Viarigi, the most fascinating “lookout” of the Low Monferrato.
The Municipality of Viarigi is located in the Lower Monferrato, less than twenty kilometers from its provincial capital, Asti, and just over twenty from Casale Monferrato and Alessandria.
The inhabited center rises on various terraced levels, which make it suggestive and characteristic; on the top of the hill stands the Tower of Signals (Torre dei Segnali also known as “delle vedette”), of medieval origin, which is the symbol of the town.
The plateau of the tower, a place of incomparable panoramic beauty, offers a view that is lost in an enchanting landscape, ranging from the surrounding hills, to the neighboring villages and to the entire alpine arc.
The territory has a rich vegetation of luxuriant coppice woods and vineyards, the main economy of the town, as well as orchards and hazel groves.
The most significant monuments are the aforementioned Torre dei Segnali, the parish church of Saint Agata, the Romanesque church of Saint Silverio, the Romanesque church of Saint Marziano.
The Voltone of Via Capitolo and the ancient walls, some of which are still visible today, should also be mentioned for their uniqueness.
Viarigi presents besides the artistic and architectural treasures to be discovered the good Monferrato cuisine to be enjoyed and the healthy and pleasant tranquility, that already worth a visit and a stay in this beautiful village.
The origin of the village of Viarigi is rather uncertain, probably dating back to Roman times. In several ancient documents received it is mentioned as Vaccarigus, Vaccarigas, Vigarisium, Viarivus, Viarix, Viarizii, Viariggi, Viaris and then Viarigi.
The most probable hypothesis is Viarivus (via del rio) considering that the Roman road Fulvia crossed the territory of Felizzano, Quattordio, Annone and that another Roman road, the Domitia, united Hasta Pompeia (Asti) with Industria (the current Monteu da Po) passing through the territory of Calliano.
From the Fulvia to the Domitia the natural shortcut was evidently to follow the river Rio Gaminella and then river the Rio della Chiesetta which, starting from Quattordio, passing from Piepasso, Arrobio, Accorneri, Viarigi, Montemagno, Grana Monferrato reaches Calliano and Moncalvo.
Surely, the origins of Viarigi date back to the year before the year 1000. The only certain date of the existence of Viarigi community we find in a diploma of the emperor Ludovico II of 1119 where a certain Gugliemo of the branch Aleramico, Marquis of Viarizii is mentioned.
In 1100 there existed in Viarigi a mighty turreted castle with fortified battlements and surrounded by deep ditches, as it is depicted in the Codex Astensis.
Over time the fiefdom underwent alternate dominations by the Municipality and the Bishop of Asti, the Marquis of Monferrato and the City of Alessandria.
In 1274 Viarigi was partly conquered by the Alexandrian troops. The complete destruction of the castle took place in 1316 by Matteo Visconti, Lord of Alessandria, which returned the territory of Viarigi to the Marquis Teodoro di Monferrato in 1320.
On September 15, 1352, the new statutes were approved by the Viarigi community (it is presumed that there were even older statutes).
The current tower, called “of the signals (dei segnali)” was built between 1400 and 1450 by the will of the feudal lords, faithful to the Marquis from Monferrato, and was part of a chain of observation points to protect the territory of the Marquisate.
In the period between 1400 and 1600, the viarigini lived a relatively peaceful period; during this period agriculture flourished, mainly of a vitivinic nature, without neglecting other types of cultivation: wheat, hemp, saffron, hay and turnips.
In the years 1630 and 1635 on Viarigi a great pestilence massacred most of the inhabitants, at the time very numerous (over 3000).
As a consequence of the relative well-being of the surviving inhabitants, religious life also prospered: proof of this is the existence of numerous churches and various confraternities.
During the war between Spaniards and French for the domain of Monferrato, Viarigi suffered numerous raids with consequent losses, fires, robberies, etc. by the two contenders or their mercenaries: Alemanni, Swiss, Bulgarian, etc...
The fiefdom of Viarigi, although linked to the Marquisate of Monferrato, had ties with several feudal lords, namely: Alberto di Solero (1431), Bartolomeo Grumello (1454), Ottavio Castellaro (1588), Gaspare Brignano (1589), Anton Giorgio Alessio di Grana (1590), Lelio Arrivabene (1600), Pietro Lozzano (1634), Carlo Bernardino Morra (1663), Carlo Antonio Natta (1734), Baldassarre Biglione (1772).
At the time of the Counts Biglione, Viarigi, with the Treaty of Vienna, January 5, 1703, was annexed to the territories of the Savoy.
After the French Revolution, the territory of Viarigi, which in the past belonged in large part to the noble feudal families, passed into the hands of the Jewish family Sacerdote of Casale and was then divided into many small properties at prices and conditions of usury.
In the months of April, May and June 1849, Viarigi was distorted by heresy preached by the priest Francesco Antonio Grignaschi who claimed to be the incarnation of the new Messiah. The Pope Pius IX was directly involved and subsequently the future Saint Giovanni Bosco.
In the last two centuries (1800-1900), the viarigini, following the historical events of Piedmont first and then Italian, contributed greatly to national life by participating in the wars of independence, the great war of 1915-1918 with fifty fallen, the second war with another seventeen on the various fronts and on 28 August 1944, following an aerial bombardment, with four dead and five civilian injuries.
In the years 1943-1945, Viarigi gave asylum and effective collaboration to the brigades 45° - 105° Garibaldi, Giustizia e Libertà of Commander Nando and the autonomous Tek-Tek, suffering Nazi-Fascist retaliation, with firings, fires, raids.
Food and wine and typical products.
The town's economy is focused on vineyard crops, as well as orchards and hazel groves; the typical dish is rabbit agnolotti.
To be seen.
The symbol of Viarigi is undoubtedly the splendid Tower of Signals (Torre dei Segnali o delle Vedette); built around 1320, it was used as a defense and communication building. With a square plan (5.80 meters high), it rises to a height of 26.5 meters.
It can be visited every last Sunday of the month, from April to October. For visits outside the scheduled dates, a request must be made to firstname.lastname@example.org
Worthy of note are also the parish church of Saint Agata (XVI century), the desecrated church of Saint Silverio, now used for cultural events, and the Romanesque church dedicated to Saint Marziano, privately owned.
The Ancient Voltone (Antico Voltone) that extends under the parish church is also one of the most characteristic views of Viarigi.
Remain to be reported are the Museum of Peasant Life (Museo della Vita Contadina), made in the former parsonage by Retrò cultural association, exhibits the objects donated by Giuseppe Gamba, the murals "Who am I? The acrobat of my soul", "Balanced on the wall", "Suryas", and several art installations created in frazione Accorneri (see: The world of children | The magic wheel and the stuffed toy | The light-heartedness of life | The family of gnomes)
Viarigi had a castle, whose first traces date back to 1100.
The fortress was completely destroyed in 1316 by Matteo Visconti, lord of Alessandria.
Tower of Signals was built on the ruins of the castle.