hill, called Castelnuovo Calcea and it belongs to “Michele Chiarlo” wine producer.

Castelnuovo Calcea seen from Agliano Terme – Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Everything speaks of wine in this area: while driving from point A to point B you see nothing else but vineyards and, once you reach the “summit of the Cipresses”, a wide scenic view opens up before your eyes, spanning from Castelnuovo to San Marzano Oliveto, Moasca, Calosso and Agliano Terme, 5 villages strictly devoted to wine making.

When you reach the Art Park La Court you are welcomed by a Giant, designed by artist Emanuele Luzzati (at south) or by one of the several Giant Benches (at north), conceived by artist Chris Bangle, which became one of the main attractions of the area in the past few years (you can find a giant bench hidden in the territory of each municipality of Langhe, Monferrato and Roero). The picture may not convey to you the idea of its size but, trust me, they are so big you need a ladder to get on it.

Giant Bench at Art Park La Court – Photo by Matteo Gazzarata
The Giant at Art Park La Court – Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

By following the trail which meanders into the vineyards you can admire several contemporary art Installations that have been conceived expressively for this location such as the vites supporting rods with the heads of warriors, topped by stones that were found in the right in the between the vites.

The warriors at Art Park La Court – photo by Matteo Gazzarata

The Park is a perfect place for a vineyard walk, the view from the top of the hill goes miles away, up to the Maritime Alps in the clearer summer days and the Cozie and the Graie Alps (in wintertime). In spring and summer the vites are green and the grapes start blooming, while in autum the show of the vites foliage offer a range of colors that span from light yellow to dark red. If you plan a trip to Italy and namely to the Piedmont Region and you like outdoor activities, enjoying fresh air and discover more about this Unesco protected land, I highly recommend a visit to Art Park La Court and maybe a pic nic supplied by the Michele Chiarlo Cellar. The box might sound expensive (59 euro for 2 people) but it really is worth the price as you get the table cloth, two half bottle of his famous and delicious wine, and a selection of local foods from starter to dessert.

The Cipresses at La Court – Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

If you want to learn more about the works of art and the artists who populated the park, visit the park’s website here

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