Monale is a dynamic and joyful village, rich in architecture and culture as well as of services and facilities (shops, ice-cream parlour, pub, pizzeria, bar, chemist’s shop, service of sanitary assistance, etc). The farmstead has a strategic location: 3 km from the Baldichieri d’Asti’s Railway Station, 9 km from Asti-West highway exit, 15 km from Villanova d’Asti’s highway exit. For this reason it’s a good location for the tourists who want to visit most of the Provinces of Piedmont such as Asti, Alessandria, Turin, Cuneo. Moreover, it’s few minutes drive from Castelnuovo Don Bosco’s hill, the Vezzolano’s Abbey and the Romanic church of Mongiglietto.
Monale is a medieval village and is part of the Consortium of Communes in the hilly area of Valtriversa. It has a charming historical centre, rich of historical buildings dating back to the XIV century such as the Castle, the “Bastita”, the Parish Church and others. The Castle, named “Scarampi Castle” in honour to the builders, has remained for more than 700 years a property of the same family, the Scarampi from Monale, direct descendants of Gani earls. The Castle dominates the village and nowadays has a U-layout;
On the sides of the building there’s a particular saw-toothed frieze which refines the medieval structure. The Castle has two towers and a picturesque neo gothic court, as well as an ancient deep pit, a big clock and the escutcheon of Scarampi family. The Castle is located in a park which shows to have a great variety of elements: the orchard, the Italian garden (made up by fences and a fountain in the middle) and the English garden (lawns alternated to trees).
The parish Church is located just under the Castle; in the past, the parish Church was the present Chapel of Santa Maria del Fonte’s cemetery. The parish Church is dedicated to Saint Caterina of Egypt (also named “della Ruota” or “of Alessandria), patron of young unmarried girls and philosophers and celebrated on 25th November. The fourteenth-century church was enlarged in 1678, when a bell tower was built with five bells, one of which was dedicated to Saint Caterina. In 1902 it was enlarged a second time and now it has a rectangular layout with a semi circular apse, with a dome, four intercommunicating chapels on the right and three on the left.
The Bastita rises on a terracing which dominates the village with a massive wall endowed with two hexagonal balconies looking on to the square. This is the most ancient building and was born as a blockhouse. Nowadays it has a L-layout with the shorter side terminating into a tower, which is considered the symbol of the village. The cellar, located under the building, has in it a pit, call “Pit of Torture”; moreover there are also two or three “croutin”, secret underground passages which in ancient times linked the Bastita to the Castle. The Bastita is now under restructuring and it will be open to tourists soon.
Monale is also very interesting for the lovers of palaeontology , because it’s possible to find there many fossil shells of “facies astiana”.