Neive is a beautiful romantic medieval town in the middle of the famous vineyards of Langhe in Piedmont. Neive was founded in the middle ages and took its typical spiraling plan around the 18th century. Neive is spread over an area of 21 square km and has a population of approximately 3000. Neive is mainly famous for its wine and consequently surrounded by splendid vineyards meticulously tended like gardens by the proud local wine makers. Most important wines from Neive are Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto and Moscato.
Neive situated in the Langhe area at the crossing with the Monferrato and Roero areas – two other important Piedmont wine areas – between the Tanaro River and the Asti area.
A stroll around the historic center of Neive is like walking back into the history. The town has many narrow streets and alleys, which can be visited only on foot since driving around the area, can be quite difficult. The town has retained its authenticity and charm, has been elected as one of the most beautiful medieval hamlets in Italy (Borghi più belli d’Italia).
ARCHITECTURE IN NEIVE
The oldest house in the village is Casa Cotto, which dates from the thirteenth century. It once was a stronghold belonging to a wealthy family of bankers. Today it still has valuable ceilings, fireplaces and antique roman bricks that were discovered during the restoration of the archivolt door.
The same rich history can be found in the nearby Clock Tower – La Torre Comunale dell’Orologio – built in 1224 under the rule of the town of Asti. It has been an important landmark in Neive. The large tower dominated the skyline of the small town and stands taller than the buildings in the area. The tower has been renovated and restored a few times in the last few centuries but much of the façade of the tower that visitors would see today is still original. The tower is one of the oldest existing monuments in Neive.
Chiesa Di Sant Pietro is the most important church in Neive. The church is dedicated to Saint Pietro and has a beautiful architecture. The church has been built in the Baroque style of architecture and the interior of the church is equally beautiful too. Inside the church are several beautiful art works that were done over the centuries by artists of the region and other ornamental decorations.
Chiesa Della Confraternita di San Michele is another interesting church in Neive. The church is built in the baroque style of architecture like Chiesa Di Sant Pietro but is quite different than the other church. Although it is not very large, the church has been beautifully preserved and the interior is quite well decorated too with paintings, art works and frescoes that were done by the local artists of the area.
Two other lovely treasures to see in Neive are the two sixteenth-century chapels of San Rocco and San Sebastiano. The San Rocco Chapel has a particular, rectangular plan with a portico and bell tower and is situated just outside the southern walls in front of an arch. The arch was one of the two entranceways to the town that today connects Casa Demaria (16th century) with the Palazzo dei Conti di Castelborgo (18th century).
The Castelborgo garden is one of the amazing works of Antonio Borghese, a renowned Baroque architect!
Palazzo Cocite is a large palace in Neive and the architecture and design of the palace is quite beautiful. Built for residential purpose but the native family of Neive, the palace has beautiful arches, carvings and careful attention to detail.
Piazza Italia is the main piazza in Neive. Piazza Italia almost looks like a sitting room, with its eighteenth-century buildings that look next to each other and give the feeling of a place ready to welcome people who arrived here. The piazza is a favorite meeting place for the locals and people can be seen strolling around the piazza at all times of the day, locals as well as tourist. Picturesque Casa dell’Orologio or clock house is located on Piazza Italia. It was designed by local architect – Giovanni Antonio Borgese – in Rococo style, and was once the town hall of Neive. The current town hall is located vis-a-vis in Palazzo Borgese – another example of masterpiece of the Neive architecture.
EATING IN NEIVE
Neive has a handful of good restaurants where visitors can eat. Most of the restaurants in the town are small and casuals. The food served in most places is good local dishes and made with fresh ingredients and local cheese, and of course served with the large selection of local wines.
Some of the best restaurants in Neive are: Ristorante La Donna Salvatica, Ristorante la Luna Del Pozzo, and Ristorante I Love Ba. You will also find several nice and cozy wine bars in the historical center.