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Noi Monferrini

Are you Mombaruzzese?

If so, please contact Maurizio Gily, who is editing a new book about
Mombaruzzo in celebration of the centennial of the town's wine cooperative. Maurizio is trying to locate emigrants from the town and their descendants, especially ones from Guasti, California, which was founded by Secondo
Guasti, who emigrated from Mombaruzzo toward the end of the 19th century. The community he founded lured many emigrants from the province of Alessandria.

Today, there is even a San Secondo d'Asti Catholic Church -- apparently modeled on a church in Mombaruzzo -- in the town, which was once home
to the largest vineyard in the world.

If you have any information about emigrants from Mombaruzzo and/or photos you can share, please help.

(photo by Silvano Cerrato)

Fubinese company provides lights for WTC memorial

An Italian firm specialising in illumination techniques will memorialize New York's World Trade Center Twin Towers with a virtual monument made entirely of light, Turin's La Stampa newspaper reported recently.

According to the paper, Space Cannon di Fubine will soon place 7,000-watt xenon lamps in the spot where the towers once stood. Eighty-eight lamps will project tower-shaped beams of light up about four miles into the sky.
"We are working day and night to complete the project as soon as possible," said company president Bruno Baiardi told La Stampa.

Baiardi said New York City authorities may decide to turn the lights into a permanent monument of remembrance for the victims of the September 11 attack.

The fixtures are being manufactured at the factory in Italy but Space Cannon Illumination Inc. (North America) in Edmonton, is finalizing details and handling the logistics, Space Cannon North America's Marina Muze told Monferrini in America.

Based in Fubine, Space Cannon has in the past used its powerful xenon lamps to illuminate the Niagara Falls and Mecca. Last year they were used at the Olympics Games in Sydney.

A remarkable resource for Tigliolesi

Who are the folks in this turn of the century view of Tigliole d'Asti? You likely could find out
at Silvano's amazing Web site. There are pictures of the village -- past and present -- and a few articles about the history of Tigliole. But, most importantly, Silvano has done your research for you and has dug through the town's records. On his site his lists every birth in the town from 1582-1850!! He includes birthdate, name and parents' names. Even though I don't think I have any roots in the town, I was
amazed at the two pages of births I compiled for my family's name. Bravissimo Silvano!

Parco del Sacro Monte di Crea

The Sacro Monte rises on one of the hills (355-455 meters above sea level) of the eastern part of the Basso Monferrato, on a hill with very steep slopes made up of sedimentary rocks.

The Sacro Monte is dedicated to the Rosary mysteries and was planned at the end of the 1500s along with the pre-existing Romanic origin Sanctuary dedicated to Maria Assunta. The 23 chapels and five hermitages spread in the woods form a rich complex of precious artworks in a natural setting. The realization of statuary groups in multi-coloured terracotta and paintings and frescos were made by Guglielmo Caccia (Il Moncalvo), Giovanni e Nicola Wespin (I Tabachetti) and Il Fiamminghino. The Sacro Monte rises in front of the Sanctuary and is entirely boundered in the bottom by a shady avenue that winds into the woods with an easy route. It is possible to climb to the famous Cappella del Paradiso. On the dome vault there are painted angel musicians in the act of praising the triumph of the Holy Virgin Mary Coronation.

Visit the Parco di Crea Web site.

Emigration: one family's story

Vaughan Cubitt, an Australian visitor to our site, is descended from emigrants from Casorzo, a town in the Monferrato. On his Web site he has photos and information about his Piemontese family. Click here to visit and get a glimpse of one family of emigrants among many. We encourage you to share your family's story, too. If you don't have a site of your own for us to link to, we'll be happy to post photos, memories and data here. Send us an email and share your story.

Phylloxera as catalyst for emigration

Filossera, or phylloxera, is a disease that attacks vines and it devastated Europe a century ago, including northern Italy. We recently got some information about the effects of phylloxera in Monferrato from expert Maurizio Gily, who is based in Casale Monferrato. The disease, which destroyed vinewayds, was a factor in many small Monferrini farmers leaving their native villages for other countries. It may be why many of us are now here in the New World.

The peak of the disease in many villages of Monferrato would have been in the 1920s and '30s. Actually, even though the pest was found many years before in the province of Novara, and probably at the end of 1800s in the Monferrato, it doesn't spread very quickly, and a stricken vine can take many years to die. The reason for the social tragedy is that viticulture was a very important activity for the small growers of the Monferrato. Because it was an intensive crop and required a lot of manual jobs, even people who owned or rented a few acres of land could live a life, albeit a poor one. It did, on the other hand, provide many jobs. There isn't a remedy for phylloxera, except to re-plant the vines grafted on American vine rootstock. But many poor people had no money to do this, and, mostly, couldn't wait three or four years for the first crop; they would starve before. That's the reason why many people were forced to leave from the Monferrato. A big crew from the village of Conzano sailed to Queensland, Australia, where they became sugar cane cutters. Nowadays, the village of Ingham, Queensland, has more people originally from Conzano, than does Conzano itself. Many other people sailed to Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and the U.S., as well as to France, where the re-planting from phylloxera occurred an average of a dozen years before it did in Italy. There were many other stories of emigration due to crop diseases, such as the big migration from Ireland to America and Australia in the mid 1800, due to the terrible potato famine.
The photo above was taken by Maurizio in Australia in January 2002. Notice the infected vines in the foreground are much less vigorous than their healthy neighbors.

