Celle Enomondo

Celle Enomondo: the town of pure wine, artistic candles and the smallest artisan distillery in Italy.


Celle Enomondo: the most reliable hypothesis derives the name Celle from the Latin cella in the meaning of the plural cellae - cellarum, with the meaning of "places of collection of the militaries", confirmed by the fact that Celle was equipped with "castrum" and was crossed from an ancient Roman road. Enomondo derives from the Greek enos = wine and mundus = pure, with the meaning of a pure wine cellar.

It is an agricultural town located south-west of the provincial capital, known above all for the production of Barbera wine.

It covers an area of 5.59 km² and has a population of about 450 inhabitants.

It is 10 km from Asti, the provincial capital.


Celle was an ancient settlement inhabited by Ligurian and Celtic tribes (the Statielli in particular, located between Tanaro, Bormida and the High Monferrato), and that subsequently the Roman authority continued to develop from the agricultural point of view, as indicated in the "De agri cultura" the Roman historian Columella of first century after Christ, referring to the Tanaro valley.

Given the presence of the vine since the fifth century before Christ thanks to the contacts of the Ligurian tribes with the Greeks of the Ianua colony, today's Genoa, the village has borrowed its name from the tufa caves excavated for the conservation of wine amphorae, introduced inland by the Greek merchants, who controlled the Ligurian coast, and they traded with all the Ligurian tribes, from the Ingauni of the Acquese, to the Venoni of the Stura, to the Eburiates of the Valle Belbo, to the Statielli.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, as part of the establishment of the French-Alamanni in the Asti Committee (a barbaric population established in some areas of today's Piedmont), the medieval historian Renato Bordone, in "Un'attiva minoranza etnica nell'Alto Medioevo: gli Alamanni del Comitato di Asti", cites in the territory between Celle and Revigliasco, the inhabited area of Viganico or Viano, as a place of stipulation of a sales document and site of the lands sold by an alamanno to the bishop of Asti. Other Alamanni appear in close relations with the church of Asti.

The alamanna presence is also supported by other contributions in the toponymy and topography of Asti in the Middle Ages in "Archivi e cultura in Asti", published in 1971, by Lodovico Vergano.

In a document dated 990, Emperor Ottone III of Saxony assigned the territory of Celle to the Novalesa monastery in Val di Susa and in fief to the Lords of Vaglierano.

The castle that once stood in the inhabited center is mentioned in several documents, because several contracts are stipulated within its walls and several bishops stay there.

On 26 January 1041 the bishop of Asti, Pietro II, obtained a diploma confirming from the Germanic emperor Henry III of Franconia all the possessions and privileges already enjoyed by his predecessors, with new donations. He then obtains the oath of loyalty of the vassals of Celle and of the nearby settlements, then the possession of their castles, as indicated by G. Assandria in the "Libro Verde della Chiesa d'Asti".

Throughout the twelfth century the cellular vassals appear as witnesses to various notarial deeds concerning the bishop of Asti. Some documents of 1132 and 1134 mention the vassals Giraldo, Giacomo, Ansaldo and Ascherio.

In 1159 a document is of particular relevance: it is a diploma of the Germanic emperor Federico Barbarossa to the new consuls of the Asti municipality after the fire of the city of Asti in 1155, during the fights between the Italian municipalities and the emperor.

The village of Celle is one of the "villae veteres", part of the "districtus civitatis" already owned by the Asti-born bishop Anselmo.

The area between the rivers Tanaro and Borbore, cites among the various settlements of the area, of ancient date, Molegnano (today C. Morgnano), Palazzo or Piazzo (both near Antignano), Celle, Castiglione da Romano (today Regione Castiogno, at Celle), and Piana (now missing, towards Revigliasco).

Documents taken from the "Libro Verde della Chiesa d'Asti" by G. Assandria, in addition to the castles of the area, also mention the church of Castiglione da Romano and the fortified courts of Palazzo and Ercole (both disappeared), the latter locality located towards the middle course of the Borbore stream, towards the parish church of Saint Vincenzo di Marcellengo (today's area of ​​Saint Damiano), which from above controls the forest and the mills of the area, according to the studies of the historian Renato Bordone, in "Aristocrazia militare del comune di Asti ".

