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The hill where today stands the castle and village of Sommariva Perno was once certainly one of the most well-known and important passages through the "rocks" of Roero. Along an ancient path, which goes over hills from Alba towards Corneliano, and then reaches the first strips of the Po plain, one of the most important and well-known passages through the rocks of Roero was certainly the hill where today stand the castle and village of Sommariva Perno.
But the ancient Roman settlement of "Paernum" or "Paternum" did not stand exactly on the same place, it was situated somewhat lower, probably in the area of the nowadays hamlets of Cunoni and Cagnotti, on the edges of the forest "silva popularis". It was probably between the X and XI century, and for defence reasons, that the inhabitants moved on the hill "ad summam ripam" of Perno, in order to obtain major protection from a fortified structure. In the Middle Ages, Alba, Asti, and Acaja family fought the territory for a long time and it was given as feud to different families (the Biandrate, Isnardi, Roero) until 1857 when the castle and nearby lands were taken over by the king Vittorio Emanuele II.
To see at Sommariva Perno: Castle, mentioned as early as 1153, it was acquired by King Vittorio Emanuele II in 1857 and turned into a hunting lodge and the home of his morganatic wife Rosa Vercellana, Countess of Mirafiori. Spirito Santo, parish church, built in the mid 17th century on a Greek cross, with a sturdy bell-tower standing next to it. San Bernardino, baroque church belonging to the Confraternity of the Disciplinanti, with a delightful wooden doorway and stuccoes inside. Recently resored and converted into a Cultural Centre. Madonna del Tavoleto, of obscure origin, partially rebuilt in the 17th century, this chapel was the home of the beautiful "Pietà" by Martino Spanzotti, now in the parish church of Valle Rossi.
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