The sculptor Giulio Monteverde was born in Bistagno in 1837. He studied first in Genoa and then in Rome, at the Accademia di San Luca. Here he made considerable technical progress and in the early 1870s had his first great successes with works that showed a confident positivist approach to the subject of human genius and technical and scientific progress. In 1884 he established his home and atelier in a purpose-built building on Piazza Indipendenza in Rome. His notable career, marked by a large number of international commissions for sepulchral and celebratory monuments in particular, led him to play a leading role in the official art world of his time, sitting on commissions and juries and receiving many honorary appointments. In the last five years of his life, nostalgia drew Monteverde back to his native Acquese area, where he made a series of sculptural gifts.
In 1919, two years after his death, his daughters donated the collection of plaster models from his Roman atelier to the city of Genoa. A good proportion of these works, along with various donations and loans to Bistagno, now form the Giulio Monteverde Gipsoteca in Bistagno.
The Gipsoteca (the Italian term for a plaster-cast gallery) occupies seven rooms on the first floor of Palazzo Leale, built at the end of the 19th century to house the local schools. The galleries were laid out in 2001 and chronologically and thematically trace the key stages in the artistic career of the sculptor, who was born in Bistagno in 1837.
MONUMENTS IN BISTAGNO
Parish church of San Giovanni Battista, built in the 17th century; Pieve dell'Assunta in baroque style.
One of the most beautiful sights in the village is the group of houses overlooking the Bormida River, with stone wash troughs descending towards the grassy bank. Bistagno’s perfectly triangular plan is of particular interest, and is still clearly visible in the historic centre; it reflects the defensive function when it was founded in 1253.
IN THE AREA
Acqui Terme, Roman city and hot springs; Cassine and its Museum of Sacred Art; Denice and its open-air Museum of Ceramics; Roccaverano with its Bramante-style parish church and tower.
The entire area, of exceptional natural interest, is dotted with many beautiful villages.
Wines: Barbera del Monferrato, Dolcetto d'Acqui, Moscato d'Asti DOCG, Brachetto d'Acqui, and one to discover, Albarossa: a truly excellent wine made from Albarossa grapes, a variety resulting from Prof. Dalmasso’s experimental cross between Nebbiolo and Barbera.
Gym for individual and team sports and sporting events in general. Football fields and court for palla pugno (traditional southern Piedmontese ball game).
Nature trails for walking, hiking, Nordic walking, mountain biking and horseriding.
Conference room and library; educational activities for school and families.
The Museum is disability-friendly.
13 May: Castelli Aperti, opening 10.30-12.30, 15.00-18.30; guided tours by appointment.
May-October: Saturday and Sunday.
Opne on holidays: 1 May, 2 June, 15 August (by appointment).
Open for tourists and groups by appointment.
Guided tours in english and french by appointment.
Adult € 5;
students (age 15-24), senior (over 65), disabled visitors and groups (min. 15 people) € 3;
free for children under 14.