The Province of Asti lies at the heart of Piedmont and borders Liguria in the south. This mostly hilly territory stretches across Monferrato and a small area of the Langhe and the Langa Astigiana, and is traversed by the Tanaro River. Gentle hills alternate with valleys to create landscapes of unique beauty, and vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, to provide a kaleidoscope of shades and tones. The Asti area is a wine producer par excellence and the home of Asti Spumante DOCG (sparkling wine), renowned and exported all around the world. While the hills offer wonderful landscapes, the various reserves have their own beauty, such as the Rocchetta Tanaro Natural Park, the Special Natural Reserve of the Andona, Botto and Grande Valleys, and the unique WWF Oasis of Forteto della Luja, which includes a beautiful stretch of the Langa, lying on the banks of the Luja stream. Within this stunning natural scenery lie towns of Medieval origins, such as Canelli, Nizza Monferrato and San Damiano d’Asti, or small but evocative Medieval borgoes in the hills, like Moncalvo, Roccaverano and Costigliole. Along the ancient Via Francigena, it is still possible to see wonderful Medieval parish churches and abbeys, while the monuments of Asti’s historic center testify to the golden age of the Asti when it was a free comune(11th to 14th Centuries). Folkloric events, the local cuisine based on traditional recipes and the local produce never fail to delight visitors.
ASTI and food & wine
The most important product of Asti Province is the truffle, a real delicacy that can make even the simplest dishes special. Among local vegetables, the cardo gobbo (the thistle of the artichoke) of Nizza Monferrato and the “square pepper” of Asti stand out, and both are regarded as essential ingredients for bagna caoda (a garlic and anchovy dip). The area around Asti is renowned for its cheeses, such as robiola of Roccaverano and robiola di Cocconato. The typical dishes of the territory are agnolotti, Monferrato-style potato gnocchi, ciotola di trifulau (cheese fondue with polenta and a sprinkling of truffles), Piedmont-style boiled meats, and, of course, bagna caoda. The local desserts include amaretti (amond cookies) from Mombaruzzo, canestrelli, the finocchini of Refrancore and hazelnut cakes. This area is world famous for its high-quality wines: from white wines to dry sparkling wines such as Cortese, Piemonte Chardonnay, Moscato d’Asti and, of course, Asti Spumante DOCG. Among the prestigious red wines are the Barbera d’Asti, Barbera del Monferrato, Dolcetto d’Asti, Brachetto d’Acqui and Piemonte Brachetto, while the local grappas and other spirits are none too shabby.