MONDOVI: the birthplace of piedmontese baroque style

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Ph. T. Aimar - Piazza Maggiore
Ph. T. Aimar - Piazza Maggiore
Bressani's Tower
Cock's pottery

Mondovì, main town of the so-called Monregalese area, was founded in 1198 by the inhabitants of Vicoforte, Vasco and Carassone. Those people, driven by their hate against their common Lord - the Bishop of Asti - took refuge on  a mount and there they founded a new community. That's why the new town was first called Monte di Vico, and later Mondovì. In 1290, in exchange for money the town was granted the municipal autonomy, but it was soon violently besieged by the Angevin first, followed by the Savoy, the Visconti, the Marquis of Monferrato, the French and the Austrians. In 1800, after the Marengo battle,  it fell under the French domination, under whose reign it remained until the Napoleon’s downfall in 1815, as it became part of the Reign of  Sardinia again. 

The upper town (called Piazza) is surrounded by medieval walls,  lies on a hill and it is now connected to the lower districts by a modern cable railway designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Its streets converge on the beautiful Piazza Maggiore, surrounded by arcades: there one can admire the Bressani's Palace (13th century), the Governor’s Palaces, the Subprefecture, the Town Hall and the baroque section of the Jesuits’ church and college. The Jesuits’ Church, called "La Missione", was built by Boetto in the 17th century, while inside was painted by Pozzo who proved his talent as a perspective painter, later confirmed in his works in Rome and Vienna. The building hosts "Infinitum", a multimedial tour with technology and virtual reality that allows visitors to live immersively the wonderful frescoes.

In Piazza Maggiore one can't miss a visit to the Museo della Ceramica Vecchia Mondovì (Pottery Museum). The new concept of this multimedia museum is housed in the Palazzo Fauzone Germagnano in the "Piazza" district. The rooms overlook superb views of the medieval square, the Maritime Alps, the Cuneo plains and views of Langhe Monregalesi. It preserves expertly restored frescoes, plasterwork and furnishings dating over several centuries. Not far from there, in Misericordia street, one can visit the Printing Civic Museum, the most complete Italian public collection of printing machines and equipments.

In Via della Misericordia, there is the Press Museum, the most complete public collection of printing machines and equipment in Italy. Due to renovation works on the historic Palazzo delle Orfane, the museum is currently closed to the public. At the end of the renovation works, visitors will be able to enjoy a renovated multifunctional cultural centre.  The typographic collections will be shown in a new and innovative museum itinerary, suitable for an audience of all ages.  

Walking northwards, one can reach the Vescovado - Bishop’s Palace (currently closed); seat of the university between 1556 and the 18th century, it offers some interesting halls such as the Sala delle Lauree (Degrees Hall) and the Sala degli Arazzi (Tapestries Hall), weaved in 1619 by F. van den Hecke on Rubens’ cartoons. Not far from there, one will find the Cathedral of S. Donato, designed by the Mondovì architect Gallo in the 18th century, and the Belvedere garden, where one can enjoy a wonderful panorama dominated by the tower. Piazza also offers the 18th-century Synagogue and the Misericordia church, another example of Gallo’s early talent. 

In the district called Breo, the present commercial core of the town and seat of the Town Hall, one can admire the Santi Pietro e Paolo Church with its baroque façade and the Moro (the Moor), the odd automaton, protagonist of the local carnival, who strikes the hours. Among the buildings deserving a visit there are the noble palaces and the baroque church of S. Filippo, designed by Gallo and built between 1734 and 1757.

Along the way leading down to Vicoforte, we suggest a visit of the small Chapel of Santa Croce including a wonderful cycle of frescoes, probably painted by Antonio di Monteregale between 1450 and 1460 and influenced by Jaquerio.

The shops of the old town centre offer several opportunities for good purchases: do not miss the traditional pottery decorated with the cock, the real symbol of the town.

The province of Cuneo, thanks to its particular geographical conformation with the Alps overlooking the plain, is well suitable for flight activities. Mondovì is also known as the capital of hot air balloons. Its particular location and favorable currents make its territory perfect for flying with balloons. In the last 30 years the activities and events related to this sport "from another era" are constantly increasing, as is it growing the number of those who decide to live the unique experience of a balloon flight.


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Mondovì Tourist Board
Piazza Maggiore, 1– 12084 Mondovì
Tel. +39.0174.330358