Casks & Tubs in Cave di Moleto, Italy
Cave di Moleto, Italy

Topping the vineyard laden hills of the Piedmont (Piemonte) region of Italy are charming little ancient villages that offer quaint lodgings and wonderful wine specialties.

With a romantic getaway in mind, Claudia, hostess extraordinaire, took us on a driving tour down the lovely rural lanes of Monferrato to show us her favorite villas. She insisted that we choose one for our evening's accommodations.

Tower atop Cave di Moleto, Italy
The calming beauty of our trip was broken - just once - when a madcap, out-of-nowhere Vespa driving maniac whipped around our car and Claudia exclaimed, “Mamma Mia!,” her hands gesturing wildly. Italians actually say that in real life! We had mistakenly thought that the phrase was a cliché limited to Super Mario Bros and bad canned spaghetti commercials. We learn something new everyday.

View from Cave di Moleto, Italy
We strolled through several medieval villages before settling upon Cave di Moleto. Moleto is a small community that includes a working vineyard and winery, restaurant and hotel. A small outdoor theatre with a 360 degree panorama, hosts fantastic jazz concerts. The view the from theatre is spectacular, overlooking the Valle dei Frati (Valley of the Friars) and the rolling hills at the feet of the Alps. Romantic? Si.

Grapes in the wineyards
The name Cave di Moleto comes from the ancient quarries of marl (clay) in the area but is also a clever bit of word play. Cave in Italian is the word for mines or quarries, but in French it means the place to store wine. The village itself dates back to the late 700s and in 1992, the estate was bought and extensive renovations were undertaken. The winery incorporates the old wine cellars with the technologies of today. The renovations are impressive and were obviously done with much love and the utmost care.

The view from the balcony

While listening to the vineyard workers play spirited game of ping pong, we were given a tour of the lodgings. There were twelve spacious rooms in all, each with distinctive and whimsical touches, utilizing the art of Trompe l'oeil (we spent a least an hour just staring at the ceiling above our bed).

We selected the Camera Sant'Orsola for its wonderful little balcony overlooking a little chapel, the beautiful bed with its ornate wooden catherdral door headboard and the biggest bathroom we had ever been in.

The most beautiful bathroom ever!
Since choosing a room for its bathroom was a first for us, it seems a detailed description should be made: In the middle of the huge room stood a a free standing, deep, no, VERY deep, white cast iron, four legged tub. The toilet and bidet each were nestled away with deco-like, back lit partitions with a step-up vanity tucked between. The ceiling was extremely high and elaborately painted. A full wall was dedicated to windows overlooking the courtyard. Molto bella.
Barbera del Monferrato and a Symphony of sausages
Jaws agape in historical and architectural wonder, we spent our evening strolling around the village, then hiking through the vineyards at sunset. We finished with a bottle of the estate’s Barbera del Monferrato perfect for the “Symphony of our own sausages to cutting board Monferrato” in a candlelit courtyard. Little details were everywhere -- even the lanterns were made from wine carafes. Cosi’ romantico.

To end a perfect day, we drifted off to luxurious sleep while contemplating the ceiling of our bedroom.

David & Veronica,

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