UNESCO, wine and Monferrato: the Infernot

UNESCO, wine and Monferrato: the Infernot

Update: check the complete list of public UNESCO’s Infernot below.




What is it an Infernot?


I’ll start with a sort of ‘coming-out’: I didn’t know what Infernot were, until about a year ago. One afternoon a council member of my village, Casorzo, asked me if I wanted to be a guide during an opening of the local Infernot. I was too shy to say no and curious at the same time: here is what I found out.


That experience opened a world to me: or more precisely it opened a world beneath my feet! I discovered what the Infernot are – in a nutshell: one or more underground rooms  hand carved into the stone and intended for storing wine.




Why Infernot did become a UNESCO site?


First of all, let’s be more specific: in 2014 UNESCO recognised the presence of an “Outstanding Universal Value” in Piedmont, in the territories of Langhe, Monferrato and Roero.


Reasons being the entrenched culture of wine (this is a wine region since Ancient Rome times!) and the extraordinary landscape shaped by human labour, related to the grape growing (viticulture) and wine production (viniculture).


It is the first wine area in the world to have received this award.



UNESCO Site of Monferrato Langhe and Roero


This UNESCO site is not a single landmark, but is spread-out through the territories of Langhe, Monferrato and Roero and consist of six different components:

  • Langa of Barolo: the vineyards hills area around the villages of Barolo, La Morra, Serralunga d’Alba
  • Grinzane Cavour Castle: The Castle and the vines of Grinzane Cavour village.
  • Hills of Barbaresco: vineyards hills around the villages of Barbaresco and Neive
  • Nizza Monferrato and Barbera: vineyards area around Nizza Monferrato
  • The Underground Cathedrals: the big cellars where the sparkling wine ageing in Canelli


And, of course, the:

  • Monferrato of the Infernot: the Barbera vineyard area near Casale Monferrato, where the Infernot have been dug into the hills.




Dug by Hand 200 years ago


So, Infernot are just cellars? Not exactly. Or rather: not only.


Infernot collects the material and immaterial culture of Monferrato. At the end of 1700, when the wine began to be bottled, many local farmers started to dig these rooms by themselves, at a depth of around 4 meters under the topsoil, to keep the best selections of bottled wine.


All Infernot are dug by hand in Pietra da Cantoni, a soft limestone. If you look closely at the stone you can discover shells, animals fossils and traces of water in it.

The farmers dug the Infernot during the winter, over several years, using only picks: slow and steady work which opened manifold caverns underground.




A forgotten people’s mastery


Infernot are results of an almost forgotten mastery, a local farmers know-how, wisdom of experience of those who had no formal training in geology or architecture, and still managed to dig by hand solid and complex structures, extending tens of cubic meters.


The farmers created these underground rooms to achieve an environment with consistent temperature and humidity: perfect conditions for storing bottled wine.

These rooms also became meeting places: it is not uncommon to find tables, also carved out of stone, around which they played, they talked. And of course, they drank delicious wines!




Only in a small area of Monferrato


Infernot are a unique type of construction that are found only in the surrounding vineyards between the villages of Rosignano Monferrato, Cella Monte, Camagna, and Vignale Monferrato, where the cultivation of the Barbera grape-variety has been going on for centuries.


In this area were the ancient quarries for the extraction of the Pietra da Cantoni, which characterises the architecture of the villages.



Little hells, wine’s paradises


The origin of the word “Infernot” is Provençal: it means “tight place”, and in the Piedmontese dialect it sounds like “little hell”, maybe because to reach them often you have to overcome narrow underground corridors.


But when you find yourself admiring antique bottles in the middle of a room hand-dug into stone, with a wort-like aroma in the air, I’m sure you’ll think of something much sweeter.




Nowadays all these UNESCO sites is under the governance of the Association for the Heritage of the Vineyard Landscape of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato.


The visits are managed by the Eco Museum of Pietra da Cantoni in Cella Monte: over the years the eco-museum continues the census of the Infernot (currently there are almost 100 surveyed Infernot) and manage the openings.



Ecomuseo della Pietra da Cantoni

Website: www.ecomuseopietracantoni.it
Address: Piazza Vallino, 15034 Cella Monte AL
Phone: 0142 488161
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ecomuseopietracantoni



Below there is a list of public Infernot, divided by municipalities. All the visits must be booked in advance. There are many others located in private estates, some of them opens in special occasions: the best way to visit the Infernot is contact the Ecomuseo della Pietra da Cantoni.




