If you want to see Italy as it was in the 15th century, you just might be captivated by the cobbled streets of Saluzzo.
Perched on a hilltop in the Cuneo region of Piedmonte, it’s an intriguing place. Less than an hours drive from the picturesque and renowned wine villages of Barolo, the town is still very much a hidden gem in Italy. We saw no foreign tourists, just a handful of Italian visitors who were enthralled by their guide as they too roamed the cobbles of this corner of undiscovered Italy.
Cobbles, as it turned out are a feature of the old town. It’s just as it was in the 15th century. The maze of cobbled lanes, steep steps and paths through archways are authentically preserved, perfect for an idle wander.
The elegant palaces and piazzas are easily found. Right at the top of the hill sits a castle, which became a prison and is now a museum. You can certainly see past reminders of its past in the architecture.
Wandering around, we were captivated by the street names. The original display niches alongside the names are reminders that “Street Art” is not a new concept.
Down every alley there are magical views just waiting to be discovered.
You may have noticed that we often search out the quirky. Here the quirky caught us unawares – in a church of all places. There’s a cathedral in town – quite spectacular actually – but this little church was tucked down a cobbled side street. Quite plain from the outside, the Chiesa di San Giovanni was built in 1330. One of the older buildings in the old town, the inside of this Dominican church was such a surprise. All quite dark and atmospheric.
Suddenly, from the darkness we stepped into the sunlight. This lovely courtyard linked the church to the convent many years ago. Delighted and surprised to find the convent is now a very swish small hotel, with the Dominican art still installed.
If art or history fascinate you, Saluzzo will certainly keep you busy. The ‘newer’ part of town at the bottom of the hill (where buildings are only a few hundred years old) is where art is more vibrant, more modern, just like the people of Saluzzo.
Quirky fact …..