Above: the historic Barolo castle in the center of Barolo, the village.
According to a report published this week by the Turin edition of the Corriere della Sera, the Union of Communes of the Langa Hills and Barolo has commissioned a study of a potential ban on tourist traffic between the villages of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, and Monforte d’Alba.
The proposed plan would also provide for an electric shuttle that would ferry wine lovers throughout the appellation. The shuttles could also be employed to take children to school each day.
The author writes that 500,000 people visit the appellation each year. On weekends, the traffic in villages like Barolo, with a total population of 650, has become unsustainable.
“We have already invested in electric bicycle routes,” says Roberto Passone, president of the communes association in the Corriere article. “We don’t want exclude anyone but we want to make our landscape more enjoyable.”
Tourism is what drives the local economy, notes Barolo mayor Renata Franco, “but we also need to consider our residents and our children.”
The proposed plan would also repurpose industrial zones as large parking lots where tourists could leave the cars while visiting.
One top producer, Ernesto Abbona, owner of the historic Marchesi di Barolo estate, has even proposed charging tourists admission to the appellation.
But others feel such a step would be too much.
“We don’t want to become an elitist destination just for the rich,” says Monforte d’Alba Livio Genesio. “There are alternative solutions and we are looking at every one of them so that we won’t have to issue tickets and take reservations.”