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The city of Asti is 40 minutes drive from Torino and one hour from Milano. Asti was founded by the Ligurians who named it ‘Ast’ meaning ‘hill’ or ‘high-ground’ in 49 BC.

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After walking around downtown Asti, looking up at the medieval towers (see our earlier post here), we found the city’s cathedral.

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The cathedral of Asti  (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta) was built in the 13th century, one of the biggest in Piedmont, in late Medieval, Romanesque-Gothic style.

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The exterior is made of brick and tuff, with areas of polychrome decoration, brick alternating with sandstone.

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The interior surface of the church is completely covered with frescoes.

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I have never seen a church with this much frescoes – it makes me think of a densely tattooed body !

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The church apparently has two organs, a real one and a painted one.

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From a distance, I cannot tell if some were painted or they were sculptures.

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At the intersection of the nave and the transept is an octagonal skylight. This is spectacular.

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Standing directly underneath it and looking up.

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The Romanesque bell tower with a square base, which was originally seven stories tall, dates back to 1266. Near the bottom of the tower is a sundial-like device mounted on the exterior wall. We could not figure out how it works. We were there at around 3-4pm – can someone tell me how to read it ?

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The last big church I saw was the Doms in Köln in May this year (click here to see pictures.)

 

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