Santo Stefano Belbo
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Santo Stefano Belbo is situated in the south eastern part of Piedmont and belongs to the Province of Cuneo. Its territory, mostly hilly, develops along the edges of the Langhe area. The origins of Santo Stefano Belbo go back to Roman times, as testifies the Abbey of San Gaudenzio, probably an ex temple to Jove and an ex Benedictine cenoby, which has been restructured twice and is an important monument of Romanesque architecture. Santo Stefano Belbo was notably important in the feudal period, from which the remains of one of the towers of the ancient castle are still visible. The Church of the Saints Giacomo and Cristoforo dates from the same period.
The cultivation and production of muscat wine characterise the economy of the town, a wine which was appreciated as far back as in 1583, by the Dukes of Mantua and the Marchese of Monferrato. The grapes grow in the hillsides on land whose position and geological conformation favour the ripening of the bunches of grapes and the acquisition of its typical organoleptic properties.
The prized Moscato d'Asti wine, with its unmistakable aroma and flavour, is considered to be a cause for pride in the Piedmontese wine making industry. Every year, the folklore, the history and the town's traditions come alive through the different festivals. Santo Stefano Belbo is one of the birthplaces of the pallone elastico, the most popular sport in the Langhe area. The writer Cesare Pavese was born here, one of the most original voices of nineteenth century literature. As well as the his birth-house, many other places frequented by him can be visited. Traditions, wines, gastronomy, culture and the evocative hillside landscape are, and have always been, the principle characteristics of this town.
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