Maranzana

All crazy for the babaci, the life-size puppets that "tell" life and history of Maranzana.


Landscape.

The Municipality of Maranzana is the extreme border southeast of the province of Asti, on the boundary with the Province of Alessandria.

The town stretches along the ridge of a hill among its marvelous vineyards.

The entire territory is included in the Safeguard Zone called "Il Bosco delle Sorti - La Communa", a natural and wooded oasis, protected, of particular beauty and of great importance for wildlife and nature. Inside it develop fitness routes, scenic routes, scenic and birdwatching.

The Safeguard Zone involves six Municipalities and allows the conservation of all those vegetation aspects of flora and fauna typical of its micro climate, in a transition territory between the alluvial plain and the hilly slopes that gradually rise towards the Apennines strip, enhancing the peculiar resources.

Maranzana is a great place to relax in the greenery and tranquility, in a breathtaking natural environment. Its hilly landscape is composed of green woods and neat rows.

The magnificent spectacle of the vineyards that change its colors with the changing of the seasons is a great attraction for those looking for magical atmospheres.

The village is located on a hill that offers from every point of the town an exciting view, unforgettable sunrises and sunsets, as far as the eye can see on the Po Valley, the Apennines and the Alps.

The quality of life can be defined as excellent for the possibilities it offers in terms of security, friendliness and hospitality of the people. Children can play outdoors freely and without danger.

For the beauty of its landscape totally immersed in the green of the vineyards and woods, it is a destination for tourists looking for peace and culture.

The town is not crossed by vehicular traffic despite having very convenient main connections with provincial roads and highways.

The economy is based primarily on viticulture and agricultural resources with excellent production.

Maranzana has been registered and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and belonging to the Buffer Zone of "The viticulture landscapes of Piedmont: Langhe - Roero and Monferrato".

The town covers an area of 4.37 km² and has a population of about 250 inhabitants.

It is 42 km from Asti, the provincial capital.


History.

According to Livio, the Gauls invaded Italy around 500 Before Christ and this area became Gallia Cisalpina. At the time, Maranzana was born as a small settlement of shepherds and farmers. From the fifth century onwards the invasions of the Ostrogoths, the Lombards and the French took place. Until the eighth century Maranzana and the surrounding territories suffered devastation.

In 967 Maranzana is a fief included in the Committee of Aqui and is owned by the Marquis Aleramo. Already in 1180 in documents of the time we speak of Maranzana as a fief.

In 1539, in a deed of sale, the Castle was named for the first time.

Over the centuries Maranzana shared the good and bad fate of the Monferrato in the four great periods of its history: Aleramico (967 - 1305), Paleologo (1305 - 1533), the Gonzaga of Mantua (1533 - 1708), of the Savoy (1708 - 1861).

The origin of the name.

From studies made, the name Maranzana could be of predial origin, that is to say a noun that refers to a territory, a land. Predial in fact derives from the name predio, Latinism which means landed property, rustic, urban. At the base of the toponym there may be Roman personal names.

The medieval documentation offers us: Marencanus (found on maps of 1188); Maranzana of 1199; Marenzana of 1257; Maransana of 1353. Some scholars interpret it as derived from the Latin verb "emereus" or from the personal Roman name "emerentius" or directly from "emerentiana".

A popular interpretation links the name to the Roman martyr Emerenziana of 304 Anno Domini (sister of milk of Saint Agnese).

The decisive name of Maranzana dates back no later than XVI century, a period in which the term does not present any further variations.


Administration.


Food and wine and typical products.

The economy is based primarily on viticulture and agricultural resources with excellent production.

In fact, in recent years, the territory of the Municipality has been divided into "sub-zones", each of which specializes in the cultivation of a specific type of grape and then the production of a certain type of wine: Moscato in the vineyards of Avezzano; Cortese in those of Tagliata; Barbera on the hills of Badia, Solia and Riolo; Dolcetto, Brachetto and Chardonnay in the Violina sub-area.

Typical dishes are the risotto with Barbera, the bagna cauda and the hazelnut cake.


To be seen.

The village is dominated by the medieval castle.

The majestic building, characterized by a large wall of protective and strategic importance, has preserved some important parts of the era of construction, despite the alterations carried out over the centuries.

In Maranzana, as well as in other Monferrato castles, it is interesting to point out a constant characteristic: the coexistence of square and round towers in the same manor.

The alternation of round and square towers in the castles of the area is hardly ever a coincidence, but one can safely say that it is a very precise style of construction, which consists of building, in general, the corner towers in circular form, while the keep or in any case the tower above the entrance in a square or rectangular shape.

This peculiarity rarely occurs in other regions of Italy.

Not far from the castle we find the Church of Saints Giovanni Battista e Emerenziana, parish church, built in the seventeenth century and redeveloped in 1879.

Also, worth seeing is the Church of Nostra Signora Annunziata, (1600) which preserves a valuable block of the Annunciation, in wood, of the Venetian school of the seventeenth century and the Church of Saint Rocco, ancient lazaretto in a panoramic position from which you can enjoy a 360 degree view to the background of the mountains.

In Maranzana there is a museum dedicated to its most famous citizen, the navigator and explorer Giacomo Bove.

As anticipated, the municipality is included in the Safeguard Zone called "Bosco delle Sorti - La Communa", a natural and wooded oasis, protected, of particular beauty and of great importance for wildlife and nature.


Curiosity.

With the intention to revive some corners of the town of Maranzana that were becoming depopulated, a group of women thought to make some babaci (Babaci is a dialect word used in Maranzana - and in most of the north-west of Italy - which means puppets) and arrange them in the streets of the town, as if welcoming visitors.

The path of babaci starts from the Maranzana winery parking lot.

The initiative has been a great success to the point of becoming one of the most sought after tourist attractions in the town.