Just 30km apart, Asti and Alba were fierce rivals in medieval times, when they faced off against each other as feisty, independent strongholds ruled over by feuding royal families. These days the two towns maintain a friendly rivalry – stately but workaday Asti sniffs at Alba's burgeoning glamour – but are united by viticulture. Asti is famed for sparkling white Asti Spumante wine made from white muscat grapes, though it is actually made in Canelli and other nearby areas.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Asti.
During the late 13th century the region became one of Italy's wealthiest, with 150-odd towers springing up in Asti alone. Of the 12 that remain, only this one can be climbed. Troyana is a 38m-tall tower that dates from the 12th century. The clock was added in 1420.
This 18th-century residence of the Mazzetti family houses the civic museum and an information office. Downstairs you'll find Roman artefacts and a scale model of the city. Upstairs there are Italian paintings from the 17th to 19th centuries.