ASTI, HISTORY AND THE TERRITORY

Among the most important localities in central-southern Piedmont, the city of Asti is located in the center of the province of which it is the capital. It lies in the Tanaro valley, on the left bank of the river, 123 meters above sea level, and is surrounded by the Monferrato hills. Its inhabitants are about 75,000.

Relevant for its historical and cultural aspects, following a considerable transformation of its industrial activities, Asti is developing interests in the tourism field, based on the beauty and traditions of its territory.

Its origins date back to the times of the Liguri Statielli who, in the Iron Age, founded a village called Ast (high ground) due to its position with respect to the Tanaro plain.

In the following centuries, assuming the toponym Hasta, the city was conquered by the Romans who took advantage of its position to develop its craft and commercial activities.

The conquests of the Lombards and Franks followed, before the relevant medieval period that characterized it. In 1095 it became a municipality, one of the first in Italy. Its economic importance was confirmed by the concession, obtained in the twelfth century, to mint coins. Asti became, in fact, one of the most important, rich and powerful centers of Piedmont, as evidenced by the documents, finds and buildings of the time: hence the nickname of “city of a hundred towers”. It was in that period that the Palio began to run, the oldest in Italy, of which a 1275 race is documented.

Subsequent civil struggles between the noble families of the territory, a first Savoy period, wars and foreign dominions, anticipated the Astese Republic which, in 1797, a group of citizens inspired by the Jacobin principles proclaimed during the Napoleonic campaign in Italy.

With the return of the Savoy family, Asti reaffirmed its importance by separating itself from the Province of Alessandria to become, in 1935, the capital of a new Province which was given the singular shape of a bunch of grapes, its product which still today is more distinguishes.

Among his most illustrious sons, the eighteenth-century tragedian Vittorio Alfieri, whose palace can be visited, and Paolo Conte, one of the most famous contemporary songwriters in the world. No less important, before the emigration to Argentina, the family of Pope Bergoglio resided in Asti.