Agriturismo B&B in Monferrato, PiemonteI Mandorli (the almonds) is an agriturismo in Monferrato, a part of Piemonte, about an hour's drive east of Torino, twenty minutes north of Asti. Here Franco and Gabriella Rampi have transformed an ancient farmstead, in the tiny village of Cardona di Alfiano Natta, into a wonderful B&B with several bedrooms, grouped around comfortable kitchen and lounging areas.
We first visited the Rampis six years ago, after meeting them at the Salone del Gusto; we quickly came to feel as if we were part of an enchanted family enchanted by the desire to return to the land, and to take responsible and productive places among a timeless, traditional, quite diverse agricultural economy.
The Rampis are among the nuovi contadini , producing almonds, wine, and olive oil on a small acreage outside their village, and providing gracious hospitality to their guests.
Two farmsteads are joined by an archway to provide quarters for several guests as well as the Rampis themselves, their office and kitchens, and Francos winery.
Monferrato is an old land, relatively untouristed, farmed by smallholders, producing wheat, potatoes, corn, grapes, olives, and fruit, open to the sky, with views (on days clearer than this one) of the Alps to the north and west. The wine and truffle center of Asti is an easy drive away, and many restaurants are nearby.
Guest rooms are available in twin and matrimonio (double) configurations, with comfortable beds, attractive furnishings, and private baths.
There are comfortable sitting rooms, and here, each morning, Gabriella provides a delicious and copious breakfast including her own jams and jellies.
Our balcony bedroom gave us a fine view across the hazy farmland and village toward the south.
And theres plenty of room outside to relax and enjoy the view
or pass the time with friends or, if they have the time (and you have the Italian), Franco or Gabriella; or just catch a nap in the sun.
Neighboring towns offer diversions:
shopping and, of course, restaurants
surprisingly good restaurants, with surprisingly friendly, warm personnel.
2002: Our friends Marta and (gazing skyward) Richard; Lindsey and me between them; Franco and Gabriella and their dog Teo.
Cardona di Alfiano Natta, Francos vines in the distance
and the evening light.
You can see other photos taken at I Mandorli (as well as photos from il Salone del Gusto in Torino, October 2004) at my website.
Agriturismo I Mandorli
Franco Rampi, Gabriella Berton
Via Troglia 1/3
Cardona di Alfiano Natta (AL) 15021
tel. +39 014 192 2521 email@example.com www.imandorli.it