Alessandria is located in the plain between theTanaro and Bormida Rivers, at the foot ofthe gentle slopes of lower Monferrato, one of the world's best and most appreciated grape growing regions.
The suggested route should be followed on foot and starts in the centre of the city. This area's main feature is the vast Piazza della Libertà, the ancient military square requested by Napoleon and built to the detriment of the ancient cathedral which was demolished. Facing the square is the majestic municipal hall, Palazzo del Municipio or Palazzo Rosso (due to the colour of the facade, 18th-century) furnished withan unusual clock with three faces. Other sights not to be missed are: Palazzo Ghilini, today the seat of the provincial government and the Prefecture, designed in 1733 with baroque details, considered the most beautiful and monumental sight of the city, and the Post Office building, Palazzo delle poste, in distinctly rationalist style, with the beautiful 38 metre long mosaic by Gino Severini.
There are many small typical restaurants in this area, all offering a vast choice of the best traditional Piedmont gastronomy and wines: from first courses such as Riso di Baraggia to cheeses like Toma piemontese, and noble wines such as Barbera del Monferrato.
A little more than 30 km away is the city of Asti, which recounts its millennia-old history through its towers, churches, 18th-century palaces, and underground treasures such as the Crypt of Sant'Anastasio.
This city is subdivided into 14 "districts" based on the parochial authorities of 1978. Known as "Rioni", the neighbourhoods within the first circle of the ancient 13th century walls are known as "dei nobili" and "Borghi", the circumspections contained within the second circle of the 14th century wallsare known as "dei borghigiani." These 14 entities, each with its own statute and regulations, participate in the social and religious life of the city which culminates in the festivities around the patron saint San Secondo, and the ancient race known as the "Palio."
Asti is not to be missed and is just waiting to be discovered, with its narrow streets opening on to squares and natural meeting places, where people socialize and chat, watch theatre or listen to music, or play in the city's slightly nostalgic and reserved atmosphere.