Villafranca d’Asti

Villafranca d'Asti, the "queen of rivers" all to discover.


Landscape.

Villafranca d’Asti is one of the most dynamic and growing realities of northern Asti.

The municipality of about 3000 inhabitants covers an area of 12.88 km² in the middle of a valley crossed by the torrents Riomaggiore, Stanavasso, Traversole and Triversa

In Villafranca there is the local Carabinieri station and the Valtriversa local police headquarters.


History.

Area of strong palaeontological interest, with the discovery of fossil remains of the Quaternary Age, Villafranca d'Asti was founded in the mid-1200s by the municipality of Asti; in the fifteenth century, after having been the center of many battles due to its strategic position towards Turin and the French territory, moved the town in the hills.

The modern economic development has been stimulated by the construction of the Villafranca-Cantarana railway station, on the Turin-Genoa line, inaugurated in 1849 in the Borgovecchio Region.

Today the economy of Villafranca is based above all on trade even if agriculture still plays a decisive role.


Administration.

In Via Roma 50, in the building that houses the municipal offices, is located the Unione di Comuni Colli del Monferrato.


Food and wine and typical products.

Villafranca stands out from the enogastronomical point of view for its excellent production of honey, wine and cured meats; typical dishes are the agnolotti del plin, pasta stuffed with meat and vegetables, the fricandò (meat stew), accompanied by the wines Freisa and Barbera.


To be seen.

Must be visited the Collegiate of Saint Elena, parish church with baroque lines built in the seventeenth century, Palazzo Aghemio, eighteenth-century building now home to the parish oratory, the deconsecrated Church of Saint Giovanni Evangelista, once the seat of the Confraternity of Battuti Neri and now used as theater, the Church of Madonna della Neve (or of Vulpilio), built between the 12th and the 13th century and which still preserves Romanesque traces in the apse.

The territory of Villafranca d'Asti is dotted with votive piers (there are eighteen included in the Maps section of the municipal site) as evidence of the deep-rooted religious cult in the area: their discovery, in stages, is a valid starting point for a historical-religious itinerary.

For lovers of picnics and trips out of town, there is the presence of a Bialbero, a cherry tree grown on top of a mulberry tree, in the Garavello Region.


Curiosity.

From November 2018 the cemetery of Villafranca d'Asti has a new bell, the largest among those cemeteries belonging to the Diocese of Asti, installed on the bell tower that stands in the center of the cemetery.

The precious artistic instrument, whose weight exceeds 60 kilos, was created by Allacconi foundry and given to the community by the brothers Mario and Angelo Benotto.

Memory of the dead is a very lively feeling in Villafranca: the municipal cemetery is in fact still one of the few in the province of Asti to accompany the tombs with tolling of the bell.

The collective enthusiasm that accompanied the installation of the new bell pushed the municipal administration to intensify its use: not only during funeral ceremonies but every evening, at sunset, the bell rings for 180 seconds.

A symbolic gesture to invite all the people of Villafranca to dedicate a thought to their missing loved ones.

The new bell is protected by a surveillance camera and it is not casual attention: on two occasions, in the '60s and in 1999, the symbol of the town was stolen.

Following the second theft, the Municipality decided to replace it, temporarily, with a specimen of little value: with the new installation Villafranca d'Asti sewed up a piece of indelible history for its territory.