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Continuing with our vacation in Northern Italy … in Piedmont where we were staying, the nearest big town is Asti.

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Asti has the largest late medieval architectural heritage of the region, in memory of what was once the most powerful town in Piedmont. There are numerous towers, fortified houses, churches, and palaces. The area north-west of the city, between the city center and the Cathedral, is very rich in medieval merchants’ houses and palaces, many with monumental towers. It was once known as the ‘City of One Hundred Towers’ (Città delle cento torri).

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Apparently, from early 14th century, Asti enjoyed enormous wealth and power with extensive trading rights granted by the Holy Roman Empire. During the 17th century, there were an incredible 125 of them, though today only a dozen or so still survive.

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Of the 12 or so towers that remain, only this one can be climbed. Torre Troyana Dell’ Orologia is a 38m-tall tower that dates from the 12th century. The clock was added in 1420.

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These are the towers in Costigliole d’Asti, a commune outside of Asti which we passed when we ventured out from our villa.

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One of the most famous events held in Asti is the famous annual Palio di Asti, in which all the old town wards, called “Rioni” and “Borghi” plus nearby towns compete in a bare-back horse race.

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There are 14 old town wards in Asti. The coats of arms of several old town wards were prominently displayed, the race being only a couple of weeks from our visit.  Based on the colors, this one is for Borgo Viatosto.

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This one is for Rione San Secondo.

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This is the coat of arms for Borgo Santa Maria Nuova.

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Asti is famous also for the sparkling wine – Asti Spumante – we passed a massive Martini & Rossi factory. The name today is usually shortened to “Asti” in order to avoid associations with the many wines of dubious quality which are labelled as Spumante. Asti is typically sweet and low in alcohol (often below 8%). It is made solely from the moscato bianco (white muscat grape).

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A premium version of Asti is known as Moscato d’Asti – Sue absolutely loves it and we brought several bottles of La Gatta from Terredavino (see earlier post here) back home with us.

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2 Comments

  1. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • and the same to you too Susie, thanks


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