Castelnuovo Calcea, the “fiery” door of the Belbo Valley that gave birth to the nonconformist Brofferio.
Castelnuovo Calcea rises in a panoramic position, in the quiet of rolling hills planted with vineyards which offer quality wines: Barbera, Grignolino, Cortese, Dolcetto.
The extraordinary landscape that presents itself to the eyes of the visitor is one of the best attractions of the town, which for centuries was the “gateway” to the Valle Belbo, Monferrato of Nizza Monferrato and the Acqui region, the Astesana of Costigliole d'Asti and Agliano Terme, all lands where important commercial routes to and from the Ligurian Riviera unfolded during the Middle Ages.
The town covers an area of 8.20 km² and has a population of about 750 inhabitants.
It is 22 km from Asti, the provincial capital.
The origin of Castelnuovo Calcea is very old. It is believed that the first inhabitants of the area were the Ligurian Statielli, whose presence would be confirmed by some toponomastic data still in use today. Before the Roman conquest of the second century BC, the Gallius Celts were probably also present, of which now Ogerio Alfieri, indicates the presence in Asti in 380 BC.
Subsequently, the lands where Castelnuovo rose were subject to the dominion of the Lombards, descended in Italy with King Alboino in 568 AD. Later the town was dominated by the French following the victory of Charlemagne on King Desiderio, last of the Lombards.
The first information on the origin of Castelnuovo Calcea dates back to 1342. At that time it was part of other towns around the Loreto committee. Probably it dates back to that period the castle of which tradition speaks, locating it to the west, on a hill where is located the place still called “castle”, which dominates the valley where the railway Acqui-Asti is close to the station of Agliano.
The first inhabited nucleus originated at the time of Barbarossa.
The Astesi after the defeat of Barbarossa, following the peace of Constance of 1183, acquired the rights over Castelnuovo and at that time occupied an important strategic position. Therefore, the town of Asti obliged the Marquis of Incisa to make them cession of Castelnuovo. After the astese rule, it passed to the duchy of Milan, which remained united until 1735. During the war of 30 years (1618-1648) Castelnuovo Calcea was the subject of dispute between France, Spain and the Duke of Savoy, for the succession of Monferrato (1627-1630) following the death of Francesco Secondo and Vincenzo Gonzaga dukes of Mantua.
In 1634, on October 3, the captain of the Duke of Savoy, Re Stefano, assaulted and occupied Castelnuovo, despite the resistance opposed by the Spaniards, but as soon as he was seized, the inhabitants turned against him and joined the Spanish militia and attacked the Savoyard invaders. The captain Re in 1635 sacked the village and set fire to it, destroying many houses and the castle.
Following these events Castelnuovo from then on was called “burnt castle” and the name given by De Canis continued in time.
It is with this qualification “brusà” in the Piedmontese dialect, which is distinguished from the others Castelnuovo and called by the people of neighbouring countries even today.
In 1652 the feud was ceded by the Salinas to the Trotti and obtained until about the middle of the 1800s. In 1870 the Benek took over the castle and remained there until 1939.
Currently, the whole area of the castle and the remains, after the various collapses suffered (1945-1952-1961), are owned by the municipality of Castelnuovo Calcea, which in 1985 bought the area; while in 1989 it started the first cleaning and recovery of the wall structures (courtyard, entrance).
In 1998 the circular sighting tower was finally consolidated and recovered, the only remains of the old castle still existing today and the symbol of the municipal coat of arms.
Food and wine and typical products.
The production of fine red wines of Piedmont (Barbera d'Asti, Barbera del Piemonte and Grignolino d'Asti) is accompanied by typical local recipes, including: raw meat appetizer with tajarin and rabbit sauce, braised with stuffed peaches cocoa and amaretti.
To be seen.
The parish church is located next to the castle, on the top of the hill overlooking the village, and the historic centre is gathered around it.
Built between 1684 and 1695, it is dedicated to Saint Stefano, from which it takes its name and is one of the best preserved and most representative baroque churches in the province of Asti.
About the castle, of medieval origin, had a very tormented history: built the first time in 1142, was destroyed in 1154, and then rebuilt in its current position. It was again destroyed by the Savoyard in 1635 and finally rebuilt at the end of the seventeenth century.
It has been a municipal property since 1987.
On its watchtower, on April 25, 2016, the splendid belvedere dedicated to Giuseppe Dagna, mayor of the village from 1985 to 2004, was inaugurated.
In Castelnuovo Calcea there is also a museum dedicated to its most illustrious citizen, the writer Angelo Brofferio, and a prestigious artistic park, Cascina La Court - Michele Chiarlo in the Orme su La Court vineyard, with works by internationally renowned artists including Ugo Nespolo, Giancarlo Ferraris, Chris Bangle and a giant bench in fuchsia colour.
The watchtower of the ancient castle is the symbol of the municipal emblem, accompanied on the head by three bezants, ordered in the band, gold.