Bubbio: the junction between Bormida valley and Astigiano where the land perfume of Moscato, hazelnuts and Robiola di Roccaverano.
The village of Bubbio (from the Latin bivium, because placed on the intersection of Roman roads between the Bormida valley and the Asti region), has kept intact some important urban features, with the old houses on the sides of the fourteenth-century Via Maestra, bounded by the castle and the parish church, and a series of districts, alleys and stairways that create striking views and stone corners forgotten by time.
The village stands on a rocky terrace overlooking its most steep stretch on the Bormida river and sloping down from the other sides into fields and meadows towards the valley where the "big street" forks in the direction of Canelli.
Bubbio covers an area of 15.76 km² and has a population of about 840 inhabitants.
It is 40 km from Asti, the provincial capital.
The first document on Bubbio dates back to 1142, although the place was already inhabited in Roman times. Bubbio belongs to Bonifacio Minore of Cortemilia, son of Bonifacio Marquis of Vasto. In 1205 Bubbio was sold to Manfredo II of Saluzzo for 200 lire!
In the 13th century, the current appearance of the village around the main road Via Magistra loci Bubii is configured.
In 1300 Bubbio belongs to the Marquis of Saluzzo and then to that of the Monferrato.
In 1321 Oddone IV del Carretto, son of Manfredo gave to a certain Marquis Nano di Ceva also the fourth part of Bubbio, along with other possessions. After a few years, however, Bubbio is again under the rule of Manfredo III, son of Manfredo II.
A diploma of Charles IV of Luxembourg of 1355 confirms to Giovanni di Monferrato the investiture of all the lands belonging to the descendants of Aleramo, among which also Bubbio.
In 1464 Bubbio obtained its own municipal statutes (still preserved in the Royal Library of Turin) from which are evident that the population dedicated to agricultural and artisan activities. Bubbio obstructs the Savoy with all means and in 1615 tries to prevent the passage of the Savoy troops.
In the European framework of peace followed by the wars of succession, on 7 July 1708 the emperor Giuseppe I aggregated the Monferrato to Piedmont. The new territorial order determined by the unification of Piedmont is interrupted only by the Napoleonic period, in which Bubbio also suffered from the passage of various armies.
At the time of the annexation to the Savoy dominions, the town was in a situation of serious crisis: the population, previously much more numerous, had fallen in 1774 to 1035 inhabitants, although the essential services, such as the school, never failed. A certain Don Sebastano Sicia, teacher and priest, is paid 200 lire for his work from June 1736 to the whole of March 1737. In the nineteenth century things definitely improve, to the point that in 1848 the Bubbiesi are already 1402.
The situation remained unchanged until the second post-war period. There are many Bubbiesi fallen in the world wars, as the beautiful monument in public gardens remembers.
As in other surrounding countries, Bubbio develops a state-of-the-art agriculture, especially in the wine and oenological sectors, and subsequently sees the opening of an industrial plant for the processing of steels that represents a significant occupational pole for the valley.
Food and wine and typical products.
Bubbio is one of the municipalities of the Langa of Asti, a historical region of Piedmont where the famous Robiola di Roccaverano is produced, an exquisite goat's cheese.
In the village it is also possible to taste delicious specialties such as amaretti, cakes and Lady's Kisses (baci di dama), all based on the Tonda Gentile delle Langhe hazelnut.
Wine production is also important. Among the finest wines we mention: Moscato, Brachetto, Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa, Chardonnay and Cortese.
The main event of the town is certainly the Polenta Festival (Sagra del Polentone), the first Sunday after Easter; the polenta is prepared by the expert hands of the local Pro Loco volunteers with the very fine variety of eight-row corn.
To be seen.
The castle is a beautiful late eighteenth-century mansion, privately owned, with large frescoed rooms and a beautiful park overlooking the Bormida river. It stands on the site of a medieval manor which remains the base of the tower and a few other traces of walls.
The parish church of the Assunta (1750-1779) is one of the jewels of the Baroque of Langa; it has a hexagonal pattern with oval chapels and on the outside it has an exposed brick facade with a portal inserted between two false columns in brick and a protruding hemicycle lintel. Among the numerous altars, the one on the left has a beautiful painting of Our Lady, probably the work of Gorzio; the frescoes on the back apse are by Morgari, while the organ, apart from the sumptuous Baroque façade, is modern and of particular musical value.
In addition to the Oratory of Disciplinati, located in front of the parish church, with eighteenth-century facade and portal, stands out at the crossroads for Monastero the Casa Sizia, an eclectic building built in the nineteenth century with an elegant portal dominated by an artistic portico decorated with a putto in terracotta.
Also, of the Sizia family is also the elegant Chapel of Nostra Signora delle Grazie, built in the nineteenth century in stone and brick.
At the chapel of Saint Luigi vases, amphorae and furnishings were found, which make it possible to identify in this place the site of the Roman statio from which the village originated.
On the main square of Bubbio, in the middle of an ancient park, there is the neoclassical Municipal Palace, with a fountain in front.
On Bubbio hills, immersed among the rows, there are numerous small country churches: to visit, both for the curious octagonal shape and for the splendid panorama on the Bormida valley, is that of Saint Grato, built in the eighteenth century on the ruins of a Romanesque building dedicated to the Saint protector from hail.
Absolutely not to be missed, in the Sant'Ippolito Region, is the Quirin Mayer Sculpture Park, an open air art space featuring 19 sculptures cut from 22 mm aluminum sheets.
The origins of Bubbio Polentone are mixed between history and legend: it is said that a group of poor coppersmiths arrived in Bubbio hungry and at the end of the strength, rest in the magnanimity of the local lord every hope of their survival.
He was moved by their fate and helped them by giving them cornmeal. It was at this point that the act of human solidarity flourished from which the legend was born and perpetuated: those people, noble of soul did not keep that gift all for themselves, but cooked in the square a huge polenta that was then consumed together with all the borghigiani equally hungry for the long famine.
This legend is revised every year by the bubbiesi and re-evoked with fidelity: the Lords come out from the Castle with the courtiers, the armigers and the tambourines; the sacks of flour are loaded by millers on a wagon surrounded by boilers and by the celebrating people; the procession parades through the streets of the village and reaches the square where a huge copper cauldron waits for steaming.
After a long and meticulous cooking, a trumpet ring polarizes the attention on the dish; between a roar of applause the smoking trophy is distributed to everyone.
The final, joyous and greedy, is always the same: while everyone eats with polenta, sausage and mushroom sauce with an inviting onion omelette in hand-painted dishes in limited series, the lord orders taxes and duties to be re-established reduced, that the party is repeated every year to perpetuate the event over time and that the sign Dulcia Promam is placed under the emblem of Bubbio in memory of the meekness of its inhabitants and the sweetness of the products of its land.