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).