Alba, Bra, Langhe and Roero have applied to become the Italian Capital of Culture 2026. A prestigious title, promoted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism with the aim of promoting projects and activities for the valorisation of the great Italian cultural heritage through a sort of competition between different territorial entities, motivating them to propose a plan capable of encouraging the growth of tourism and local investments. The hills that gave birth to the writers Beppe Fenoglio, Cesare Pavese and Giovanni Arpino, the lands of truffles and great wines which became a UNESCO heritage site in 2014, the medieval castles and the refined gastronomic culture are all present together: there are 88 Large and small municipalities involved in what is the largest territorial candidacy ever planned in Italy. An original and ambitious idea, launched two years ago by the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of the Truffle and Wines of Alba, Tomaso Zanoletti, receiving important acclaim and great support. Destination manager and Knight Mauro Carbone, former director of the ATL Langhe Roero Monferrato, was called to lead the work of the promoting committee.

 

Carbone, what stage is the project at?

We presented our dossier and passed the first exam, entering among 10 finalist projects. On 4 and 5 March the finalists will be summoned to Rome for a public hearing to present and study the application dossier. On March 29, the jury will communicate to the Minister the candidacy deemed most suitable to be awarded the title Italian Capital of Culture for the year 2026.

 

What is the title of the dossier?

We took the title from a phrase in Cesare Pavese’s diary, “Living is beginning”, adding the subtitle “Langhe and Roero: another story”. These few words contain the whole meaning of the candidacy, which looks at innovation, pride and the cultural transformation of this territory ennobled by the industriousness of man.

 

The objectives of the application?

We have started this journey to create a cultural development laboratory that involves all of us citizens, promoting awareness and participatory planning. The idea is to be as innovative as possible, encouraging the development of the cultural industry in the area. The final objective is not only to become the Capital of Culture and to create a large program of events: the project aims to make cultural production in the area more lively, present and institutionalized. Langhe and Roero host many initiatives, but they can still grow in creation and internal management. Thanks to the UNESCO recognition and the growth of tourism, the territory of Alba and Bra is making an important journey of awareness, which can now be completed in the direction of culture, innovation and care of the founding values. Food and wine, entrepreneurship, tourism, innovation, stewardship and protection of the landscape are the excellences that the world recognizes in Langhe and Roero and which the candidacy seeks to strengthen through the active participation of the entire community to generate, even in the cultural sphere, that sense of awareness which made these places unique and unmistakable.

 

Will tourism also benefit from this project?

The most current tourism trends in Italy and abroad demonstrate that today culture is an extraordinary driver of growth and valorisation of a territory. Studies and analyzes carried out on previous editions in other cities confirm how this initiative can generate strong growth in flows, with an average increase of 35% in arrivals and attendance. But it is not exclusively a question of numbers: the cultural traveler has a high socioeconomic profile, capable of generating positive economic impacts in the short but also in the long term, thanks to longer, in-depth and seasonally adjusted stays. We have applied for Italian Capital of Culture 2026 because we know we have all the requirements to win: an artistic and cultural heritage of exceptional importance and a dynamic internal and external vision, without nostalgia for the past but projected towards a sustainable near future. We will win if we know how to be a close-knit and motivated team.

 

by journalist Roberto Fiori