The thousand nuances of Canelli: in the capital of Spumante, a street for lovers in the shadow of baroque jewels.
Canelli is one of the main centers of the Belbo Valley.
The territory is between two large hilly areas, separated by the Belbo stream axis, which represents one of the last offshoots of the Monferrato and the other the first slopes of the Langa of Asti.
Over 70% of the municipal territory, which covers an area of 23.43 km², is located in the hills: its beauty has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 22 June 2014.
In 2018 the search engine for flights, hotels, and car hire Skyscanner has included Canelli in the list of the 20 most beautiful towns in Italy.
Canelli represents with Nizza Monferrato the second center by population (over 10,000 inhabitants) and importance of Asti region, after Asti: it is about 28 km from the provincial capital.
The origins of Canelli are very old, and this is testified by the numerous archaeological finds from the Roman period found in the area.
Canelli returned to flourish in the early Middle Ages after having been the subject of contention between the Alessandrini and Astesi, with the latter's victory.
The history of Canelli is marked by the domination of important noble families, including the Asinari, the Visconti, and the Scarampi.
The territory was affected by bloody battles between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries for the succession of the Duchy of Monferrato.
With the death in 1612 of Francesco Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, who boasted rights on the Monferrato, new internal struggles were unleashed for his succession.
Canelli was besieged in 1613 by Carlo Gonzaga, Duke of Nevérs: despite the continuous attempts to break through the troops of the Monferrato were unable to conquer the city, this thanks to the decisive contribution offered by the population that supports the troops of the Duke of Savoy and forced the enemy to retreat. The commemoration of the famous siege – suspended today – was staged until 2016.
The Municipality of Canelli boasts the title of “City”.
Food and wine and typical products.
Canelli is known worldwide as the capital of sparkling wine (spumante).
The oenological industry began to develop in the eighteenth century and even today, thanks to prominent products such as Moscato d'Asti (see: Associazione Produttori Moscato Canelli) and Asti Spumante, it is confirmed as one of the main resources of the city.
An opportunity to taste them is represented by the Canelli Città del Vino review, in the month of June.
Canelli has been and still is home to historic wineries.
Among the secrets that guarantee the absolute quality of Canelli wines, a fundamental role is represented by their conservation: here were born the famous Underground Cathedrals (also included in the UNESCO Heritage) of the historic spumante houses Bosca, Contratto, Coppo, and Gancia.
The development of oenology has been accompanied by the progressive affirmation of the enomechanical sector: today there are about forty companies in the area with an overall turnover of great importance.
Canelli is not only a land of great wines but also of delicious delicacies for the palate, such as white truffle: an opportunity to taste it is during the Regional Truffle Fair, hosted in Canelli in November.
To be seen.
The city is divided into two distinct areas: Borgo and Villanuova.
The itinerary to discover Canelli starts from Piazza Amedeo d'Aosta, where Casa Scarazzini is located.
Continue towards Piazza San Tommaso where we find the parish Church of Saint Tommaso which preserves inside it a precious baptismal font; in front of it the Baroque Church of Annunziata is visible.
On the right side of the Church of Saint Tommaso begins one of the most characteristic and beloved streets of Canelli: the Sternia, a steep cobblestone road (now via Villanuova) that climbs up the Villanuova area to the Gancia Castle.
The route offers picturesque vantage points and was further enhanced in September 2018, with the creation of “The Way of the Lovers (La Via degli Innamorati)”.
Continuing along the Sternia we reach Piazza San Leonardo where we find one of the Baroque jewels of the Astigiano: it is the Church of Saint Rocco.
In the church lapidarium, there are four Roman funeral stones.
Opposite the Church of Saint Rocco stands the Church of Saint Leonardo.
At the top of the hill of Villanuova we find the imposing Gancia Castle (Castello Gancia).
Other noteworthy historic buildings are the aforementioned Casa Scarazzini, Casa Cornaro, Palazzo G.B. Giuliani, Palazzo Grasso - Stresia, whose lines recall Palazzo Crova di Vaglio and Palazzo Osasco (formerly Palazzo Scarampi).
In Canelli the cultural offer is enriched by the presence of interesting museums: the MU.S.A. (Multimedia Museum of Southern Asti), Bocchino Distillery Museum (Museo della Distilleria Bocchino), Vineyard, Wine and Old Habits of Farmers Museum (Museo della Vigna, del Vino e delle Vecchie Abitudini Contadine) and Gancia Museum (Museo Gancia).
For outdoor enthusiasts, there is the presence of a giant bench, the Contini Tower (Torre dei Contini), visitable, and a panoramic terrace in via Villanuova.
Finally, suitable places for a selfie are the monumental plane tree, the giant bottle supplied by Cantine Gancia, and the chairs, also giant, in Via Roma, as well as the special rack - Canelli Sparkling Love project – dedicated to lovers and the artistic bench on the UNESCO Belvedere.
In 1865, in Canelli, the first Italian sparkling wine was produced.
Information synthesis and/or re-elaboration was taken from the website of the Municipality of Canelli
Cover image source: Municipality of Canelli