Piedmont is the second-largest Italian region and borders France and Switzerland. You’ll find it at the foot of the Alps, surrounded by mountains, but what it’s most renowned for is its sophisticated wines from traditional Italian vineyards that date back hundreds of years.
Piedmont is popular with tourists looking to enjoy a taste, pardon the pun, of the Italian countryside. Property for sale in Piedmont is vast and surprisingly affordable. You can find a range of large farmhouses, homes in the hills, hamlet properties and houses on vineyard plots.
To give you a bit more context on what the region is like, we’ve highlighted four towns with vast amounts of property for sale in Piedmont. Hopefully, it’ll help you get to grips with the area and find the perfect Italian home.
The province of Asti is located in the heart of the Piedmont region between Turin, Alessandria, Alba, and Casale Monferrato. Rich in history, culture, and gastronomy, Asti is central to the vineyard-covered hills of Monferatto and Langhe.
Asti is the capital of the province with approximately 75,000 inhabitants. The historic town centre dates from the Middle Ages, flourishing from the 11th to the 14th century. Life in Asti now centres around Piazza Alfieri. Unusually triangular in shape, the piazza has fine buildings around it with shady porticoes. It is here you will find local produce at the weekly food market and be able to people watch, as you sip your coffee.
Towers and cathedral
Between the medieval centre and the cathedral, there are some wonderful palazzo houses. Many of these once featured tall towers, resulting in Asti being nicknamed the “the city of 100 towers”. However, today only 15 towers are still standing. If you climb up Torre Troyana, you will be rewarded with the most spectacular views.
In addition, the gothic style Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta has a bell tower dating back to 1266. This fine cathedral also boasts three beautiful rose windows and an interior covered with delicate carvings and frescoes.
Another fine building in the historic centre is Teatro Vittorio Alfieri. Presenting theatrical and musical performances of the highest calibre, the theatre was built in the classic opera house style. Since 1979, the theatre has undergone extensive renovations, meeting modern needs while retaining its historical features.
Events in the town
On the first Sunday in September is the Palio di Asti. First staged in 1273, it is one of the oldest races of its kind in Italy. It involves a procession of over a thousand people in costumes. Then, representatives of the town’s ancient boroughs compete in three thrilling races, riding horses bareback. A traditional flag-throwing demonstration takes place, followed by a race in which the winner is awarded the coveted banner: “Palio di Asti.” https://visit.asti.it/settembre-astigiano/palio-di-asti-programma/ If you miss the Palio, there is also a museum all about it.
Also in September, is the Festival delle Sagre, which celebrates the culinary customs and traditions of Asti. Attracting nearly 200,000 visitors, it offers the opportunity to taste traditional dishes before washing them down with glasses of local wine.
Landscape of Asti
Around Asti is a large wine-growing area set in a beautiful hilly landscape, with nature reserves along the river bank. The extensive vineyards with gentle hills and valleys are a treat to see in any season. As you meander through this wonderful landscape there are also lovely villages and monasteries to discover. The wine-growing region extends to the Langhe area and is world famous for its sparkling wine, the Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti.
War in 1225, resulted in the people of Alessandria fleeing and starting a new village, called Nizza Monferato. Besieged by Charles I, followed by the Count of Armagnac, and subsequently attacked by the Spanish and the French, the town eventually went into the hands of the House of Savoy in 1703. Today, Nizza Monferato comes under the province of Asti and has a population of only 10,000.
Nizza Monferato is one of the most significant towns in the area. The historic centre is full of elegant palaces, alongside narrow streets and piazzas that are medieval in appearance. The main street has beautiful ancient arcades, entered through archways. This is where the most interesting shops in the town are located.
Palazzo and churches
The Palazzo Comunale is located in Piazza Martiri di Alessandria, which is at the heart of the historic centre. This grand building dates back to 1353, and is characterised by a large internal portico. Next to it stands a tower, from which you can admire a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area.
In contrast, the church of San Giovanni in Lanero has a facade in the style of a Greco-Roman temple. While, the church of San Siro, which dates back to 1311, is built in the baroque style, with rich decorations, and frescoes.
Traditional food and wine events are held in The Foro Boario building, located in Piazza Garibaldi. The biggest of the wine events takes place in May and there is a barrel rolling competition in June.
