castelloLERMA is a small hilly town sort around the castle built at the end of the XII century on a precipice that dominates the center of Piota valley. The castle was kept firmly first from Genoa Republic, then from the Monferrato Marquises, but always as feud assigned to Genoese noble family: yet today it is private ownership of a branch of the  Spinola family and it is well preserved, and inside the ancient surrounded building it survives intact the primitive village, the ricetto, built in the Middle Ages to the protecting shade of the castle.  In the XV century one of the cylindrical towers of the castle was insert to the church, fist devoted to Maria Vergine then entitled to St. Giovanni Battista, which preserve some Six hundred frescos and a wooden icon of the Three hundred picturing the Madonna with Child, work of Barnaba from Modena, coming from the near Sanctuary.  Not a lot of distance from the village, respectively to north and south, on the right and on the left of the Piota River, the Romanesque Parish of St. Giovanni Battista and the Rocchetta Sanctuary are found: the Parish, today inserted inside the cemetery, preserve Four hundred valuable frescos; in the Sanctuary, built in the XIII century and restructured in 1492, it was found, besides the wooden icon, a great painting of the Six hundred picturing the vassal Luca Spinola with his wife and two little twins: the painting, given to the Sanctuary in thanks for a long time desired issue, is to day lost.

The Rocchetta Sanctuary takes the name from a small high medieval tower that rose on the nearby hill, and of which G. Pipino has recently underlined the basal part.  Everything around, on the Piotaold terrace, it is yet possible to observe wide heaps of well lined up pebbles, residual of the Roman Gold Mines (aurifodinae) working: in fact, during Roman times and before the whole valley has been object of intense exploitation of the Piota alluvial sediments and of the gold bearing terraces, wile in following times the near Gorzente gold lodes are been exploited, from which originates the gold that is possible to pan in the Piota river.  In the Lerma common territory the Piota waters are clear and uncontaminated, and the surrounding hills, woody or cultivated to vineyard, preserve a rural taste that screeches with the final part of the valley, part of Tagliolo and Silvano d’Orba communities, where was preferred to install industries.

Lerma is attainable by car from the motorway exit of Ovada, street Belforte (7.5 Kms), or from the provincial road Ovada-Novi Ligure near Silvano, Via Caraffa (8 Kms).  It is also easily attainable from Ovada. from Novi Ligure and from Alessandria with public bus, that stop in front of the Museum: the bus coming from Alessandria railway station they make proper terminal in the Museum adjacent place (Piazza Genova).

In Lerma, in the historical Baldo building, recently restructured, there is the operational center of the Capanne Marcarolo Natural Park (tel. 0143/877825).  A little far, in the Costalunga locality, an Astronomic observatory is risen, one of the greatest and important of the Piedmont region.

 

In the country there are good typical restaurants and in the surrounding territory operate some agritourism that offer hospitality.

 

Bed and Brekfast: Grandmother Teresa, Via Baldo n. 3, tel. 0143/877397

Agriturismo  Il Mulino, Via Calderoni n. 39, tel. 0143/877140

Agriturismo Il Burlino,  Cascina Burlinos, tel. 0143/877491

Agriturismo Le Miniere,  Casa Masino, tel. 0143/877801

 

To little distance from Lerma, in the Tagliolo hilly territory, there is the Panoramic Colma Camping (tel. 0143/89158).