Palio di Asti

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Canelli

Canelli - Panorama
Canelli - Chiesa San RoccoCanelli - City HallCanelli - Muscat GrapeCanelli - San Tommaso ChurchCanelli - VineyardsCanelli - Stabilimento Gancia

The lovely town of Canelli is located in the famous Monferrato Region.

Canelli is mostly known for its vineyards; in fact it is believed that it was in this area that the famous Asti Spumante was born!

In 2014 the town and the Asti Spumante were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The first settlements in the area are dated back to the prehistoric period. During the Roman domination it became a very important town thanks to its wine production. After this period of prosperity however the city followed the unfortunate destiny of many others in the area; it became theatre of many battles and sieges.

To celebrate an important victory by its brave citizens every year in June take place a re-enactment of the Siege of Canelli.

Due to Canelli’s tormented history during the 11th century a Castle was erected in order to protect the area. Five centuries later the building was completely destroyed. Only at the beginning of the 20th century a new castle was rebuilt; however this time the construction resembles more a sophisticate villa than a real castle. Today the villa is part of the Gancia family estate.

Things to see

In its surroundings many different variety of grape are cultivated; among the most famous one are the Moscato, Barbera, Dolcetto and Chardonnay. Canelli’s vineyards produce mainly: Asti Spumante, Moscato d’Asti, Barbera d’Asti and Dolcetto d’Asti.

An interesting fact to know about the town is that many of the white wines produced in the area are aged in Canelli’s underground cellars! Every years millions of bottles ferment in these unique cellars. Their extension is today of about 13 kilometres under the city.

Canelli participates every year in the Palio di Asti. The city also hosts a regional Truffle Fair every second Sunday of November. 

Asti

Asti - Vineyards
Asti - DuomoAsti - PalaceAsti - Palio di AstiAsti - Torre TroyanaAsti - Santa Caterina ChurchAsti - Palio

The first settlements in this area are dated back to the Neolithic period.

Due to its strategic position Asti is been involved in endless battles for centuries. The Roman built the first fortifications around the town; however it couldn’t stop several barbarian invasions!

After centuries of uncertainty the city passed under the French domination. At the end of the 16th century it became part of the Savoy’s dominion.

The rich past of Asti is shown in its beautiful city centre, where it is still possible to admire part of the ancient city walls and many gorgeous medieval palaces and merchants houses. During the medieval time became popular, among the richest families, to erect monumental towers; the town was also called “the city of 100 towers”. Luckily many of these towers are still existent. Among the most famous are: Torre dei Comentini, Torre de Regibus and Torre Troyana (all built during the 13th century); unique it is the ancient Rossa di San Secondo, erected during the Roman period.

Discovering the city it is also possible to visit several stunning churches. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta was built during the 13th century in Romanesque-Gothic style on top of an old Church. The gorgeous bell tower was added in 1266. Another beautiful church worth a visit is the Collegiata di San Secondo dedicated to Secundus of Asti the town’s patron saint. It was constructed during the 13th century; however the crypt was part of an older building and it is dated back to the 6th century.

Every year at the end of September the city hosts the famous Palio di Asti. During this event each Asti’s Rione and some of the adjacent towns, rival in a bare-back horse race. The Palio was established to celebrate an important victory in battle against the city of Alba. It is the oldest Italian Palio.

Things to see

Asti, Cuneo and Alessandria’s provinces produce some of the best red wines in Italy. The Barbera one is one of the most popular wines of the area.

However the most famous, and renowned around the world, wine produced in the region is the Asti Spumante (DOCG), a sparkling sweet white wine. This wine is produced only with white muscat grape. Besides the Asti Spumante is also produce a more expensive version called Moscato d’Asti.

Asti is also considered a paradise for the truffle lovers! From October to December the white truffle season attracts numerous fan of this famous delicacy!