A trip to Asti

by Charlotte
(Leeds)

The city of Asti, 55km east of Turin, is one of the must-see places in the Piedmont region. Built on the plain of the Tanaro River, the area has a rich medieval heritage whilst the city’s stunning cathedral is its centrepiece. Those staying in hotels in Florence may believe they've seen the cream of the crop when it comes to cathedrals in Italy but the one here is something special.


The Asti commune is also where the wine of the same name derives, which should be sampled in any number of the quaint restaurants which dot the region.

Asti was known as the City of 100 Towers, even though there were originally 120 in total. These were primarily fortification complexes which were built to defend the settlement.

Some of these towers survive today and can be found within the old city walls, particularly in the Piazza Medici, where the beautiful Fontane della Acquadotto sculpture resides, and along Via Alfieri. Some of these structures are over 300 metres in height and the sharp-coloured red brick provides a stunning contrast against the blue Piedmont sky.

The north-west of the town is the historic centre, existing as it does between the current city centre and the cathedral. The Romanesque-Gothic Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta is a stunning centre-point to the city that acts in the same way that the Sydney opera house
and harbour bridge acts as a focal point for those staying in Sydney Australia.

Built in the thirteenth century on top of an existing cathedral, the facade is dominated by three portals surmounted by three separate rose-windows.

Its interior is dominated by eighteenth century frescoes and glistening altarpieces by Gandolfino d'Asti. The silver artworks which are on show are equally stunning, as is the intricately-designed mosaic floor in the presbytery, which is from the original church.

Asti is also a town dominated by churches. Many of these are only open during times of religious ceremony but you can imbibe in their architecture as you imbibe a glass of wine in one of the many piazza cafes. Ecclesiastical highlights include the Chiesa di San Secondo, the Torre Rosso and the Chiesa di Santa Caterina.

The cultural highlight in Asti is the Palio di Asti festival. This bareback horse race dates from medieval times and takes place on every third Sunday in September. It takes place in the triangular-shaped Piazza Alfieri in the city centre and draws massive crowds who come not only to watch the race but also to participate in the parades and festivities.

The Festival Delle Sagre, which is held a week earlier, is a food and wine connoisseur’s delight whilst from October through December the local “tartufo bianco” white truffle can be sampled at the weekly local truffle festivals.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Do You Cook Italian?.

Please Book with Us...

Like us? Why not support me and Maria.

All you need do is book via the search box below, or any of the hotel links elsewhere on the website. It can be for travel to Italy... or anywhere else on earth.

You'll get the best deal available and the income we receive helps us to:

  • Stay independent and to keep bringing you the best of Italy.
  • Never have to accept money from hotels directly, so that we can share only those we genuinely love.

Recent Articles

  1. Beach Hotels Sardinia - Turning Dreams into Reality

    Nov 20, 18 10:47 AM

    Over the last ten years we have visited some beautiful beach hotels in Sardinia but a couple stand out for us. Discover which ones they are here..

    Read More

  2. Barolo - A Beautiful Village & Home to the Barolo Wine

    Nov 20, 18 09:34 AM

    Barolo is a delightful little village that is home to a big wine. Discover more in our insider guide to Barolo and the Langhe wine region.

    Read More

  3. Ascoli Piceno A Beautiful Medieval le Marche City

    Nov 19, 18 09:48 AM

    Join the festa in Ascoli Piceno. Looking to discover the real Italy? Look no further than this medieval town.

    Read More

  4. The Italian Panettone Recipe - An Essential Part of Christmas in Italy

    Nov 16, 18 03:40 AM

    Maria's traditional Italian Panettone recipe. The most famous Italian Christmas cake of them all. Bake yourself a taste of Italy this Christmas.

    Read More

  5. The Perfect Italian Itinerary

    Nov 15, 18 08:10 AM

    Planning a trip to Italy? Then you really need to read our Italian itinerary before you book a single thing.

    Read More

  6. The Complete Guide to Shopping in Turin

    Nov 05, 18 12:01 PM

    My wife and I have spent nearly ten years in Turin. On our site we share some great advice and insider tips on shopping in Turin, included are many of the best places to shop known only to the locals

    Read More