Bruno

Hills, fertile plains and noble "cru" Piedmontese in the shadow of the castle where mythology triumphs: Bruno conquers international tourism.


Landscape.

The territory of Bruno lies on the outcrops of the first hills of the High Monferrato (towards the Langhe) and on the Belbo plain.

It can essentially be divided into two parts: the one located on the hills that unite Bruno with Mombaruzzo, where the ancient village rises, and the other on the fertile plain of the Belbo.

The economy of the town is predominantly agricultural, and even the crops are of a variegated type.

In the lowland areas near the Belbo Torrent, today finally much safer than the floods of the past, corn, wheat and fodder are cultivated, to which are added some plantations of poplars or new crops, in particular sunflowers and soybeans.

The hill, on the other hand, gives us vineyards where some of the noblest Piedmontese "cru" are cultivated, among which the Barbera and Moscato are the most outstanding. To these are added intensive pains of apple orchards and peaches, some sprinkles of walnuts and quality hazelnuts, as they fall within the disciplinary area of "Nocciola Tonda e Gentile del Piemonte"

The uncultivated hilly parts are covered with chestnut, oak and acacia woods, today falling within the naturalistic area defined as "Bosco delle Sorti - La Communa" together with the municipalities of Fontanile, Mombaruzzo and Maranzana.

The town is located in the center of the Milan-Turin-Genoa triangle and can be easily reached using the system of highways that cross each other in Alessandria. This proximity has meant that decades past there has been an emigration of Bruno citizens towards the factories of the big cities.

Today we are witnessing a phenomenon of the return of the Brunesi who work in these realities, turning Bruno into a holiday resort for the weekends and for summer periods, where the population doubles.

Added to this is the fact that the discovery of Monferrato by foreigners, in particular Swiss and German, is pushing them to buy and renovate houses and farms, bringing a new wave of internationality.

The town covers an area of 8,90 km² and has a population of about 300 inhabitants.

It is 34 km from Asti, the provincial capital.


History.

The first findings that testify to a town on the site of Bruno date back to the Bronze Age (first millennium BC). They are two cinerary vases found in the plain of Belbo, now in the museum of Alexandria.

The toponymy studies derive the origin of the name from the Celtic word brigodunum, which means hill of the fortress, castle, fortress.

Bruno was probably founded in the fourth century BC from the Acqui Gauls tribe. A statuette of the Roman period authorizes to think that Bruno was perhaps on a Roman road of the III century BC. that from Acqui led to Asti.

The local toponyms are however all of Germanic origin, evidence of fortified settlements of Lombard ethnic groups of the seventh century AD.

Brigodunum, or Bredunum, is born, however, only towards the year one thousand. Its history can be divided into several periods: the first under the rule of the Aleramica dynasty of the Marquises of Monferrato (967 ca - 1305); the second with the Paleologa dynasty (1305 - 1533/36); in the third period the marquisate of the Monferrato the Gonzaga, dukes of Mantua (1526 - 1708), hold; in the fourth, from 1708 to 1943, the Savoy reigned; therefore the period of the Italian Republic.

As it appears from the Monumenta Germaniae Historia, the castle of Bruno, with other possessions of the Committee of Acqui, around one thousand was sold by a certain Count Girardo to the Benedictine abbey of Fruttuaria di Saint Benigno Canadese.

In August of 1006 and May of 1014, Emperor Henry II confirmed the possession of Bredunum to the abbot of Fruttuaria; another reconfirmation came from Henry III on March 23, 1069. In 1164 Federico Barbarossa subdued "Brion" to the Marquis of Monferrato, William the Elder.

And we reach the beginning of the fourteenth century (a third of the territory of Bruno was then owned by the bishop of Acqui), when in 1305 the Palaeologa dynasty took over from Aleramica in the Marquisate of Monferrato (a document of the new Marquis Teodoro I Paleologo of 1306 mentions "Castellano et communi Bruguni" Brugunum becomes Bruno in a document of 1349, then in one of the 1355 of the emperor Charles IV of Bohemia. All this period the Scarampi (ancient family astense) were reconfirmed several times landowners of Bruno by the various marquises of the Monferrato.

From 1536 begins the dominion of the Gonzaga, dukes of Mantua, who from Casale govern the local territory.

