During the Second World War, the Asti area welcomed thousands of displaced people from Turin, Genoa and other industrial centers and since the first months of the war, military defeats, the inconveniences of everyday life, hunger cracked popular consensus towards fascism.
After September 8, 1943, the countryside of Asti systematically helped the stragglers, while few responded to the calls of the Italian Social Republic. The hilly nature of the area, the dispersion of the population in small towns, the distance from the front lines allowed many young people to remain in a situation of "protected renitence" for a long time. On the hills between the Tanaro and Valtiglione, small groups of stragglers began to organize themselves into partisan bands starting from the late spring of 1944.
In the "Boschi del Marchese", now part of the Rocchetta Tanaro Natural Park, the first clandestine meetings were held between draft men of the Tanaro valley. Organized by older elements who had already made the choice of the partisan struggle, these meetings were decisive to convince many young people in the area to join the ranks of the resistance. Particularly important was the meeting held at the Canà at the end of June 1944, organized by the Rocchettese Giovanni Vignale, back from a partisan experience in the mountains, with the presence of Dionigi Massimelli Nestore of Cortiglione and Battista Reggio Gatto, of Belveglio, who had the partisan struggle in the nearby Val Tiglione has already been organized:
"... I heard about armed struggle, sabotage, democracy, freedom, social justice, a new homeland ... of organization ... It was a new language, they were new ideas, they were wider horizons." (quote Stefano Icardi Niso)
At the beginning of July 1944, a partisan detachment from Garibaldi was born in Rocchetta. The transit of departments of the Black Brigade of Asti exposed the country to continuous dangers, so on 2 August 1944 the bridge that connected the two banks of the Tanaro river was destroyed by the partisans, but a few days later, on 26 August, they lost their lives in a clash with a fascist patrol on the road that connects the town to the hamlet of Sant'Emiliano the Rocchettesi partisans Giovanni Vignale and Luigi Sardi. They were the first partisans who fell in the area and their death led other young people from the country to join the resistance. Vignale was decorated with a silver medal for military valor and the 100th Garibaldi Brigade of the VIII "Asti" division was named after him.
Between 30 October and 2 December 1944, the town was part of the partisan republic of High Monferrato, a large area comprising about forty municipalities between the Tanaro, the Langhe and the Alexandrian plain, controlled by the partisan forces and administered by a Popular council with headquarters first in Nizza Monferrato and then in Agliano Terme.
The most tragic moment for resistance and for the peasant population was the winter of 1944-1945, when the Nazi-fascist raids, raids, arrests and deportations to Germany of civilians, partisans and renitents reported the war on the streets of every country.
At dawn on December 2, 1944, German and Fascist departments crossed the Tanaro, advancing on the plain between Castello d'Annone and Rocca d'Arazzo. The battle lasted for several hours, but in the early afternoon, given the impossibility of resisting the attack, the partisans retreated towards Val Tiglione and received orders to reach the Langhe or to hide in the area. In the following hours, Germans and Fascists also attacked in the areas of Masio, Canelli and Isola and, within a few days, occupied all the countries that had given birth to the partisan Republic of Alto Monferrato.
The partisans went astray, many were captured and deported to Germany, others found refuge in the snowy countryside, in the lair and in the isolated barns, while fear penetrated even the houses of the smallest hamlets, occupied by the Nazifascists. In those days Rocchetta experienced the drama of the arrest and deportation of 37 young partisans and renitents of the country, including Battista Sardi, who managed to escape from the sorting field in Bolzano.
Only the capture of the local garrison of the Republican National Guard by partisans of the Matteotti brigades, which took place on February 28, 1945, allowed the resumption of large-scale resistance activity in the entire area close to the Tanaro.
A monument in Piazza della Libertà and some memorial stones placed in the hamlets commemorate the eleven partisans of the town who died or died in the Nazi death camps.
The province of Asti, with its 748 fallen partisans, is awarded the Gold Medal and the Municipality of Rocchetta Tanaro is decorated with a Silver Medal for military valor for partisan merits.
• Rocchetta Tanaro tourist guide