Nizza Monferrato is recognised by UNESCO for its vineyard landscape, made up of the village, the rolling hills and the architectural elements of the buildings intended for the production of wine. As you drive along the hill ridges you are able to enjoy amazing views of the beautiful landscape. The villages of Vinchio, Vaglio Serra and Castelnuovo Calce can be spotted in their elevated positions. The Nizza Monferrato area also includes the villages of Monterosso, Mombercelli, and Agliano Terme.
The most important wine variety in the area is Barbara. This wine has been cultivated here for over 500 years. Nizza Monferrato is considered the capital of the Barbera because some of the largest wine companies are situated within its municipal boundaries. There are many trekking paths in the area along which you can stop at the cellars to taste the fine wines.
Historically Alessandria was a fortress city to defend the state of Savoy. An important structure, which still remains, is the Citadel. One of the largest permanent fortifications of the 18th century, the Citadel of Alexandria is a star-shaped fortified military complex. To really appreciate its design, you need to see an aerial view.
The town of Alessandria sits on a plain between the Tanaro and the Bormida rivers, about 90 kilometres (56 miles) east of Turin. The town is strategically located for industry and rail links, as it is central to the Turin-Genoa-Milan triangle. It has a population of over 90,000, so the town has all the facilities required for year-round living. There is also a ska/blues/ jazz festival in July and an annual classical guitar competition.
The Citadel was used by the French army, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, who restored and expanded it. More recently it was used as a Barracks by the Italian army. Today it is open to the public for guided tours by FAI volunteers and you can also visit the Museum of Uniforms. FAI is the Italian equivalent of the British National Trust.
You can reach the Citadel on foot from the town by crossing the Meier River. The outer part of the citadel complex is a big green park with children’s play areas.
What to see
Walking in the centre you can admire historic buildings including Palazzo Cuttica di Cassine. Dating back to 1600, it was built by a Marquis who received many illustrious guests there. Today it houses the Civic Museum where various collections are exhibited including tapestries, sacred paintings from the 1500s and 1600s and finds from the pre-Roman and Roman eras.
Other sights in Alessandria include the Art Nouveau Guerci Gallery, where there are beautiful shop windows, pastry shops and charming cafes. There is also the Cathedral of Alexandria with its neoclassical facade and splendid frescoes. Interesting museums include the ethnographic museum and the Borsalino hat museum.
Canelli is located on a bend of the river Belbo in the Alto Monferrato, close to the border with the Langhe. The area around the town is rich in vineyards and a landscape of rolling green hills. The Canelli name comes from the Latin “cannula”, which indicated the reeds that still grow on the banks of the river Belbo.
The town has two distinct urban areas. the “Villanuova” which grew on top of a small hill in the northeast of the town, and the “Borgho” (village), which developed below the medieval castle.
On the right side of the Church of St. Thomas begins one of the most loved streets of Canelli. The Sternia is a steep cobbled road that climbs up the Villanuova area to the Gancia Palace. The route offers fantastic viewpoints and nearby are several museums, mostly related to wine production.
The medieval houses run along the hill’s slope, at the top of which emerge the most valuable buildings from an architectural point of view. The most significant is the castle, now known as Gancia Palace. The Palace is a scenic landmark and represents the symbol of the city of Canelli.
Troubled by many wars, during which the castle and fortifications were destroyed many times, the town and castle were once again destroyed in 1617 by the Marquis of Mortara. The castle was later rebuilt as a grand palace around 1706, by Count Galeani, in the same place as the old castle.
Food and wine
The food market in Canelli takes place in the heart of the city on Tuesday mornings. In this part of town, you can also visit the spectacular Cattedrali Sotterranee (Underground Cathedrals) which form part of the Unesco project. More than twenty kilometres long, over thirty metres deep and at a constant temperature of 15 degrees, these winding tunnels are the cellars of producers and historic brands that have made Moscato wine famous.
Events in Canelli town
A traditional feast in period costume is held every year on the third Saturday and Sunday of June, to commemorate the siege of Canelli in 1613. Then, in September, Canelli becomes the “City of Wine“, with guided tastings, stalls, traditional markets and music.
In November, the town celebrates one of the most renowned gastronomic excellences of the Langhe and Monferrato: the White Truffle. It runs alongside the San Martino fair and brings together over one hundred stands offering various kinds of goods.
You might also be interested in…