Canale, an important center of the Roero region, well known for its wineries and specialty shops, has historically been a trading center on the road between Alba and Turin.
In the early part of the 20th century a series of diseases hit the vineyards and forced farmers to switch to other crops. As a result, the Canale farmers dedicated themselves, with considerable success, to cultivating peaches.
The extraordinary quality of the fruits led the town municipality to create a daily peach market, which became quite popular in the early part of 20th century.
Today the cultivation of peaches has significantly diminished in favor of a new concept in grape growing, particularly of the Arneis grapes. The traditional Festa del Pesco di Canale (The peach feast), which takes place every year between July and August, is nevertheless still quite popular.
Fruit and vegetables in Piazza della Vittoria
The weekly market in Canale is held every Tuesday morning.
Despite not being as big as the Alba or Bra markets, in both size and number of stands, it nevertheless has approximately 60 designated stalls that wind through the central streets and squares.
If you come into town early, you’ll find parking space along Via Roma, just after the historic Cantine Enrico Serafino, and continuing on toward the town you can follow this route: Piazza Martiri della Libertà, Piazza della Vittoria, via Roma and Piazza Italia.
The Piazza della Vittoria stands are quite well stocked: particularly important here are the fruit and vegetables stands.
It’s the ideal occasion for tourists to buy and taste, on the spot, the famous Canale peaches or stock up on the excellent strawberries or the Roero asparagus.
On offer in via Roma
Between Piazza Martiri della Libertà and Via Roma you’ll find numerous stands that sell clothing, fashion jewelry, shoes and home accessories.
The perfumery van is quite picturesque, as is Fabrizio’s colorful flower boutique. There’s Franco too with his seeds, flowers, vegetable plants and bulbs stand, who also runs a business selling wholesale hazelnuts.
The wicker products and decorative household items stand is worth stopping at.
The numerous bars under the arcades offer refreshment for those seeking a relaxing moment.
During those rare moments when the flow of people subsides you can have a chat with the vendors.
One of the stands is run by Domenico and his wife Nadia; their stall sells quality cold cuts and a range of cheeses from Piedmont, Sicily and France, both fresh and seasoned.
Nearby we find Livio who is close to retirement but still carefully stacks his array of cheese products: bra, raschera castelmagno, tome di langhe, grana, emmenthal,
And of course there’s the fish products stand: national and international fish, frozen fish, fresh and prepared on the spot to satisfy even the most demanding customers.
You can run into most of these vendors at the major markets in the area, in particular Monte d’Alba, San Damiano, Valfenera, Corneliano.
Canale is an excellent starting point for those visiting the Roero region: It’s an area full of small towns and villages, with numerous wineries and is ideal for nature lovers: the Rocche del Roero (Roero Rocks) characterize the landscape and are accessible thanks to special paths.
If you stay in town we suggest visiting Chiesa di San Bernardino.
Photo Credits: Federico Carpino