Piemonte - Places to visit - Asti
Situated at 123 m., on the left of the Tanaro, in the beautiful Monferrato hills, this town has been the capital of the smallest Piedmontese province since 1935.
Once a Ligurian settlement and Roman municipality, it was occupied by the Ostrogoths, the Lombards (569) and the Franks (774), then ruled by bishops. Pillaged in 1155 by Frederick I Barbarossa, it was associated with the Savoys, the Angevins and the Viscontis: Emanuele Filiberto was declared its last overlord in 1575. After the ephemeral proclamation of the Republic (1797), its fortunes were those of the Savoys and Piedmont.
Mainly situated in the oldest part of the town known as `recinto dei nobili' are the ancient Monuments: San Secondo (13th-15th century), the Cathedral (14th century), Palazzo Alfieri, some of the `hundred towers'; San Pietro in Consavia (14th century) is a short distance away.
The economy of Asti is based on wine and spirits, fruit, vegetables and meat, as well as the textile and engineering industries.
Events: Douja d'Or (wine festival in September), Festa di San Secondo (1st May), Palio di Asti (medieval horse race, September), a local gastronomy week in autumn.
Famous People: Vittorio Alfieri (poet, 1749-1803), Isacco Artom (writer, 1829-1890), Leonardo Botallo (surgeon, 1530-1571), Umberto Cagni (explorer, 1863-1932).
Cultural Institutions: Centre of Alfieri studies, Casa dell'Alfieri, Archeological and Palaeontological Museum, Museo del Risorgimento, Pinacoteca Civica (civic art gallery), Teatro Alfieri (theatre).
In the Province: Nizza Monferrato (engineering, wine and garment industries; wine museum), Canelli (home of Italian spumante), Costigliole d'Asti (Museo delle Contadineri-farming museum).