When you drive inland through the Bormida valley from Savona in Liguria to the charming spa town Acqui Terme in Piemonte chances are you will not have stopped anywhere and certainly not in Spigno Monferrato, a small village not mentioned in any touristic guide.
And why should they?
It’s just one of the many small villages scattered around the valley. It was build near a fortified castle which was destroyed in the 17th century and of which you can now only see some remains. Of course there is the church like in any other place in Italy, same for the colored houses and palazzi. The parish church of Sant’Ambrogio offers beautiful views on the surrounding country side, but you can see that from the car too. And the medieval Ponte San Rocco (seen in the Italian movie “Il Diavolo al Pontelungo”) across the Bormida River with a charming chapel in the middle is often overlooked as there are no good indications to find it.
For me this village represents our valley perfectly. The attraction is subtle, not in your face. They’ve done nothing to cater to tourists, because they are not expected (as an international tourist, you are still clearly an attraction to the locals). And that’s what I like about this and other villages in our area. It’s raw, it’s real, … and yes, sometimes it’s also difficult, but that’s part of its charm.