Castagnole delle Lanze, between Langa and Monferrato: adopt a row of Barbera in the “home” of Nomadi.
Castagnole delle Lanze (commonly known as Castagnole Lanze) rises on the edge of the Langhe and Monferrato.
This peculiarity is found in the fact that the municipality is part of the province of Asti, while the parishes belonging to the diocese of Alba.
Castagnole covers an area of 21.57 km², with a concentric plan, and has a population of about 3700 inhabitants.
It is 23 km from Asti, the provincial capital.
In Roman times, in the places where the municipality of Castagnole delle Lanze rises, a branch of the Via Emilia passed which connected Acqui to Pollenzo (Pollentia), this was demonstrated by the excavations carried out at the beginning of the twentieth century.
In the Middle Ages, the Codex Astensis maps place Castagnole among the lands belonging to the counts of Loreto. Among these, those who had more relations with the community of Castagnole were probably Manfredo I, from 1190 marquis of Busca and count of Loreto. The marquis inaugurated the Lancia dynasty from the appellation he had earned as a lancifer, in his youth, at the court of Frederick Barbarossa. The juxtaposition of the Lancia dynasty and the “delle Lanze” (delle Lance) attribute is a must, as Castagnole is the only Piedmontese municipality to be able to boast of such a denomination. Always from the Codex Astensis it is possible to hypothesize that in Castagnole Lanze a medieval castle rose as the dwelling of the count; the castle was probably demolished in 1255 with the fall of the county of Loreto.
Discordant documents confirm that Bianca Lancia (also known as Bianca di Agliano) was either the daughter of Manfredo I or Bonifacio di Agliano, with whom Manfredo's widow had remarried. Bianca Lancia was the last wife of Emperor Frederick II of Swabia: it is therefore very probable that Bianca's son Manfred, or the hero of the battle of Benevento and the founder of the city of Manfredonia, descends from Manfredo. Manfredi is celebrated by Dante in the Divine Comedy: “... Biondo was beautiful and of gentle appearance ...”.
Starting from the XIII century Castagnole became part of the domains of the Municipality of Asti, then following its history, the vicissitudes and subjection to the various lords who controlled it.
In the XIV century the place of Castagnole was part of the Visconti domain: in fact, from the communal maps, an oath of allegiance of the Community of Castagnole delle Lanze to Valentina Visconti, who had dowry that feud with all the rest of the “Patria Astese” for the wedding with Louis of Valois, Duke of Orleans. It should be noted that from the end of the fourteenth to the early seventeenth century, Castagnole Lanze was part of the Capitanato d'Astesana, and as such was never a fief, but subjected to the direct rule of the governor of Asti. In the same period, the town was fortified by a robust city wall with cylindrical towers, of which unfortunately very few traces remain.
After various vicissitudes, the territory passed, in 1573, to Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy. From this moment the municipality was subjected to two dominions: on one side the fief of the Asinari and on the other the lordship of the family of Catalano Alfieri, lord of Magliano and Castagnole. The Alfieri were replaced in 1797 by the counts Birago di Borgaro Torinese (which took the name of Birago-Alfieri), the Asinari instead, by inheritance, the Marquises Carron of Saint Thomas, whose lordship was exhausted in 1836. With the marquises of Saint Thomas and with the Birago-Alfieri family ceased in Castagnole delle Lanze every residue of feudal domination, and from 1850 the municipality followed the destiny of the House of Savoy and then of the Kingdom of Italy. Starting from the end of the 1800s, Castagnole had a great development in the wine industry, with the opening of several companies that soon became leaders in the production of vermouth and sparkling wines. The second world war did not particularly touch the country, except in two allied air raids on the railway station and some guerrilla actions between partisans and troops of the Republic of Salò. In the second post-war period Castagnole, like almost all of northern Italy, had great economic and industrial development, thanks also to the contribution of labor coming from the regions of southern Italy.
Food and wine and typical products.
Castagnole delle Lanze has a geographical and territorial location that places it on the margins of the Langhe and Monferrato, the inhabitants have therefore coined the motto “Castagnole Lanze: Tra Langa e Monferrato”. This definition is in any case improper, since the municipal area does not border on the Monferrato, but is part of the territory of the Astesana. All the communal life is affected by this proximity to the Asti and Alba areas: the municipality is in the province of Asti, but the parishes belong to the diocese of Alba.
Also, the activity of wine production, which is a driving force for the town economic life, concerns the quality of grapes typical of the two areas: namely Barbera d'Asti, Dolcetto d'Alba and Moscato d'Asti.
Castagnole administration, to help local producers, in 2010 created the “Adotta un filare” initiative, which allows the adoption of ten meters of rows of Barbera d'Asti grapes, receiving in exchange 10 bottles of “Lanze” wine, produced directly by the municipality. This initiative is unique in its kind in Italy.
To be seen.
The parish church of Saint Pietro in Vincoli, in Ligurian-Piedmontese Baroque style, preserves the main altar with a marble presbytery and balustrade, commissioned by Count Carlo Giacinto Alfieri, some frescoes, and a stucco and gold decoration of extraordinary beauty.
A few steps away we find the deconsecrated church of Saint Giovanni (or the Brotherhood of Battuti Bianchi), built in 1668: the premises host the Museum of Peasant Civilization of High Monferrato and of the Low Langa, with exhibited objects and tools of the rural culture used in home and work environment.
The symbol of the town is the Tower of Count Paolo Ballada from Saint Robert which stands in the Parco della Rimembranza: built in 1880 by the scholar of military technology Paolo Ballada of Saint Robert, the watchtower rises 14 meters and is open to the public.
The tower rises where once stood the castle of Castagnole delle Lanze, destroyed in 1255.
At the panoramic tower and the museum route dedicated to Count Paolo Ballada of Saint Robert, a new lookout point was inaugurated on 1 July 2018: the project consists of four panels with photos and an indication of the peaks of the Alpine arc.
Also, worthy of note: the arcades of Via Ener Bettica, consisting of thirteen arches planted on solid support columns, painted by the artist Vincenzo Piccato, Villa Alfieri, formerly owned by the family of the namesake famous writer Vittorio Alfieri, the Church of Santissima Annunziata (built in 1593), the Church of Saint Bartolomeo (built in 1887 in the lower part of Castagnole Lanze), the pretty churches named after Saint Rocco and Saint Maria respectively, the Tristano and Isotta fronth porch, the giant bench "Maurizio" and the Train Museum, set up in the premises of the Castagnole delle Lanze railway station, which houses a splendid model railway.
During the summer festivities in the hamlet of San Bartolomeo, the Nomadi musical group has been performing since 1967, almost continuously.
A special gathering of the band's fan club is organized for the occasion.
Among the various singers who have performed on the stage of the Contro Festival over the years are Luciano Ligabue, Vasco Rossi, Zucchero Fornaciari, Claudio Baglioni, Fabrizio De André and many other prominent names in the Italian music scene.