Cortemilia won one of Italy’s Sustainable Village and Ecomuseum award for its community-lead approach to conservation, interpretation, and management of local heritage for sustainable development.

This charming medieval town of about 2,500 residents is nestled in the heart of the Upper Langhe.  It’s about a half hour drive from Alba, home of the famed White Truffle Fair. 

The town is built using local sandstone stone in a terraced-hill landscape – the thematic framework for the eco-museum initiatives. They tell a remarkable story of human coexistence with the land and communities that developed in these valleys.

Cortemilia is a municipality in Cuneo province in the Italian Piedmont region. It’s about 70 km southeast of Turin and 200 km from Milan. According to Google Earth, the town is located at the centre of the earth.

In her article on the Cortemilia ecomuseum project, Donatella Murtas said, the terraces and landscapes provide a “sense of continuity in time and space”.  They:

  • Link people and place
  • Are inclusive and not exclusive
  • A good example of a sustainable approach towards local and available resources
  • Built by the community and not an architect or engineer
  • Have no signature and are in harmony with nature, following its laws and not forcing them

In many ways, she said,  the terraces are like a territorial skeleton, supporting human activities and dreams.

Cortemilia is best known for its high quality and delicious hazelnut, Tonda Gentile di Langa.

Community Hospitable Program

The locally developed program is one of the sustainable tourism projects  where the village and its community are the attractions.  Visitors are welcomed as temporary citizens.  Similar to a theme park concept.  The exception: characters are real people leading real lives in a natural setting that is centuries old.

Other Innovative Sustainable Initiatives

  • Utilizing hazelnut shells to generate biomass power
  • Adopting selective door-to-door waste collection lessening landfills
  • Reforestation along the Bormida riverbanks

Cortemilia is accessible by road from Turin (104 km), Genoa (106 km) on the Ligurian Coast or Milan (172 km).

The spectacular rolling vine-clad hills of the Upper Langhe. Fall is the best time to visit the Langhe for truffles and sample top Piedmont wines: Barolo and Barbaresco.

Travel Piedmont

CycleItalia offers an exciting 8-day Best of Piedmont itinerary. The tour includes an interesting ride through the wine regions of Piedmont, and savouring exquisite cuisine deliciously prepared by Chef Carlo Zarri at Villa San Carlo.

For tour information, click on CycleItalia.