These settlements are also confirmed in 1190 by the chronicles of Ogerio Alfieri, the most important chronicler of the history of the medieval Asti, who held various positions as ambassador and creditor of the town of Asti, also Oltralpe.

There are also several documents cited by the "Codex Astensis", which is the main source of medieval history of the Asti region.

In the Middle Ages the territory presented itself with large meadows, woods, uncultivated and some vineyards arranged around the "castra", to the farms, to the small villages.

From the 12th and 13th centuries began the expansion of the "domus" with the tilling of the uncultivated destined to the cereal growing (especially grain) and to meadow, to the cut of the woods near the village.

In the mid-'300 there was a neglect of campaigns for the plague and then a return, in the '400-'500 thanks to the recovery of grain prices and the increase in population.

It was also during this period that the vine in the hills grew, on the one hand, and the reclamation and irrigation of the plains below the village on the other.

In the fifteenth century, the Statutes of Celle, of 1444, which contain in code the customs and the particular laws that now govern the inhabited area that follows the events of the Asti municipality, are of particular importance. The territory of Asti, after the struggles of the XIII century between the Guelph families of the Solaro and the Ghibelline families of the noble De Castello, or Guttuari, Alfieri and Isnardi, it passes from one domination to another, among which the D'Angiò (counts of Provence), the Visconti of Milan and subsequently in 1387, through the Orleàns, to the crown of France.

The territory, given the proximity of Asti, follows the bloody vicissitudes of the war of dominance in Italy between the French and the Spanish during the whole 1500, with serious damages also to the crops.

Only with the restitution of the countryside of Asti to the Duke of Savoy Emanuele Filiberto, by the uncle Philip II of Habsburg, duke of Milan and ruler of Spain in the second half of the sixteenth century, the Savoy nobility settled permanently in the countryside.

In the seventeenth century the situation became more stable, both from an agricultural point of view and as regards the noble power.

In the case of Celle the fief was owned by several noble families, over the centuries, starting from the XIII century with the Malabayla, among the most important and wealthy "casanieri astigiani" (merchants-bankers, also called Lombards, like the Solaro, Alfieri, Roero, Asinari, Falletti, Guttuari, etc., also present in the Albese and the Chierese), the Vercellis, the Maiestatis and the Berlinghieri.

Beginning in 1688, the Ramelli counts, originally from Moncalieri, became lords of Celle until the end of the eighteenth century, with the arrival of the Napoleonic troops, which devastated our territory in the transition to Lombardy.

The Ramelli were also owners of a palace and a tower in Asti (corner Via Carducci and Via Borgnini, the building was adjacent and extended up into Piazza Cattedrale).

The Ramelli governed Celle until 1793, but there remained characters of considerable importance and prestige in the town until the late 1800s.

Giovanni Felice was born among the Ramelli in 1666. He was abbot of the Lateran canons and painter of miniatures.

Pope Clement XI appointed him custodian of the miniated codes of the Vatican Library. Many works he painted are in Rome, others in the cabinet of miniatures of the Royal Palace of Turin (portraits of Savoy princes, the painter Van Dick, Albani, Reni ... that he gave to King Carlo Emanuele III), others if they admire it at the Rectory Library of Padua and some at the Civic Museum of Asti, including "Giuditta and Oloferne" and "Sisara e Giaele".

It is due to the Ramelli the arrival in Asti of the canvas "Cena in casa di Simone" painted by Subleyras, from Rome in 1739 to the refectory of the Church of Saiint Maria Nuova, where it remained until the arrival of Napoleon, who had it brought to the Louvre.

In the '700 Celle was invaded by the Napoleonic troops. There remain some written testimonies in which it is evident the destruction of houses, fires set on crops and woods, violence.

After the Ramelli Celle passed to the Vagnone, Bianco and to France. In the XVIII-XIX century as in all of Piedmont the land was rented with the capitalist company, the laborers paid for days and sharecroppers.

