Cellarengo

The bucolic poetry of Cellarengo: the town of oxen, the golden hump tench and the ears of wheat caressed by the wind.


Landscape.

Agricultural center of the High Monferrato, Cellarengo is located on the extreme western offshoots of Asti region hills degrading towards the Turin plain and the Po river.

The inhabited area rises on a not very high hilly ridge, mostly along the road that climbs from the bottom of the valley.

Town covers an area of 10.85 km² and has a population of about 700 inhabitants.

It is 25 km from Asti, the provincial capital.


History.

Cellarengo appears for the first time in a document of the year 862.

Reappear, with certainty, a second time in 901 in a diploma given by Emperor Lodovico II in favor of the Bishop of Asti, in which it is said: «...we still allow all the territory and the whole forest called Cellare, according to the borders overexposed...».

Around the year 1000 Cellarengo membership with Valfenera at the Nonantola Abbey was certain, from which it was ceded to the Count of Pombia in 1034.

It is in this period that the name changes from Cellare into Cellarenigo, whose ending -enigo is of Germanic derivation.

In fact, in a 1041 diploma which sanctions a donation of territories by Henry II to the Bishop of Asti, the original name of Cellare has changed into Cellarengo.

In 1200 Cellarengo belonged to the Monastery of Saint Anastasio of Asti and was the seat of a convent of nuns dependent on that of Asti. In 1241, it appears that the village had already been established in municipality.

In the following centuries Cellarengo was granted in fief to the noble family of Malabayla (1321), and then to Pelletta in 1347. The fief then passed to the Guttuari di Ferrere at the beginning of the 15th century and to the Montiglio family, lords of Villanova, in 1521.

Relations between the village of Cellarengo and the neighboring village of Valfenera remained almost constantly friendly. And when the differences between views and interests arose between the two centers, disputes were settled with arbitrary transitions, as in 1466 when the boundaries of their respective territories were friendly defined.

The population of Cellarengo in 1588, as is clear from a pastoral visit of Monsignor Panigarola, was 170 souls, and in the next forty years instead of climbing it decreased to 132.

The cause was a series of pestilences that sharpened Piedmont and all of Italy in that period.

In particular the plagues were three: that of 1599, that of 1625 and at the same time the latter was afflicted by the famine. When this around 1630 loosened its grip, the scourge of the plague took place again, the most terrible of all.

Like almost all the countries of the early Middle Ages, Cellarengo had a castle, already mentioned in the 1041 diploma which states that the emperor donated to the Bishop Pietro «...the castle of Cellarengo with the chapel, the court and the forest....».

This castle was supposed to be a beautiful medieval building with a large hall and several rooms. In the vicinity there were gardens, orchards and a vineyard, owned by the castle, which was bordered by an avenue with plantain trees.

The castle, which had suffered numerous attacks and violence in the Middle Ages, was partly ruined and partly still existed in the middle of the last century. It was owned by Count Ricardi di Netro, who, dying at a young age, left it to his sister Countess Rita.

It then passed into ownership of the Jona brothers of Canale. These in turn sold it to some peasants, who destroyed it in 1880 to sell the bricks. So there is no trace left of the castle.


Administration.


Food and wine and typical products.

The specialty of the “house” is undoubtedly the golden hump tench of Pianalto, a variant of the common tench, characterized by the particular reddish-yellow livery.

The coloring is due to the particular red clays present in the bottoms of the pools and ponds in which it is bred; its lean meats, of high organoleptic and protein quality, have obtained the denomination D.O.P. (Protected Designation of Origin).

Best ways to taste it is soused or fried.

In Cellarengo has also seat the Associazione My Wine dedicated to the recovery and enhancement of native vineyards.


To be seen.

The parish church is named after Saint Giovanni Battista; it was enlarged in 1928, extending the back of 10 meters, to contain the growing number of the faithful.

There are interesting frescoes by Luigi Morgari.

Also, worth seeing is the Church of Saint Firmino, eighteenth century, dedicated to the patron saint of Cellarengo, and the Baroque Chapel of Madonna Assunta, in the Menabò village.


Curiosity.

In the emblem of the municipality the image of the ox is linked to the cattle breeding, the ears of the wheat recall instead the most important agricultural production of the territory.