The Italian town of Mondovi is located between the mountains and the plains: on one side the town overlooks the plain crossed by the Po River which leads to Turin; from the other it is situated on a hill that marks the border of the “Langhe”, the land of truffles and wines.
The heart of Mondovi is the arcaded 'Piazza Maggiore', which is also a good place to start your visit. Among the buildings here on the square is the Church of the Missione, with its baroque façade and rich in history and art. Built by the Jesuits in the 17th century, it passed in 1773 to the Monks of the Mission then was confiscated by Napoleon in 1803 and returned to the monks from 1815.
The church, a work by Giovenale Boetto da Fossano, is an example of the Jesuit baroque style and contains precious frescoes by Andrea Pozzo* and two marble side altars, one of which is also the work of Andrea Pozzo.
Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709) was an artist very accomplished at using perspective to create open spaces and giving a painting the illusion of great depth.
Close to the Piazza there is a small garden with far-reaching views - a church stood in this location from the 13th century but has now gone.
Also interesting close to here in Mondovi is the Church of Mercy, the first church built by Francesco Gallo in his hometown (in the 18th century). It was built for the Carmelite Monks, who had occupied the adjoining convent in 1606.
Gallo drew the church altars, directed the stucco decoration and entrusted the painting to Bisone di Locarno and Pietro Antonio Pozzo.
Among the civic buildings in Mondovi you should note in particular the Governor's palace, the ancient Palace of Justice, and Bressani Palace, with its gothic style brick façade and the typical swallow-tailed battlements.
More important monuments await visitors in the so-called “Rione di Piazza”, such as the Church of Saint Chiara del Gallo, the Synagogue and the Citadel, built by Emanuele Filiberto in 1573 on the ruins of the Renaissance cathedral.
Just off this square is the Chapel of the Holy Cross with its 15th century frescoes.
The district of “Breo” along the Ellero River contains further noteworthy monuments such as the Church of Saint Philip, an example of Piedmontese baroque style, and the Church of Saints Peter and Paul. This church was re-built several times between 1449 and 1755 and enriched by the addition of the dome by Bernardo Vittone (1704-1770) with its scenographical staircase.
On top of the façade and sheltered by the canopy you can see the “Moro”, which is an automaton designed in the 17th century and which gets up to beat a hammer which it has in his right hand when the hour strikes.
From the Breo district a shady avenue of plane trees leads to Carassone, which offers the visitor the tranquility of low arches and the medieval square tower of Saint. Evasio. Just outside Carassone the Chapel of Santa Maria delle Vigne has some 15th century frescoes in the apse.
Crafts and traditions in Mondovi
On the opposite side there is a village which is an ancient centre of crafts. Mondovi is quite famous for its local crafts, which still follow ancient traditions.
Among the most popular products and features are fine hand-painted ceramics, the usual subject of which is the classic rooster, the symbol of the craft production of Mondovi.
Your visit to Mondovi is an excellent opportunity to sample the local cuisine, which has many surprises. Among the cheeses, there is the “Raschera”, a typical product of the Alps of Mondovi (it is a table cheese with a light taste). Among the desserts, we suggest you try the "risole" (puff pastry with apricot jam).
Among the wines we should mention the Langhe “Dolcetto”, which is one of the most typical of the red wines of this area.
Attractions and activities near Mondovi
A few kilometers from the Langhe area and near "Bastia Mondovi” the Church of San Fiorenzo is a jewel of gothic art situated in the green countryside. This ancient church was built over the grave of the Saint at the beginning of the second millennium, as evidence of a deep faith. It was originally known as the "pilgrim's chapel”, inviting travellers to stop awhile.
Being at the far south of the Piedmont region, Mondovi is also conveniently placed to visit Savona and the resorts of the Italian Riviera, about 50 kilometres south-east of the town.
See also history of Mondovi
Map of Mondovi and places nearby
Mondovi places to visit
See more places nearby in the Piedmont guide