Personifying Moncalvese history

At left is an antique figurine from Moncalvo, as pictured on a postcard photographed by Sergio Amione. The figure, donated to the Comune of Moncalvo by Ing. Flavio Ponzellini, is a colorful and whimsical piece of Monferrini history.

To read more about Moncalvo, visit the town's Web site by clicking here.



Krumiri, a heavenly Casale treat!

These sensational biscuits are sublime and nobody makes them like Rossi.
Learn more at the Rossi website (in Italian and English) click here.

Now, Krumiri Rossi can be ordered via the Internet in the USA!
Visit the Web site of the Bay Area's A. G. Ferrari.

Luigi Longo, figlio Fubinese

From Encyclopedia.com: Luigi Longo, 1900-1980 (born in Fubine, Province of Alessandria), Italian political leader. He was a founder of the Italian Communist party in 1921. In the Spanish civil war he served as inspector-general of the international brigades and fought personally against Benito Mussolini's troops at Guadalajara. Returning to Italy during World War II, he organized partisan units to fight against the Germans. He was elected to the constituent assembly in 1946 and to parliament in 1948. From 1945 to
1964 he was deputy secretary of the Italian Communist party. He became secretary-general of the party
in 1964 and served until 1972, when he was given the largely honorary post of party president.

Read more about Longo (in Italian) here.

Music of the Monferrato

If you've never heard the joyous sound of the piffero, you must visit the
Web site of Robi Droli and pick up some music from the Monferrato.

The Camerata Corale La Grangia di Torino is a group of students of Piemontese popular song, amateurs but with professional commitment to "the poetic ... popular tradition of their Piemonte " (Ernesto Caballo).

A chorus of some 30 men of various professions that for 50 years has reintroduced the songs of their own land. Founder, investigator and director Angelo Agazzani, professional designer, is a self-taught musician.

Fifty years of concerts in Italy, Germany, England, Switzerland, France, Yugoslavia, and the chorus is still active in research like that which will result in the first two volumes of Conte e canson and book/cassette sets dedicated to Robert Tagliero, Teresio Cordero, Lou Pan dla Cierità, and "Un museo contadino."

For more information or to order CDs, contact Angelo Agazzani.

If you were a Piemontese astronaut...
this would look like home. Here is a of satellite image of the Monferrato

Marshall Pietro Badoglio
was a Monferrato native and his town, Grazzano Monferrato
was renamed in his honor (it's now called Grazzano Badoglio).

Here's what Encyclopedia.com says about Mareschiallo Badoglio...
Pronounced: pyatro b¨džlyo , 1871-1956, Italian soldier and public official. After serving in World War I, he was governor of Libya (1929-33) and succeeded Gen. Emilio de Bono as commander in chief in the Ethiopian conquest, which he brought (1936) to a victorious end. Created duke of Addis Ababa, he was briefly viceroy of Ethiopia, then chief of the Italian general staff until 1940. After the fall of Mussolini, he was made (1943) premier by King Victor Emmanuel III. He negotiated an armistice with the Allies, whom he joined in the war against Germany. Meeting with much opposition in Italy, he resigned in 1944.

To learn more, visit www.badoglio.it/ and

Click here

Football season is underway...

and Torino is back in Serie A and struggling (although there havve been some highlights,
like a victory over Milan). But what can you do? Meanwhile, in the shadow
of the Mole, crosstown rivals (actually they play in the same stadium) Juventus are near the
top of the classifica, as usual. For more on the Piemontesi teams, visit the links below.
I monferrini nel mondo shouldn't forget to root for Alessandria in Serie C2A (see photo
below for this year's squad)!




The Palio d'Asti
took place in the city center on Sun., September 16, 2001


Click here to read all about it and see photos!

Engineer Peter (Pierino) Dorato, whose parents are from Villadeati, and
his daughter Sylvia have collaborated on a book about Italian and Italian-American culture. Included are discussions of the Piemontese language, songs in dialect
and other material of interest to Monferrini in America.

Click here to read about it on OnMilwaukee.com.

Click here to visit the publisher's page and order online.

The Palio d'Asti is also a fabulous Piemontese restaurant located in the heart of San Francisco's financial district. Owner Gianni Fassio, whose family hails from Isola d'Asti, also runs the Palio Paninoteca around the corner. It's a perfect spot for lunch. Click here to visit the Palio d'Asti restaurant web site.

New York City also has some Piemontese restaurants, click the names below to see menus
and more from Barolo in SoHo and Barbetta in Midtown.

Folks in Philadelphia will find some tasty Piedmontese wines and specialties at the wonderful Ristorante Le Castagne, 1920 Chestnut St., located about a mile west of the historic colonial Philly site. For directions, opening hours and other information, you can call them at (215) 751-9913. We ate there in June 2002 and had a sumptuous meal at a reasonable price and the staff was outgoing and friendly.

Denver has the Barolo Grill, which serves Piemontesi (and Tuscan) specialties. It's located at 3030 E. 6th Ave. Call (303) 393-1040.

In the nation's capital, Piemontese chef Roberto Donna has a range of restaurants, from the top-notch Galileo to the more casual Vivo!, Il Radicchio and others. You can see them all here. Another restaurant, Obelisk, which spotlights specific Italian regions and their cuisines, also serves some Piemontese dishes. We visited Vivo in March 2003 and enjoyed the wood-fired pizzas, the large agnolotti and the rare (in the U.S.) Menabrea beer from Biella (distributed in the U.S. by Dufour).



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Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

We Monferrini | Our Stories | Monferrino Diary | History | Language | Gallery
Our Names | Family Album | Links | Bibliography | Turismo | Guestbook | Pagine Monferrine