Asti - Piedmont
is located at the meeting point of a radial road network which connects
the main towns in the province and the most important cities in south-central
Piedmont. It is situated midway down the valley of the river Tanaro,
at its union with the stream Borbore. Its geographical location decisively
influenced its traditional cuisine, which offers dishes "stolen"
from the tradition of both Northern and Southern Piedmont: the use
of butter, typical of French cuisine, is accompanied by the Mediterranean
use of olive oil, rice of the northern territories and the salted
fish of the South. The agricultural market of Asti is also known for
its fine wines, notably Asti Spumante, and fruit.
According to an ancient legend, Asti owes its name to the lance (in Italian "asta") of a warrior named Pallante, brought back to the city as a trophy after having defeated the enemy Pollenzo.
Built in order to replace the "Old" Theater, which was no longer fit for the citizens' needs, the Alfieri Theater, located in Piazza Roma, was inaugurated in 1860, after only two years' work; its high quality hall and its technical equipment made it a remarkable accomplishment for that period. The theater had about 2000 seats and 103 boxes. The boxes were removed during the 1911 renovations and replaced by an elegant terrace with numbered seats. Now only the underground room named after Giovanni Pastrone, inaugurated in 1990, is open to the public for conferences and film screenings.
Its most illustrious citizen, Vittorio Alfieri, a great poet and playwright, exalted Asti in many of his writings, especially in the autobiographical work "Vita" ("Life"). Rare volumes, manuscripts and documents regarding the famous poet can be found in the Alfieri Museum and his magnificent statue stands regally in the middle of Alfieri Square.
By Car: Take the A21 Turin-Piacenza highway and exit at either the East and West Asti toll booths.
By Train: Take the Turin-Alessandria-Genoa line and get off at the Asti stop.