From '800 onwards there was the proliferation of the isolated farmhouse "at court". The conspicuous noble properties passed during this period to the new notables of the municipality during the whole 19th century.

The development of the agrarian bourgeoisie leads to a greater valorization of the municipal lands, according to the dictates of the Cavour policy, with the birth of new craft professions of great importance for local economic development. Some artisan shops start to rise.

From the book of the artisans of 1844 there are two masters, two shoemakers, five carpenters, two blacksmiths, five tailors. In 1854 there was the opening of two taverns, or rather, of "coffee shops for sale of spirits, bottled wine and gaseous waters".

Wine was the local product of excellence, it was already produced what is now called Barbera, but it was strongly alcoholic, dark red, almost black, substantial. The wine in those years had a very high consumption: people drank it above all to feed themselves, to the limit to be bewildered. Barbera had even inspired and given the title to a comic opera, entitled "il vino Barbera" by Giuseppe Cotti.

It was presented at Vittorio Emanuele theater in Turin during the carnival of 1866. He sang the chorus: "Confess it even though / Barbera is a good liquor / blood instills in the veins / and keeps the good humor. / Barbera livelier / made the young of the country / the most robust / strongest Barbera man made./ So cheers the Barbera / always cheers its liqueur. "

Giovanni Pascoli also seemed to be a consumer who appreciated it: "keep your most purple Barbera / for when, one day that is not far away / all wrapped up in its flag / come back Galliano". The grapes were brought by the farmers into the cellar on the town square, built on the ancient foundations of the castle, and Barbera was produced after a long process.

Precisely for its wine production Celle with the R.D. n. 1160 of 1 February 1863 changes in Celle Enomondo.

The municipality assumed the name deriving from the Greek enos = wine and mundus = pure, with the meaning of a pure wine cellar. Nobles, peasants, artisans were all inside the parish, on Sundays, to follow the mass, but also in the different confraternities that arose in the various villages.

In 1906 were those of Saint Rocco, of the Most Holy Sacramento and of Rosario and Saint Vincenzo in the Merlazza hamlet, all for the exclusive purpose of worship.

There were also scattered churches, now disappeared, like that of Saint Maria, whose documents relating to his possessions were found, and that of Saint Martino.

There were also numerous votive chapels at the limit of roads and fields, of which some examples remain.

Research author: Carbone Lorenzo.


Food and wine and typical products.

The strong bond of Celle Enomondo with its wines can already be seen from the toponym.

Enomondo derives from the Greek enos = wine and mundus = pure, with the meaning of a pure wine cellar.

The wines, in particular Barbera d'Asti DOC and Barbera del Monferrato DOC, accompany the typical dishes of the territory, including: chickpea soup with pork rinds, tongue in green sauce, baked peaches stuffed with amaretti and chocolate.

The excellence of Celle Enomondo also spans the art of making grappa thanks to Distilleria San Carlo.

Among the prides of the cellese production it is also important to underline the art of making candles. The dedication to work and love for art in its most particular forms of expression, make Celle's artisans authentic masters of wax.

At the end of the nineteenth century there was only one wax factory in Asti, that of Solaro Carlo, subsequently conducted by his son Giuseppe, while from the early 1900s onwards Pietro Fungo's wax production began, in via Varrone.

This wax factory was bought in 1943 by the Fracchia who transported the headquarters in Via Morelli. The wax factory closed in 1998.

From January 1999 the ancient machines were transported to Celle Enomondo, put back into operation and adapted by Andrea Povero, today the owner of the Cereria Asticera Creazione Forme Artistiche.

To be seen.

The parish church is of recent construction (1960): it stands on the site of a previous building of the sixteenth century, which preserves the Romanesque bell tower. Here, once, the Celle Enomondo Castle stood out.

From its churchyard it is possible to enjoy a splendid panorama.

Also, of interest is the Church of Saint Rocco, probably built in the seventeenth century, an ancient place of reference for the Confraternity of Disciplinati of Saint Rocco.

In the hamlet of Merlazza, instead, is the Church dedicated to Saint Vincenzo Ferrari (19th century).


Distilleria San Carlo, based in Celle Enomondo, is the smallest artisan distillery in Italy.