Located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy on the Tanaro River, Asti is one of many quaint cities in the country boasting good food and beautiful sights.

Although evidence suggests activity on the settlement as early as the Neolithic period, the first recorded signs of life surround the Ligurian tribes, who dominated the site until the Roman takeover in 174 BC. Quickly developed into the city of Hasta in 124 BC, the Empire proved a prosperous period and was followed by dramatic decline with the collapse of Rome. Conquered first by the Lombards and then passed to the Franks, the city was nevertheless one of the first independent communes in the region during the medieval period. A combination of trade and military success meant the 13th century was a golden era for Asti, becoming the most powerful city in Piedmont. However, this proved short-lived, as the city fell to Milan in the 14th century and, by consequence, France, remaining in foreign hands until the Risorgimento arrived in 1861.

Despite lacking the worldwide appeal of Italy’s major cities, Asti’s brand of culture and entertainment still makes it a fine prospect for the tourist.


Once fondly known as ‘the city of 100 towers’, a number still remain today and can reach 300 metres in height. These include the 13th century Torre dei Comentini and Torre Troyana, as well as the Rossa di San Secondo, remarkably built as far back as the Augustan era.

The most impressive single piece in the city is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Built during the prosperous 13th century in Romanesque-Gothic style, it’s one of the largest and most picturesque in Piedmont, highlighted by the large rose window on the façade. Moreover, the interior contains a fabulous cycle of 18th century frescoes and paintings by the native Renaissance painter Gandolfino d’Asti.

Other notable edifices in Asti include the 13th century Collegiata San Secondo, encompassing a 6th century crypt, the 12th century Baptistery of St. Peter and the Palazzo Ottolenghi, with its beautiful courtyard.

There are a number of museums and galleries in the city, such as the historical museum in the Church of Sant’Anastasio and the Archaeological Museum the 15th century Church of San Pietro in Consavia.

Asti plays host to many events and festivals, the most prestigious being the Palio d’Asti bareback horse race between the city’s neighbourhoods, which takes place in September in the Piazza Alfieri to commemorate the military victory over Alba in the Middle Ages. This is preceded by the Festival della Sagre, a food and wine festival which includes a parade with floats to the temporary ‘Campo del Palio’ square. There is even a Truffle Festival in the Piazza Alfieri during November, celebrating the city’s local produce.


Asti’s streets and secluded alleyways are home to a plethora of local outlets. For some of Piedmont’s best food and drink, try the Via Pallio and the Corso Cavalotti.

If its high street fashion you’re looking for though, the Via Cavour is the place to visit.

Nightlife and Eating Out

One of the main reasons to visit Piedmont is the fantastic regional cuisine, encompassing a range of pasta, risotto and, of course, truffle-based dishes. All of this is washed down by the local wines from the Langhe region, including the famous Asti Spumante.

Of the many restaurants in Piedmont, the Circolo al Pino in the Via Natta and Da Guido in the Piazza Umberto are two of the best.

Asti has a fair few bars and clubs around the city centre. The best place for live music is Diavolo Rosso in the Piazza San Martino.

Alternatively, try out a show at the Teatro Alfieri in the Via Leone Grandi.

Tourist Information

  • Asti Tourist Information Office, Piazza Alfieri 29, 2914100, Asti
  • Telephone: +39 0141 530 357
  • E-mail:
  • Website: (website in Italian language)


The nearest international airport to Asti is Torino Caselle Airport in Turin, some 80 km from the city. Trains can be used to cut down the distance to Asti itself.

International and domestic connecting flights are available to limited destinations within the continent regularly.

British Airways (London-Gatwick), easyJet (London-Luton) and Ryanair (London-Stansted) all use Torino Caselle Airport to and from British destinations.

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