From 1570 the family of the Faà di Fontanile, ducal dignitaries in Casale, bought the castle and two-thirds of the fief of Bruno from the Scarampi, former lords of Bruno. The Faà become the feudal lords of Bruno in the person of Giovanni Matteo known as Horatio. The lordship was reconfirmed by the Gonzaga in 1578, in 1585 and in 1588.

The documents of the historical archives of the Municipality, dating back to the second half of the 16th and 17th centuries, describe a community organized with a City Council, with Consul, a Castellan and Statutes.

The life in the following two centuries spends between famines and looting deriving from pandemics (1630) and European wars between Spaniards and French that are fought also in Piedmont and in the Monferrato. Despite this, the population grew and the country developed. On March 21, 1648 Bruno is transformed into a marquisate by Charles II Gonzaga, with the Marquis Ferdinando Faà; then Bruno extends his influence also on Fontanile, Carentino and Bergamasco.

In 1708 Bruno, with all the Monferrato, passes under the dukes of Savoy and thus arrives also on site to the reforms of the '700. Examples are the two land registers (old 1708, new 1794) and the Bandi Campestri (1740 - 1763).

In 1796, following the French Revolution of 1789, the French arrived in Piedmont, which was definitively merged with France in 1802. Bruno is part of the Departement de Montenotte, Arrondissement de Acqui, of the Canton of Incisa. The Brunesi are against the French and in 1814 welcome the return of the Savoy.

In the 19th century progress progressed, the Nizza-Alessandria road was built and, later, the Alba-Nizza-Alessandria railway. From 1844 the road between Bruno and Mombaruzzo was built.

In this century two Faà rise to great fame: Emilio, the unfortunate commander of the King of Italy, submerged in Lissa with his ship during the third war of independence in 1866; Blessed Francis, a shining figure of "holy scientist", benefactor and founder of the religious order of the Minor Sisters of the Suffrage.

Changes in the country are due to the times: new crops in the vineyards and in the Belbo countryside, public education, kindergarten, electric light.

Meanwhile, in Italy the Risorgimento had taken place and Bruno arrived at the threshold of the twentieth century. World War I break out, some of Bruno's sons die at the front. After the war Bruno lives all the political and social tensions of the time. Fascism is established and Bruno follows the fate of Italy.

In 1935 the Province of Asti was established and Bruno left the Province of Alessandria to be part of the new province ever since.

The catastrophe of the second world war happens, the skilled Brunesi are called to the front and some do not return.

In 1943 Fascism fell and the Resistance also began on the local hills. There is a "battle of Bruno" in the partisan struggle on 20 October 1944. Bruno is part of the Partisan Republic of High Monferrato for two months. On April 25, 1945 the Liberation arrived, then on 2 June 1946 the Republic.

Since then the town has entered the new course of Italian history up to a present of normal order and relative prosperity.

(Text by Scrivanti Franco).


Administration.


Food and wine and typical products.

In the plains corn, wheat and fodder are cultivated, to which are added some plantations of poplars or new crops, in particular sunflowers and soybeans.

The hill, on the other hand, gives us vineyards where some of the noblest Piedmontese "cru" are cultivated, among which the Barbera and Moscato are the most outstanding.

To these are added intensive crops of apple orchards and peaches, and some sprinkles of walnuts and quality hazelnuts, as they fall within the disciplinary scope of the "Nocciola Tonda e Gentile del Piemonte".


To be seen.

The Castle of the Marquises Faà is a typical stately building (privately owned), built with bricks and land of the Monferrato. The interiors are frescoed with themes of a biblical-religious nature.

The Church of Nostra Signora Annunziata, a parish church, was erected on the site of an ancient cemetery and was restored in 1764.

Also, worth seeing is the Church of Madonna della Misericordia, protector of the Alpini of Bruno and the Alpine Rescue.

We also report on the territory La Peschiera, a natural reservoir that extends for about 4000 square meters.


Curiosity.

Among all the rooms of the Castle of the Marquises Faà the most interesting is the large hall called "Sala delle Feste", finely frescoed with bright colors and intense tones that celebrate the triumph of the profane and pagan of mythological nature.

In fact, the central theme is the Greek Olympus in which the gods find themselves in a boarding-house narrating their mutual adventures, as in a story that unfolds through the various depictions.

It is interesting to note that in this room, at the end of the nineteenth century, a kind of censorship by Blessed Francesco Faà intervened in his will that wrote that the heir had to intervene on the most indecent nudity and change the fresco of Venus and Mars at the door.