Tigliole: in the land of the lime trees, the praise for the precious Piedmontese beef.
The territory of Tigliole is among the largest in the province of Asti in relation to the resident population.
It covers an area of 16.12 km² and has a population of about 1700 inhabitants.
It is about 13 km from the provincial capital, Asti.
The municipality is divided into three main centres (concentric, San Carlo and Pratomorone) and a considerable number of localities.
The presence of handicraft activities is more than discrete, while in the agricultural sector there are valid cattle breeding.
Tigliole is an ancient town. There are documents that speak of it since 974, in 1041 and in 1095, deriving its name from the tilius tree, which was sacred among the Germanic peoples.
Evidently, it was an area rich in forests of lime trees. Even today it is called Tigliolette a summit located between the localities Pianetti, Perosini and Canavese, favoured by the proximity of the Triversa stream.
Another locality, at the current Pratomorone hamlet, already mentioned in 974 is Caspedengo (later Caspenzio or Scapenzio) where there was an ancient church (destroyed at the end of the eighteenth century and then rebuilt with a title to the Madonnina di Vulgo Scapenzo).
However, these places should not be confused with the main town.
In ancient times this consisted of two distinct centres, called the lower one, the other superior. The first disappeared as early as the fourteenth century and of it remains the magnificent trace of the Romanesque church of Saint Lorenzo, dating back to the period between the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The second corresponds to the current town.
According to the historian Bordone, it is probable that originally Tigliole comprised a single territory, later articulated with the demographic increase and with the affirmation of various political dominions: Tigliolette and his castle depended on the Bishop of Asti since the mid-tenth century, while Tigliole and his castle in the twelfth century appear submitted to the Bishop of Pavia.
At the beginning of the 1200, we find the latter entrusting the Tigliole fiefdom to the noble inhabitants of Solaro, who lost it in 1340 by Luchino Visconti and Giovanni II of Monferrato.
After having bought it again in 1353, the Solaro definitively sold it in 1422.
Two years later, the Bishop of Pavia assigned it to the Montafia lords, who kept it until 1577.
In that year the count Lodovico Montafia died without leaving male heirs. Pope Gregory XIII, then, ordered Monsignor Cervia, apostolic nuncio to Turin, to take possession of the feud in his name. The daughters of the Count, however, opposed themselves in order not to lose their paternal goods and followed a long quarrel.
The center of the village was the castle, located on the hill where the town hall stands today and that it is no coincidence that the Tigliolesi still today call the area Castle.
Nineteenth-century documents indicate in the castle two towers to the south and another tower to the east; nothing remains of it except a few boulders; it was destroyed in 1553 by French soldiers sent by Count De Brissac.
It was rebuilt by the lords Montafia in smaller dimensions; subsequently, it passed to the Marquises of Ormea who sold it to Count Salmour d'Andezeno, who in turn sold it to the Vandero brothers. Finally, it was acquired by the community.
However, there was another castle called Castelvero, of which today only a few boulders are covered by vegetation. It stood between Bricco Barrano (Cantarana) and Valperosa (Tigliole) and represented the fortified center of the Serralonga committee, attested since 1152.
In truth, the question of sovereignty over the town remained open for over two centuries, with alternating phases of collaboration and conflict between the community, the bishop, the papacy and the Savoy.
It is known the episode of 1577 in which the castellan and the twenty garrison armigers come out of the castle to the drum roll and with the banner explained to deliver the keys to the Nunzio, who takes possession of the castle raising the sign of the castle of Pope Gregory XIII.
The following year the Roman Curia separates the profits of feudal property, granting them to rent, from the political and jurisdictional government of Tigliole (and Montafia), entrusting them respectively to a castellan (abba, ie abbot) and a Lord, both designated by the Nuncio and from 1589, subjected to a papal governor: thus the interference of the Savoy was blocked. During the Monferrato War of 1614/16, the Community obtained with the support of the Nuncio the reimbursement of expenses incurred for housing the Savoy troops.
In 1741, after more than a century and a half of governorship governed by Abbot Luca dei Guglielmi and his successors, Tigliole was ceded to the Savoy, thus losing, among the last towns of Asti region, the strong elements of autonomy; in the past centuries this had allowed its inhabitants to live in various trades, making it a privileged community, little devoted to agriculture.
For this reason, it was a destination for smugglers and outlaws, who were tried and even hanged on the borders of the town.
The lawyer De Canis, who lived for many years of his life in the village, tells in his nineteenth-century Corografia astigiana that with the passage to the Savoy and the consequent loss of so-called feudal privileges (on the trades that took place in the town were not paid taxes and therefore were very developed) many Tigliolesi went into ruin and were forced to start farming, which in the surrounding areas had always been the main activity.
By now the castle was in ruins and the Tigliolesi decided, around the half of the 800, to rebuild it again in a classical style as a municipal building, exactly as it is today.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Tigliole had more than 3000 inhabitants and was, with Nizza Monferrato, Canelli, Villanova d'Asti and Moncalvo, among the most important towns of Asti region.
After being under the Napoleonic administration of the canton, from the Restoration, it was part of Baldichieri's mandate (interesting the publication of the Plebano of 1832) beginning to decay, even if in the first half of 1900 it still had about 2500 inhabitants.
Food and wine and typical products.
On the tables of Tigliole the protagonist is the Piedmontese beef, one of the best and safest in the world: in fact, there are numerous farms on the territory.
In August, the town devotes a whole day to Piedmontese meat with the Stelle in Stalla event, with tastings of raw meat and grand prize-giving ceremony for the best cattle exposed by local farmers.
On the territory, it is also noted the production of excellent Barbera wines.
To be seen.
In the premises of the municipal building, with sober and harmonious neoclassic lines, an interesting Permanent Contemporary Art Exhibition hosts with 24 sculptures of absolute value.
The municipal territory is also very rich in artistic testimonies that are rooted until the Romanesque period: splendid is the Church of Saint Lorenzo, dating back to the XI-XII century, covered with exposed brickwork.
On the territory there are also the presences of the parish church dedicated to Saints Giovanni and Lorenzo, from the 16th century, the deconsecrated church of Santissimo Crocefisso, adapted to the seat of a banking institute, the Church of Saint Carlo with its 20.5 meter high bell tower and the Sanctuary of Madonnina di Vulgo Scapenzo, already present in the sixteenth century, which was erected in the place where it is said that a miraculous event took place.
In Tigliole there is the Ornithological Observatory of Asti and the Wildlife Recovery Center managed by the Lipu of Asti.
The Observatory, established in 2014, has as its main objective the realization of a scientific and management tool able to study the biodiversity heritage of the Asti territory and therefore contribute to protect and improve the survival of the present bird life.
The Recovery Center is instead a hospital structure built for the purpose of recovering, treating and re-reproducing in nature wild animals found injured, sick or debilitated for various reasons.