The tour focuses on the artistic and architectural heritage of Alessandria and the surrounding area. Visiting the medieval hamlet of Cassine is like taking a trip back in time. The historical center offers to the visitor two interesting buildings, the 15th century fortress Palazzo Zoppi, and the complex formed by the Church di San Francesco and the former convent that are an important architectural example of Romanesque-Gothic art. Thanks to its strategical position, Alessandria was a military fortress; invasions destabilized its population, influencing urban development, which is confined between the two rivers. The Cittadella (citadel) is one of the prime examples of military architecture. Commissioned by King Vittorio Amedeo II, it was built in 1728 and enlarged during the ninetieth century. With its three kilometers perimeter, it has an hexagonal shape and fortifications. From artistic and architectural point of view we can admire buildings as: the eighteenth century Palazzo Ghilini by the Piedmontese architecture Alfieri, a great example of eighteenth hundred style and now prefecture and district headquarter; Palazzo del Municipio (town hall) with its peculiar three clocks and the famous cockerel statue, stolen from Casale Monferrato in 1225; and Palazzo Cuttica (1700) with original frescoes and furniture. The tour will end at Bosco Marengo where we will visit the church of Santa Croce, one of the most significant examples of late 16th century Italian architecture by Giorgio Vasari, an Italian painter, sculptor, and architect.
There are little known destinations, in the heart of Cuneo’s province, that deserve to be discovered because there you can breathe the atmosphere of the past. Cities such as Fossano and little hamlets like Bene Vagienna are examples of undiscovered places that preserve a considerable architectural and archaeological heritage. Everything in Fossano is bound up with the Castle of the Acaja family. The imposing fourteenth-century brick building dominates the area and is evidence of the power of the Acaja princes and of the Savoy family who later inhabited it. Episodes of the Castle’s history are re-enacted in the Palio dei Borghi, a pageant which brings to life actual deeds and events which are considered important in Fossano’s past. In Fossano we’ll see other historical buildings such as the Maggiore Hospital and the Church of the Holy Trinity built between 1724 and 1751, San Giovenale Cathedral and Palazzo del Comandante. Bene Vagienna is an ancient hamlet, known to the Romans as Augusta Bagiennorum, founded in the I century b.C.. Here you will visit the archaeological area, situated in the hamlet Roncaglia, with the remains of a theatre and an amphitheatre. Then we will visit the Archaeological Museum, where the pieces coming from excavations of Augusta Bagiennorum are kept. The city center is also full of churches, monuments and historic buildings of ancient tradition, a mix of baroque and medieval style.
Fourteenth-century mansions, baroque churches and small chapels full of art treasures: this is Saluzzo, the capital of a Renaissance Marquisate. The tour starts in Cavour, the village which was already there before the Roman conquest. Right at the foot of the characteristic rock that rises in the middle of the plain there stands the Abbey of St. Mary, of which only the tower and the three nave crypt have survived the time. Along the road that leads to Saluzzo, there is the Staffarda Abbey, a Cistercian gem founded in the twelfth century. Saluzzo is not far away, and you can first enjoy its lower part, walking through the old streets and neat shop windows, and then the upper part, where there is the Civic Museum and Cavassa House with its frescoed halls. A few kilometers away towards Cuneo, we will visit a little town called Manta, boasting a castle famous for its frescoes.