Castellero, in the homeland of hazelnut, the castle is getting ready to be conquered... by tourists.
The Municipality of Castellero is located north-west of the province of Asti, in a hilly position.
The village develops along a municipal artery that crosses it, following the configuration of the concentric and including some villages in its territory.
Agriculture undoubtedly plays an important role in the economy of the town, although its population is engaged in a large part in local industries.
From the square in front of the town hall, it is possible to enjoy a splendid panorama.
The town covers an area of 4.29 km² and has a population of about 300 inhabitants.
It is 17 km from Asti, the provincial capital.
Castellero is an ancient village, built at the foot of a tower for signalling.
In the fourteenth century, the castle was razed to the ground during the conflict between Guelphs and Ghibellines. Later it was a fief of the Pietrini and the Ponte, who rebuilt it.
The history of the town appears to be closely linked to the events of the castle and its ownership changes. The Solaro in 1312, supported by the Provencals of Ugo del Balzo, seneschal of Roberto d'Angiò, occupy the castle of Agliano and, according to De Canis, defeat the De Castello in Castellero, where they destroyed the fortress, held by the Ghibellines Pulsavino.
From these events it is clear that the castle of Castellero represented, during the civil struggles, an anti-Guelph stronghold.
On the ruins of the small castle involved in the bloody events of 1312 a fortress was rebuilt from the previous demolished building took the name of Castellero, or “castellaro”, a term sometimes used to indicate a destroyed castle.
Nevertheless, the reconstruction was so accurate that the castle is full of charm and of historical, artistic and architectural interest.
In fact, over time, the ancient manor has been completely renovated and partly increased with complexes built in different periods: seventeenth and eighteenth century interventions, attributed largely to the Ponte family, have created an elegant country home that, as the only memory of a warlike past, preserves the tower, characterized by a swallow-tailed battlement, which stands on the current municipal square.
In Castellero has its headquarters the union of municipalities Comunità Collinare Valtriversa, established with the aim of promoting the development of the territory and improving the services provided to the community.
Food and wine and typical products.
On the occasion of Castellero events and during the participation in Asti's Festival of Festivals, the typical hazelnut sweets prepared by the Pro Loco are: fundents (hazelnut sweets, chocolate and rum typical of Castellero), crunchy hazelnuts, hazelnut cakes.
Throughout the year it is possible to taste the specialities of the Agrival laboratory that offers, among other products, dry pastries, breadsticks and bread made with hazelnuts.
The hazelnut, in addition to being a basic product for the confectionery sector, in this corner of the Asti region has also become important for the production of oil, or better for the invention of “Nocciolio”.
The dietitian Giorgio Calabrese, who participated several times at the conference on the hazelnut of Castellero, recalled the importance of hazelnut in nutrition, a product rich in vitamins and minerals, consisting only of “good fats” and also used in the pharmaceutical field and cosmetic, boasting emollient and soothing properties.
Creator of the original Nocciolio, obtained by cold pressing of the fruit - oil that was later “copied” by various producers in Piedmont and beyond - is the castellerese Arisio Bruno.
It is possible to find the typical hazelnut oil from Castellero at the producer La Cascina dei Vecchi Sapori.
To be seen.
The Castle and the parish church are located in the main square of the village.
The fortress, destroyed in the fourteenth century during the war between Guelphs and Ghibellines, was later rebuilt by the Ponte family. Of particular value is its tower, with a rhomboidal structure, 30 meters high. The manor is surrounded by a park of over 300 square meters.
The structure is at the centre of a real estate crowdfunding project to contribute to its recovery and transform it into a luxury condo-hotel.
Church of Saint Pietro in Vincoli, consecrated in 1663, was originally dedicated to Saint Bernardo. It was extended in 1908; in its interiors are preserved valuable statues and an organ of 1822.
Moreover, worth seeing is the Church of Saint Pietro del Bosco, cemeterial, built between the eleventh and twelfth centuries (it was a parish church until 1600) and the artistic benches made - by skilled lumberjacks - in 2020.
The hazelnut is also a protagonist on the walls of Castellero.
The project to make the murals of Castellero, called The Walls of Art in the Town of Hazelnut (I Muri d’Arte del Borgo della Nocciola), was motivated by the desire to promote the local territory, its peasant vocation and the agricultural and landscape resource that most characterizes it: hazelnut.
The current project has no equal in the province of Asti and the centrality of hazelnut also at the artistic and landscape level constitutes for the Municipality a unique element of characterization, able to promote a greater tourist flow, both as an interesting stage within the itineraries of regional excursions, both as an additional element of attractiveness for the benefit of local accommodation facilities.
Thanks to the realization of The Walls of Art in the Town of Hazelnut (I Muri d’Arte del Borgo della Nocciola) it was possible to make immediately recognizable to all visitors the role of hazelnut as a typical product of Castellero and an element of economic and cultural revival.