The green capital of Piedmont
The Piedmont city of Cuneo (meaning wedge in Italian) owes its name to its unique geographical position. It lies on a triangular-shaped plateau and has a wedge form with the point embedded in the heart of the Piedmont plain, at the convergence of the Gesso torrent with the Stura River, and against the backdrop of imposing Mount Bisalta. Situated off the beaten track of mainstream tourist destinations, in a strategic position at the mouth of six valleys communicating with Liguria and France, Cuneo, nevertheless, reserves some extraordinary surprises for the visitor, not just in terms of scenery, but also for its historic buildings, some of which are very old.
Founded in 1198 as an independent Commune, at first glance the city has the atmosphere of a fashionable gathering place, with its elegant porticoes that cover some eight kilometres, which seem to have been designed to welcome and entertain, as well as being the site of an open-air shopping centre. Each Tuesday, the old town is brought to life here by a traditional market, filled with hundreds of stalls selling every kind of product, from food and wine to clothing and even antiques.
The city’s past was often tormented: in the fourteenth century from an independent commune it passed under the rule of the House of Savoy, and over the following two centuries it had to defend itself against seven sieges – four from the nearby French – which led to a decline in commercial development and the destruction of several ancient monuments.
The historical building and churches
Churches of Santa Chiara and Santa Croce
Several imposing buildings line the main roads. These consist of religious buildings as well as institutional buildings such as the Palazzo del Municipio (City Hall), a former eighteenth-century Jesuit monastery and residence of nobility, while the secondary streets are embellished with gems such as the Churches of Santa Chiara and Santa Croce, the latter being a magnificent example of Baroque architecture designed by the architect Francesco Gallo.
There is also a Church
dedicated to Sant’Ambrogio
), the patron saint of Milan
, built to commemorate the assistance given to the city by the Milanese people, who helped rebuild it after it was destroyed by the Marquis of Saluzzo
; this was due to the fact that, several decades earlier, the inhabitants of Cuneo
had taken in and protected Milanese fugitives persecuted by the Emperor Federico Barbarossa
. The church is considered to be the city’s most beautiful piece of architecture.
Not far from the Catholic churches is a beautiful Synagogue in the former Jewish ghetto of Contrada Mondovì. These buildings are all gems that, together with the Teatro Toselli and the medieval buildings of Piazza Virginio, make up the most important monumental complex of the city.
But the best loved square of the people of Cuneo is Piazza Galimberti, dedicated to one of its bravest inhabitants, a hero of the Resistance who was given the Gold Medal of Military Valour: the Partisan Tancredi Galimberti, known as Duccio, who was captured and cruelly tortured and finally killed during the fight against the Germans and fascism. The Tancredi House and Museum is also very interesting and impressive from a historical point of view.
Cuneo is also considered the green capital of Piedmont for its numerous parks and gardens that extend to the base of the ancient walls; walls that were demolished during the Napoleonic era to create more space for urban development.
The city is famous for its numerous social, gastronomic and cultural events held throughout the year. The main ones include the Fiera Nazionale del Marrone (National Chestnut Fair), typical produce of the area, which takes place in October, and Scrittorincittà, in November, a popular festival with hundreds of participants from all over Italy discuss the theme of the event. Since 1999, the year of its inauguration, this literary festival has discussed topics such as ‘literature between north and south’, ‘travel’, ‘dreams’ and ‘passions’.
Food and wine products
The quality products of this region are numerous and excellent as:
- Tartufo Bianco d’Alba (candidate in 2017 for UNESCO Intangible Heritage),
- Nocciola IGP,
- renowned artisan cheeses (Bra, Catelmagno; Toma Piemontese, Robiola, Raschera)
- precious rice varieties from the rice fields of Vercelli, Novara and Biella
- 42 wines DOC and 17 wines DOCG (Barbera d'Asti and of Moferrato, Barbaresco, Barolo)
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Pubblicato giugno 2018
Cuneo is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation. To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
Hotels in historic centre