Asti is a beautiful city in Piedmont, Italy, which has been completely overlooked by tourists, and remains one of the most staggering, unspoilt cities in Italy. Few places in Italy remain untouched by the influence of mass tourism, yet this beautiful town remains gloriously natural, unspoilt and authentic. Although it is best known for its Asti wines, there is so much more to discover.
The oldest of Italy’s famous Palio horse races occurs through the streets of Asti. Dating back to the 13th century, the Asti Palio occurs on the third Sunday in September, with the parties, processions and pageantry starting on the Thursday. This is a magnificent time to be staying in a self catering Asti holiday rental, and the best time to really immerse yourself in the unspoilt, authentic excitement of an Italian festival. Horses and jockeys in the race represent the different districts of the town, and each district takes the support of their rider very seriously, further adding to the electric atmosphere that blankets the town during the festival. There are in fact a huge range of festivals and events throughout the summer months in Asti. June, July and August see a great range of theatrical, musical and dance festivals whilst September is an extravaganza of culture, with Asti wine festivals, medieval feasts and of course, the Palio.
Although many visitors still take Asti accommodation in an attempt to locate the fabled hidden gold of Asti, further clues to its whereabouts are very hard to come by. Legend has it that the Romany King, Kopi Kennana, had treasure of immeasurable wealth buried with him in the River Po. The rest of the town does hide a great range of historic treasures though. There are some 120 medieval towers scattered throughout Asti, as well as elegant renaissance palaces, broad boulevards and charming chapels which date back centuries.
Asti is also a gastronomic hotspot. The famous sparkling Asti wines are readily available throughout the town, from the gourmet restaurants to the atmospheric cafes, and the regions truffles are some of the most sought after in the whole of Italy. There are two separate weekly food markets to enjoy, held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, selling all manner of produce.
The countryside that surrounds Asti is perfectly unspoilt, and attracts walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers from all corners of Europe to explore the secluded, natural surroundings.
Turin is a wonderful city to explore, especially if you take the time on your way to or from the airport from your self catering Asti holiday rental villa. The gracious buildings and elegant atmosphere make Turin a real delight to explore, but it is the enormous wealth of beautiful baroque masterpieces, fine restaurants and rich culture that really excite visitors to Turin.
Reaching a holiday rental property in Asti is relatively straight forward from the UK. There are regular British Airways and Ryanair flights to Turin Airport (TRN), which arrive from London, Bristol (BRS) and Dublin (DUB). From Turin, the 110km journey can be completed by train, with 4 hourly services connecting the two cities.