A walk in Asti

The charming town of Asti in Piemonte has Roman origins. Asti was founded in the second century in Ligurian territory as Hasta. Hasta is the Latin word for a lance, but in this case the name presumably derives from a Celtic or Ligurian word for “hill”. After the fall of…

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Asti: Palazzo Mazzetti

The stately Palazzo Mazzetti stands along the long Corso Vittorio Alfieri, named after the famous playwright and poet (1749-1803) who was born in Asti. The history of the palazzo goes back to the Middle Ages, but the current Palazzo Mazzetti is in essence an eighteenth-century building. It was remodelled in…

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Asti: San Secondo

We do not really know whether Saint Secundus can be considered historical. According to tradition he was a Roman soldier who was martyred in the year 119, during the reign of the emperor Hadrianus, because of his Christian faith. Later a church dedicated to him arose on the spot where…

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Asti: The Duomo

The cathedral of Asti, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and San Gottardo, is located on the northwestern edge of the historical city centre. The large building – travel guides like to stress that it is one of the largest Gothic churches of Piemonte – stands just within the medieval city…

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A walk in Vercelli

We parked our car at a large free car park near a former military barracks on the east side of Vercelli’s historical city centre. From this car park it was just a short walk to our first destination in the town, the Museo Borgogna. The museum is the second-largest pinacoteca…

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Vercelli: The Duomo

The cathedral of Vercelli can be found on the north side of the historical city centre, not far from the famous abbey of Sant’Andrea. The Duomo is a remarkable building with a long history. Although that history goes all the way back to Late Antiquity, the present Duomo is largely…

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Vercelli: Sant’Andrea

It is without a doubt the most conspicuous building in all of Vercelli: the basilica of Sant’Andrea with its eye-catching green façade. The basilica is the life’s work of cardinal Guala Bicchieri (ca. 1150-1227), who was himself from Vercelli. In addition to being a cardinal, he was also a papal…

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Palermo: The Duomo

Opinions about the cathedral of Palermo are quite divided. Some people think that the building is magnificent, and that the mixture of architectural styles presents us with an intriguing summary of the various phases in Sicilian history. Others, however, believe that the cathedral is simply hideous and lament what later…

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