After 24 years of absence, the athletes return to Bra for the twelfth stage of the Giro d'Italia 2023, facing a route of 179 kilometers between plains, hills and medium mountains.
It starts from a fabulous scenery, that of the Langhe and Roero, named a UNESCO heritage in 2014, among verdant hills, vineyards, castles and fortresses.
The origins of Bra are very ancient, from the Neolithic to the Roman Empire, up to the Savoy dynasty, whose traces are preserved in the Civic Museum of Archaeology and History of Art-Palazzo Traversa. Here it is possible to follow thematic paths, ranging from the archaeological section, where the history and finds of the nearby Roman city of Pollentia are illustrated, to painting from the ‘600 to the ‘900, up to a room dedicated to the illustrious characters of Bra. The city is also one of the places where the Piedmontese Baroque is most concentrated.
Walking through the streets of the center, you will come across many artistic testimonies, decorated palaces and majestic churches, such as: the beautiful Church of the Trinity, finely decorated with white stuccoes and frescoes, and the Church of Sant'Andrea, built to Bernini's design, a spectacle of gold, frescoes and statues.
Well visible from every point of the city, is the Zizzola, an octagonal building that stands on the highest hill, Monte Guglielmo, a palace dating back to 1840, born as a private residence, country house and "villa of delights", which has become a symbol of the braidsi, now a museum that can be visited.
The landscapes surrounding Bra leave you breathless, all around are woods to explore and paths to follow, such as the Great Roero Trail, a 40-kilometer trekking and mountain bike route, which crosses the entire ridge of the Rocche del Roero; the rocks are very deep gorges obtained from a natural phenomenon of rock erosion, which can still be seen today, a unique landscape.
In 1986, in Bra, the international association Slowfood was born, a movement aimed at promoting the culture of “good eating”, which deals with the protection of territories and biodiversity, as well as food education. This comes from the immense food and wine tradition that characterizes the territory, land of excellence and genuine products, famous and exported all over the world. Just in the city deriving from ancient Pollentia, in fact, there is the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, an institute born and promoted by the Slowfood association in 2004, which trains expert gourmets from all over the world.
To list just some of the products of excellence that can be found here, such as not to mention the famous Bra sausage, a sausage of veal to be eaten strictly raw, or Bra DOP, a mountain cheese, or pasture, both in the hard variant and soft, depending on the seasoning.
Or the renowned wines of the territory of Langhe and Roero, with controlled designation of origin (DOC), such as, for example, the well-known Barbera DOC.
The race continues its journey until you reach Rivoli, a beautiful town connected to nearby Turin, which still presents many buildings and works of the past.
To watch over the town from above, is the Sabaudo Castle, a building built on a pre-existing medieval fort, included in the list of the Sabaude Residences of UNESCO, now Museum of Contemporary Art, which houses periodic exhibitions of international artists of the past and the present, such as: Michelangelo Pistoletto, Sol Lewitt, Maurizio Cattelan and Richard Long.
A short distance from the castle, descending along the beautiful Via Piol, is the Casa del Conte Verde, a building of the 1400s with a beautiful colonnade, an important example of Piedmontese architecture, where today several exhibitions and cultural events take place.
In the surroundings of Rivoli we find Rivalta di Torino, a charming historic village, where the Orsini Castle is located, an ancient construction dating back to the year 1000, a stone fortress surrounded by a moat and a beautiful park guarded by strong walls.
In the unspoilt nature that is all around Bra, it is possible to hike different trails, whether walking or trekking, in organized groups or independently.
Here the long peasant tradition of the territory is respected, and the typical dishes to taste are mainly composed of products at km 0.
Definitely to try: polenta with Castelmagno, a semi-hard DOP cheese, a product of excellence, bagnacauda, a garlic, oil and anchovy entintolo, where you can soak fresh vegetables, usually as an aperitif, tajarin, a fresh pasta to try with different condiments, and many appetizing desserts.