Infernot in Cella Monte


1 public infernot

Info: Ecomuseo della Pietra da Cantoni (contact above)


2 Infernot in winefarms

Info: Azienda Vitivinicola La Casaccia
Website: www.lacasaccia.biz
Address: Via Barbano 10, 15034 Cella Monte AL
Phone: +39 0142 489986
Email: [email protected]


Info: Azienda Vitivinicola La Cà Nova
Website: www.marcobellero.com
Address: Via Cei 18, 15034 Cella Monte AL
Mobile: +39 333 9544699
Email: [email protected]




Infernot in Terruggia


1 public Infernot

Info: Town Hall
Website: http://www.comune.terruggia.al.it/Pagina.php?id=83
Address: Via Guglielmo Marconi 9, 15030 Terruggia AL
Phone: +39 0142 401400
Email: [email protected]



Infernot in Vignale Monferrato

2 public Infernot

Info: Town Hall
Website: www.comune.vignalemonferrato.al.it
Address: Piazza del Popolo 7, 15049 Vignale Monferrato AL
Phone: +39 0142 933001
Email: [email protected]


2 Infernot in winefarms

Info: Azienda Agricola Buzio Oreste
Website: https://orestebuzio.it/it/azienda
Address: Via Piave 13, 15049 Vignale Monferrato AL
Phone: +39 0142 933197
Email: [email protected]


Info: Azienda Agricola Zavattaro Modesto
Address: Cascina Vallone 5, Frazione San Lorenzo 15049 Vignale Monferrato AL
Phone: +39 0142 933254




Infernot in Ottiglio


1 Infernot run by an Association

Info: Associazione Terra & fuoco
Website: http://www.assoterraefuoco.it/index.html
Address: via Mazza 23, 15038 Ottiglio AL
Mobile: 340 735 4885
Email: [email protected]




Infernot in Sala Monferrato

1 public Infernot

Info: Town Hall
Website: www.comune.salamonferrato.al.it
Address: Via Roma 1, 15030 Sala Monferrato AL
Phone: +39 0142 486721
Email: [email protected]




Infernot in Grazzano Badoglio


1 public Infernot

Info: Town Hall
Website: www.comune.grazzanobadoglio.at.it
Address: Via IV Novembre 1, 14035 Grazzano Badoglio AT
Phone: +39 0141 925455
Email: [email protected]




Infernot in Ozzano Monferrato

1 Infernot in a winefarm

Info: Azienda Agricola Angelini Paolo
Website: http://www.viniangelini.it
Address: Cascina Cairo 10, 15039 Ozzano Monferrato AL
Phone: +39 0142 487857
Mobile: +39 346 854 9015
Email: [email protected]




Infernot in Rosignano Monferrato


2 public Infernot inside the Municipality building
Info: Comune di Rosignano Monferrato
Website: www.comune.rosignanomonferrato.al.it
Address: via Roma 19, 15030 Rosignano Monferrato AL
Phone: +39 0142 489 009
Email: [email protected]


3 Infernot in 3 different winefarms

Info: Azienda Agricola Vicara / Infernot della Chiesa Madonna delle Grazie
Website: www.vicara.it
Address: Via Madonna delle Grazie 4, 15030 Rosignano Monferrato AL
Phone: +39 0142 488054 / +39 338 389 2649 / +39 333 270 9386
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]


Info: Azienda vitivinicola Zanello Paolo
Website: www.cantinazanello.it
Address: via IV novembre 2 – Frazione San Martino, 15030 Rosignano Monferrato AL
Phone: +39 0142 670115 (ony in the mornings) +39 349 427 1965
Email: [email protected]


Info: Infernot Ottoz
Address: at Istituto Luparia, via Luparia 14 – Frazione San Martino, 15030 Rosignano Monferrato AL
Phone: +39 0142 690 064 /+39 0142 488 214
Email: [email protected]




1 Infernot in a B&B
Info: B&B L’Infernot
Website: www.linfernot.it
Address: via Madonna delle Grazie 4, 15030 Rosignano Monferrato AL
Phone: +39 0142 488 229 / +39 333 212 2066
Email: [email protected]



Infernot in Olivola


1 Infernot in a Restaurant

Info: Ristorante Ai Cedri
Address: Via Vittorio Veneto 23, 15030 Olivola AL
Phone: +39 0142 938885




Written by Tommaso Zavattaro and Costanza Gaia | Edited by Fiona Scull | Photography by Paola Berra and courtesy of Ecomuseo della Pietra da Cantoni



  • Young
    Posted at 12:08h, 01 August Reply

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting
    a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner because I discovered it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!
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    • Monferrato Delights
      Posted at 17:50h, 01 August

      Thanks for your comment Young,

      If your friend need some other materials he/she could check at the Ecomuseum of Pietra da Cantoni website: https://www.ecomuseopietracantoni.it, they have a large documentation, part of it is also in English.

      Hope you enjoyed your meal, you’re welcome 😉


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    Posted at 15:05h, 02 September Reply

    […] Monferrato, whose rolling vineyards are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, lies within the provinces of Asti and Alessandria in Piedmont. Famous the world over for […]

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