The thousand nuances of Canelli: in the capital of Spumante, a street for lovers in the shadow of baroque jewels.
The city of Canelli is located in the Belbo valley, on the border with the province of Cuneo.
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.
The municipality participates in the Palio di Asti, the historic horse-mounted horse race protagonist of the Settembre Astigiano. Palio Committee of Canelli is based in Regione Castagnole 21.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 can boast the title of “City”.
The long practice (in 1919 was submitted a first request and a second in 1959) ended on February 24, 1967, with the signing of the decree by the President of the Republic Giuseppe Saragat (counter-signer the honorable Aldo Moro).
Since then the civic coat of arms has been enriched by the city crown characterized by the classic five towers.
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, including Gancia, Luigi Bosca, Riccadonna, Tosti-Giovanni Bosca, Contract, Coppo, Ramazzotti etc.
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, real masterpieces of engineering and winemaking architecture that meander for 6 km underground of the city.
In these spaces, it's possible to find the right temperature and constant humidity to refine fine wines and sparkling wines, which still ripen here today, waiting to conquer the tables of the whole world.
The development of enology 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 area of the Borgo is that of the valley bottom, which in recent years has expanded including an area beyond the Belbo torrent.
The itinerary to discover Canelli starts from here, more precisely in Piazza Amedeo d'Aosta, where Casa Scarazzini is located, which in medieval times housed the town hall and the court.
Continue towards Piazza San Tommaso where we find the parish Church of Saint Tommaso which preserves inside it a precious baptismal font, from the 16th century, made of marble; 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)”, with works by different artists inspired by the Lovers of Raymond Peynet accompanying the ascent.
Continuing along the Sternia we reach Piazza San Leonardo where we find one of the Baroque jewels of the Asti region: it is the Church of Saint Rocco, the object of important restoration works in 2016 to recover its ancient splendor.
In the church lapidarium, there are four Roman funeral stones found in the Belbo valley.
Opposite the Church of Saint Rocco stands the Church of Saint Leonardo, built in the seventeenth century and which houses a monumental nineteenth-century organ.
At the top of the hill of Villanuova we find the imposing Gancia Castle (Castello Gancia, previously called Scarampi Crivelli Palace); transformed in the second half of the seventeenth century into a stately home, it has been in the Gancia family since 1929.
Over time, the castle has undergone several transformations: it was destroyed by the Spanish in the seventeenth century, restored in 1676 by the Marquis Ambrogio Antonio Scarampi Crivelli and then in 1930 by the architect Arturo Midana.
Other noteworthy historic buildings are the aforementioned Casa Scarazzini, the Baroque Casa Cornaro, Palazzo G.B. Giuliani, nineteenth century, former seat of the elementary schools of Canelli, Palazzo Grasso - Stresia, whose lines recall Palazzo Crova di Vaglio (in Nizza Monferrato) and which today houses the Circolo G.B. Giuliani, finally, Palazzo Osasco (formerly Palazzo Scarampi), built between the late 1500s and early 1600s.
In Canelli the cultural offer is enriched by the presence of interesting museums: the Bocchino Distillery Museum (Museo della Distilleria Bocchino), which tells the story of the distillation and the rural culture, the Vineyard, Wine and Old Habits of Farmers Museum (Museo della Vigna, del Vino e delle Vecchie Abitudini Contadine), in the La Martina farm, which houses tools for vine growing and wine production dating back to the nineteenth century, the Gancia Museum (Museo Gancia), which is located in the historic Gancia cellars declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, where it is possible to retrace the glorious history of the important company of Canelli - from 1860 to today - thanks to the exposure of all the advertising promotion of the factory.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there is the presence of a giant bench along the road that leads from Canelli to Loazzolo and the splendid Contini Tower (Torre dei Contini), visitable, which once marked the boundaries of the city, from where you can enjoy a splendid panorama on the vineyards of the area.
In 1865, in Canelli, the first Italian sparkling wine was produced.