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The province of Asti - Among Vineyards, Churches and Castles

World famous for its spumante (sparkling wine).
 
The province of Asti - Among Vineyards, Churches and Castles Evocative memories flow through the lands of Asti in a kind of suspension of time, conjured up by the sight of the Romanesque churches and medieval castles that adorn the province like a set of jewels.
The best place to begin a visit to Asti is Piazza Alfieri with its statue of the 18th-century dramatist and poet Vittorio Alfieri, the town's most outstanding historical figure, whose verses still seem to echo through the town – from the main street to the Romanesque Baptistery and the Collegiate Church of San Secondo, Asti's patron saint.

World famous for its spumante (sparkling wine), Asti rivals Siena with its own famous historical Palio, held every September and culminating in a bareback horse race. Before leaving the town, pause to enjoy some delicious polentine  (special Palio biscuits) or some handmade nougat.

Only 26 km from Asti is the small town of Canelli, noted for its majestic castle from 1500, now an elegant villa owned by the Gancia family.

Nearby is the charming town of Castelnuovo Calcea, cradled in a captivating landscape of rolling hills lined with vineyards.

Only a few kilometres away is Costigliole d'Asti, whose feudal past is magnificently evident in the imposing Burio Castle.
Dominated by an austere commanding tower, Castagnole delle Lanze is located between the Langhe and Monferrato, in a zone that strongly represents the local economy: in other words, the production excellent wines.

Our tour ends with the beautiful town of Moncalvo, whose historical ruins symbolise the glorious past when the town was the capital of the Marquisate of Monferrato. Not surprisingly, the castle here was one of the largest fortified buildings in the region. Today Moncalvo is a favourite destination for people seeking rest and relaxation in the heart of the Monferrato hills; however the town suddenly springs to life for the Asti Palio, with all the population enthusiastically taking part.

The province of Asti is an area of great charm, where physical space makes room for the mind and spirit in a succession places noted for their art and history, set against a background of benevolent nature. Asti's power of seduction is undoubtedly increased by its world-famous wine production and famous dishes, such as fondue, agnolotti (a kind of ravioli) and boiled meats accompanied by fragrant truffles and mushrooms, all deliciously triumphant expressions of the local cuisine.
Take one last look at the vineyards, the busy wine cellars and the rolling hills before relaxing in one of the agritourism facilities we recommend, and seal a pact of love with a promise to return to the province of Asti.

Did you know that…?
The breath of history found everywhere in Asti can be especially felt when you visit Palazzo Catena, an imposing medieval building in the town. This is the building Silvio Pellico used as the setting for the heroine of his tragedy, Iginia d'Asti. Popular tradition tells how the ghost of this beautiful woman still wanders undisturbed among the Palazzo's sumptuous rooms. But she's neither lonely or alone, since local legend also has it that the town's main streets are haunted by the ghost of Adelaide, a courageous, dynamic woman who was a descendant of Arduino d'Ivrea, and who apparently fought as an equal with the men in the front line during battles.


Michela Bilotta




 

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