Cavour sites:
Santena, Grinzane, Leri

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The castle of Grinzane Cavour (Cuneo)
The castle of Grinzane Cavour (Cuneo)
Leri, village in the municipality of Trino (Vercelli)
Leri, village in the municipality of Trino (Vercelli)

Santena, the site of Cavour’s memorial

Camillo Cavour’s remains lay in Santena, next to those of his family members, in the site most dear to him.

As of spring 2021, Santena castle has been the home of the Cavour Memorial. Visiting the Memorial today, Palazzo delle Scuderie with its Archive (approx. 200 linear meters of documents) the library, park, Visconti tower and – in the near future – “Cascina Nuova”, it is possible to experience first hand important episodes of Italian and European history, to meet the main players of the Risorgimento and the family members who lived next to the architect of the unification of Italy.

Every year in the Polo cavouriano three important dates are celebrated: 17 March (“Day of National Unity, the Constitution, the Hymn and the Flag”), 6 June (anniversary of the death of Camillo Cavour) and 20 September (Capture of Rome) with the ceremony bestowing the Camillo Cavour Award.

Santena and asparagus

Asparagus is one of the most classic vegetables of the Turin plains and one of most prestigious production areas is in in Santena, especially where the land is sandy, permeable and low in limestone. Asparagus still is today, as Camillo Cavour wrote to his cousin William De la Rive in a letter dated March 1847, “la source de la prospérité de Santena”.

Grinzane, the first farming experiences

The majestic 13th century castle in Grinzane, nestled in one of the most picturesque landscapes in the Langhe, became part of the Benso family’s estate in 1815. Since 1967 it has been the seat of the Enoteca Regionale, a prestigious window on Piedmont’s best wines and grappa, all carefully selected: above all Barolo and Barbaresco.

In June 2014 the castle achieved the status of UNESCO World Heritage of Mankind, together with “Paesaggi vitivinicoli del Piemonte: Langhe, Roero e Monferrato” (Piedmont wine-producing landscapes: Langhe, Roero e Monferrato).

In addition to the Enoteca the castle also houses a historical-ethnographic museum home to mementos and furniture from different eras.

Every year the castle hosts the World Auction of the White Truffle of Alba.

Grinzane and Barolo

The Nebbiolo variety has found in the eleven municipalities of the Langhe where it is grown, just south of Alba and including Grinzane Cavour, unique climatic conditions and has risen above other nebbiolo productions and taken the name of one of these municipalities: Barolo, a Docg red wine famous worldwide.

In Grinzane, Camillo Cavour – manager of the family estate extending for approximately 494 acres – called as consultants general Staglieno first, and later Louis Oudart, who ran his commercial activities in Genoa.

Oudart did not bring great innovations in winemaking: as Luciano Tablino wrote “hygiene, repeated decanting and storage of nebbiolo in wood were his priorities”. He was maybe the first to use heavy glass bottles, which he bought in France. The most important innovations in the vineyards were the use of new fertilizers and the propagation of vines through more rational methods.

For further information:

Leri, the site of trials

The huge Leri estate in the municipality of Trino (Vercelli) extended for approximately 2223 acres. It had previously belonged to Camillo Cavour’s godfather, Camillo Borghese, husband of Pauline Bonaparte, and it was where the future Prime Minister of Italy introduced important innovations in farming practices, such as using guano imported from South America and developing new farming machines as well as new varieties of rice.

Leri and rice

Rice germinates in spring in the plains around Vercelli: dozens of canals bring water from the Sesia and Ticino rivers, irrigating the lands between Vercelli and Novara, where approx. 50% of Italian rice is grown. But Vercelli paddy fields were also a kind of social laboratory: activities such as transplanting, weeding and harvesting needed manpower.

Until a few years ago these activities brought there tens of thousands of people, especially the “mondine”, seasonal workers who have inspired masterpieces of literature and film making.

Currently rice farming in the Vercelli area is a sector where tradition and innovation go hand in hand, where the research of new technologies, farming techniques and new rice varieties recall the experiences carried out by Camillo Cavour and his farmer Giacinto Corio on the Leri estate in Trino.

For further information:  Associazione L.E.R.I. Cavour