Fassone and Bionda in the village of the Bisocche: it is not a fairy tale but the snapshot of Villanova d'Asti, flywheel of the North Asti region.
Villanova d'Asti was founded as an agricultural and zoo technical center, in the heart of the fertile plain that connects the Turin to the Asti hills (Pianalto Astigiano), more precisely in the western part of the province of Asti.
The countryside that surrounds the town is green and lush, divided into “paintings” of different agriculture.
Around, in the silent peace of the countryside, farms, and farmhouses alternate in the undulating series of green bumps.
In addition to agriculture and breeding, in the last few decades, an important industrial pole has developed in the town thanks to the inclusion of the motorway tollgate, that connects Turin beltway to Turin-Piacenza-Brescia motorway, and for the railway station.
The municipality covers an area of 41.95 km² (the third largest in the Asti region after Asti and San Damiano d'Asti) and has a population of about 5600 inhabitants.
Among the services hosted by the town, we mention the primary schools (De Amicis and Rodari) and the secondary first-grade Astesano, two nursery schools (in via Villa and the Pittaluga) and as many nursery school (Principessa Jolanda and Navone).
Also, interesting is the development of the sports facilities managed by the Polisportiva Mezzaluna, which host two tennis courts, two synthetic courts, two football fields and an athletics track. Numerous courses and tournaments organized for adults and children by qualified personnel.
The first documents attesting to the origins of Villanova date back to the time of Ottone III of the House of Saxony, a mountainous region of Germany.
In 1001, Ottone III donated to the monastery of Saint Felice di Pavia a village called Corveglia (Curtis vetula) with all the surrounding land. The village with this name still exists today, very close to the current Villanova d'Asti.
The Benedictines of the monastery of Saint Felice di Pavia made build a monastery in Corveglia which they also dedicated to Saint Felice and was occupied by nuns of that Order. Around the monastery, in addition to the church, there arose a school, gardens, vegetable gardens, mill, stables and barn.
In the area of the monastic complex were gathered the humble houses of the peasants who worked under the monastery itself; the inhabited area, which was thus forming and increasing in population, was initially called simply Villanova and later Villanova della Piana.
Sale of Corveglia and Villanova to the Municipality of Asti.
Many cities in the twelfth century, for demographic reasons, allowed the peasants of the villages to leave the countryside and become citizens. The cities were then governed by bishops counts.
At that time the Villanova bourgeoisie gave signs of discontent and rebellion for the treatment that was reserved for them, so the monastery had to ask a strong hand to the neighbouring Lords of Riva, Chieri and Poirino, who, under the colour of patronage, troubled the jurisdiction of the monastery and sometimes occupied the territory.
On 24 April 1210 the monastery was reinstated in its rights but, due to disputes with the neighbouring Lords, contracted heavy debts that led to the sale of Corveglia and Villanova to the Municipality of Asti.
The villanovesi thus became citizens of Asti, not as individuals, but through municipal education. Since then, the village was called Villanova d'Asti.
Food and wine and typical products.
Villanova d'Asti has always been synonymous of meats of the highest quality, both for the sublime veal from Piedmontese “fassone”, and for the prized blond hen; the famous fair of early October is dedicated to the latter.
To be seen.
The Bisocca di San Martino and that of Supponito represented the two sighting towers, placed respectively to the South and North in respect to the concentric of Villanova, built in the XVI century by King Francis I of France to defend the lands of Asti from the attacks of the Spaniards.
The towers, surrounded by fields, are still visible.
The historic center of Villanova is dominated by the late medieval town tower which was and still is the symbol of the municipality of Villanova, the emblem of the town's autonomy.
Also, interesting is the Church of Confraternity of Santissima Annunziata, in Renaissance style, which preserves precious paintings on canvas with valuable frames.
A few steps away, in the premises of the historic Palazzo Richetta, is the Work Museum (Museo del Lavoro) with the exhibition of Gamba woodworking tools, restored thanks to the contribution of the sculptor Antonio Di Nicolantonio and other activities in the territory of Villanova d'Asti.
Also, worth seeing is the parish Church of Saint Martino, which houses a statue of the Holy Virgin of Clementi, a splendid wooden altar (the high altar of Carlo Pelagatta), a work of Macrino d'Alba, two works by Guglielmo Caccia called Il Moncalvo; the parish church of Saint Pietro in Supponito, dating back to 1200, also houses a splendid altar (by Enaten - 1646), in gilded wood, as well as two seventeenth-century paintings attributed to Guglielmo Caccia called Il Moncalvo.
The De Robertis Castle (Castello de Robertis) is instead an ancient Franciscan convent transformed, at the end of the 19th century, in a villa in the front part and in the back in a neo-Gothic castle.
Outside the inhabited area stands the sumptuous Sanctuary of Beata Vergine delle Grazie, nineteenth-century, erected in the place where it is said that prodigious events took place in the early years of 1820.
Every year in July, the Sanctuary is the scene of the famous Festa dell’Infiorata: with carpets depicting religious images, created with flower petals, the apparition of Our Lady to Maria Baj in 1803 is remembered.
In the village of Corveglia, on the road to Poirino, we find the castle of Corveglia with its splendid Romanesque bell tower.
The rooms of the castle, which preserve inside pillars with carved sandstone capitals, after years of degradation have been recovered and are now used for restaurant use.
“Vilaneuva che na pòrta na treuva” (Villanova, who brings it finds it) still remembers a proverb, bearing witness to the importance of the ancient Villanova d'Asti agricultural market.