What To Do In Asti?

Asti is one of the gourmet cities of Piedmont. The province of Asti is located in the heart of the Piedmont region halfway between Turin, Alessandria, Alba, and Casale Monferrato. Around Asti there is a large wine-growing area in a beautiful hilly landscape. The extensive vineyards with gentle hills and valleys appear in a new play of colors in every season, a treat for the eyes and senses.
The wine-growing region extends to the Langhe area near Alba. If you walk look around in your supermarket, you will find Asti products. Asti is world famous for its sparkling wine, the Asti Spumante. Nature reserves along the course of the river alternate with small, medieval villages and abbeys along the historic Frankenweg.

The provincial capital Asti has approximately 75,000 inhabitants. The historic city center dates from the Middle Ages. Asti flourished from the 11th to the 14th century. In September, the traditional wine and harvest festival and the Palio d’Asti, a traditional horse race, are held.

What To See In Asti?

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Gottardo of Asti was built on the remains of the Roman church of San Giovanni. Excavations in the church cemetery have shown this. The current cathedral was built between 1295 and 1350 in the Gothic style. The facade contains three rosettes. The church consists of three naves and has the layout of a Latin cross. The interior of the church is decorated with frescoes from the 13th and 14th centuries. The oldest part of the cathedral is the 11th century bell tower. In the crypt of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Gottardo are columns in red porphyry from Roman times. The cemetery was located between the cathedral and the church of San Giovanni. Excavations have unearthed one of the oldest tombs with hundreds of stone coffins, a mosaic floor and a Roman chest.

The Comentina tower in Corso Alfieri, also called Torre di San Bernardino, with a height of 38.5m was built in the 13th century. The neo-Gothic style Bellino Palace below is from the 19th century Palazzo Bellino houses the Risorgimento Museum and the municipal art gallery.

The Collegiate Church of San Secondo was named after the patron saint of Asti, Saint Secondo. It is located in Piazza San Secondo next to the Palazzo des Comune. It was built on the site of the city’s holy patron saint. The tomb was located directly outside the Roman city wall, since no tombs were allowed inside the city. The crypt dates from the 8th century and the Romanesque bell tower from the 10th century. The church has a Gothic style with a Romanesque facade built in the 13th and 15th centuries.

The Palazzo  of the city bailiff is located in the area of the Church of San Secondo in Via dei Cappellai and Via Incisa and is one of the most interesting and best-preserved medieval palaces in plain brick.

The octagonal De Regibus tower is located in Via Roero at the corner of Corso Alfieri. It belonged to the De Regibus family, along with two other towers in the city. The three towers were called “Tre Re”, three kings. The name has remained until today, although the other two towers no longer exist.
Torre De Regibus dates from the 13th century and was originally 39m high and ended with a pewter terrace.

Where the church of Santa Caterina soars today, there was once a Roman city gate with two towers. Torre Rossa is the remaining of the two towers. Both towers were once connected by an arch. They formed the western city gate from Asti towards Turin. The Torre Rossa tower dates from the epoch of the Emperor Augustin between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD. Here the patron of the city of San Secondo was incarcerated before suffering martyrdom. In the Middle Ages, Torre Rossa served as the bell tower of the Romanesque church of San Secondo. During this time, the tower was increased by two floors.

Outside the medieval city ring were the hospital and the church of San Sepolcro, now known as the San Pietro complex. The San Pietro complex consists of several buildings. The oldest part is the Rotonda, an octagonal building from the 11th to 12th centuries. The other buildings are a residential complex with a cloister and the Valperga chapel. The San Pietro Baptistery houses the paleontological and archaeological museum.

The complex originally consisted of the Palazzo and the Torre Troia. While there is nothing left of the Troy Palace, the 44 m high Torre Troiana tower from the Middle Ages is still very well preserved. In the 16th century, the city installed a clock on the tower. It has been nicknamed the clock tower since then. There are battlements on the tower. The tower can be visited. From the top you can enjoy a wonderful 360 degree panorama over the entire city.

Asti was founded under the name of Hasta Pompeia under the Romans, but there are still older traces that can be traced back to Etruscan and Celtic inhabitants. Impressive buildings have survived from the Roman era, as well as from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, making a city tour a historical experience. From Roman times the Roman amphitheater in Via D’Azeglio 22, part of a “Domus” in Via Varrone 30 and the red tower “Torre Rossa” in Corso Alfieri 424, which was part of the city walls, have been preserved. There are also some glass and clay vessels from the Roman period in the museum. Recent excavations under the Sant’Anastasio monastery have exposed the Roman Forum and extensive thermal facilities in the area around Piazza Cagni, Via Mazzini, Via Malabaila and Via Roero.

In the Middle Ages, the rulers changed between Langobards, Franconia under Charlemagne and the church under the local bishops. Bishop Oddone III founded the City of Asti in 1095, which continued to expand in the following years.

The surrounding counties tried to prevent the rapid rise of Asti with the help of Barbarossa, who set fire to the city in 1155. Only after 22 years of struggle was freedom granted to Asti in the Peace of Constance in 1187. However, this peace did not last long and the rulers and alliances changed rapidly over the centuries (Savoy, Visconti, Sforza, Napoleon, to name just a few).

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