Knowing Novello

It’s not easy growing up in the shadow of a famous brother. Ever heard of Doug Pitt? Nicholas Cowell? Gesine Bullock? Nope. Thought not. That doesn’t mean they haven’t achieved anything though; Doug Pitt is a high-flying businessman, a philanthropist and Goodwill Ambassador for Tanzania; Nicholas Cowell is a multi-millionaire property tycoon; and Gesine Bullock is a pastry chef, entrepreneur, author, attorney and former film executive. Not bad, eh?

Welcome to the life of Novello, the ancient hilltop town just a mile or so from Barolo. Everyone has heard of Barolo. They want to walk its ancient streets, taste its world-renowned wines, eat its food, take photos of its castle… and then there’s that little town on the hill above it.

Novello Piemonte CN

Novello doesn’t have dozens of restaurants, it’s not full of shops offering “Weinproben”, it doesn’t have a wine museum, or even a corkscrew museum, but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer.

For a start, it’s a real town, full of real people going about their daily lives. It has a new school, a couple of cafés, a bread shop and three restaurants. It has amazing views in all directions, two eighth-century churches complete with well-known frescoes, a Neo-Gothic castle and it even has slightly creepy straw people on every corner (I couldn’t not mention the straw people. They haunt my dreams).

Novello Piemonte Straw people

Novello also has a big history, having been founded in the first century AD, its origins linked to Alba Pompeia. Through the years it has been occupied by the Barbarians, Hungarians, Spanish soldiers and Napoleon’s troops. It even boasts the remains of a Benedictine Abbey.

Most importantly though, Novello has wine. It is one of the 11 comuni in the Barolo zone, which means its winemakers can produce Barolo. But it also has its own wine – Nas-cetta – an ancient white that has recently been revived and is now undergoing something of a resurgence. Everyone should visit Azienda Agricola Stra at some point in their lives so that they can sit by the pool and soak up the sun while drinking a cool glass of their Nas-cetta.

Azienda Agricola Stra Langhe Nas-cetta

Novello may not have a famous festival like Barolo’s Collisioni (though that did actually originate in Novello) or La Morra’s Mangialonga, but it does have Novellando. One night every summer the whole town gathers for a very, very slow walk around town, wine glass in hand. Every hundred yards or so is a table stocked with local wines; you start with Nas-cetta, move on to Dolcetto, then Barbera, Nebbiolo, Barolo and finally, Moscato. What’s more, each wine is accompanied by local food, such as agnolotti, tajarin and brasato al Barolo.There’s live music at every ‘refueling’ station too. Everyone just wanders around, eating, drinking and being merry. It’s wonderful.

So, having convinced you that Novello is worth the short drive uphill from Barolo, what should you do when you’re there?

Vineyards Novello Piemonte Fall Autumn

Start by parking your car in front of the Plaza Café. On a clear day the view west from here will blow you away. You’ll see a beautiful, if slightly run-down, yellow house that is owned by some exceptionally cool people, and then beyond that the Alps, dominated by Monviso.

Pop into the café for a coffee and a chat and then walk into town. Continue walking straight, past the church, admiring the ancient buildings and glimpses of vine-covered hills with mountains beyond. Eventually you’ll come to the rather imposing town hall and, in front of that, a lookout point from which you can see the whole of the Langhe. Just past this is the remarkable Neo-Gothic castle, now a hotel.

Turn around and head back towards the the town hall, but this time keep right so that you follow the eastern edge of the village, with the view on your right the whole way. After a couple of minutes you’ll arrive at L’Angolo di Rosina. You should go there for lunch or dinner, it’s awesome. But first, head to the Cantina Comunale, located in the crypt of the church of San Sebastiano, where you can taste a selection of the wines produced in Novello. You might well need another walk when you leave, so do one more lap of town and then settle in for one of the best meals you’ll have in the Langhe. Follow this up with a grappa outside the Novel Café and a chat with the locals about how you’ve just had the best day of your whole trip.

Novello view morning

Where to Stay

Rosso di Sera – Localita Saccati 4 , 12060 Novello (CN) +39 0173 731471.

Azienda Agricola Stra – Loc Ciocchini 5, 12060 – Novello (CN) +39 0173 731214

Hostaria Locanda Barbabuc – Via Giordano 35, 12060, Novello (CN) +39 0173 731298

Where to eat

L’Angolo di Rosina – Piazza Caduti 5, Novello +39 0173 509113

Hostaria Locanda Barbabuc – Via Giordano 35, 12060, Novello (CN) +39 0173 731298

Where to drink coffee

Novel Café – Piazza Caduti, 1, Novello +39 0173 731354

Plaza Café – Piazza Monviso, Novello

Where to taste wine

La Bottega del Vino – Via Roma 1, Novello +39 0173 731147

Find out more

If you want to know more, follow Novello on facebook

Novello tour

52 thoughts on “Knowing Novello

      1. Hi guys, just a quick question about that festival you’re talking about. When does it take place? Because I actually happen to live in Verduno since february, so it would be funny to catch this! Please let me know.

      2. Cool, we have some friends in Verduno, it’s a really nice little town!

        Last year, Novellando was on August 31st, so I would guess it will be on a similar date this year if it is happening. I haven’t heard anything about it yet, but I hope it is!! When I do hear I’ll post it on our facebook page.

  1. Oh dear, I’m gonna get FAT in Italy…….. THANK YOU for this post! Really looking forward to staying at Stra and following your itinerary!!!! How is it possible that time seems to be passing so fast…and yet SOOOOOOO terribly slow, simultaneously?!?!?!

    1. If you’re not expecting them, the straw people are terrifying, particularly on foggy days when these creepy shapes just appear out of the gloom holding scythes… (they are all posing in various local agriculture-type positions).

      The wine crawl is in the summer, August I think. It’s so good!!

  2. thanks for the Novello summary. We love Az. Agr. Stra! and we’ve eaten at L’Angelo di Rosina – also very good. You’ve given us a bunch of new things to explore on our next trip.

  3. This sounds great! We’ll definitely be adding it to our Events page when the date is more precise 🙂 Also enjoyed how you introduced this lesser-known event! Novellando is the Doug Pitt of Barolo events

    1. Hi MM, sorry not to reply to this sooner, I somehow missed it completely, I must have been too busy enjoying the wine and the scenery. The company I can take or leave though 😉

  4. I have just discovered your blog and am loving it ! . As I have Italian relos in San Maurizio, Conzano – not that far from you – who restored a similar building, your journey is particularly appealing to me. Hope the ordeal becomes less stressful and looking forward to more posts and glorious pics.

  5. With fine weather forecast for the weekend, we made an impulse decision to hire a car and head to Novello after being inspired by this post. What a beautiful ‘little sister’ of a town. We are staying at the Stra. Lovely accommodation and people. Thanks for the tips!

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