San Damiano d’Asti, at 179 m of altitude, 8,500 inhabitants, is located in the Valle del Borbore – the Borbore Valley, the green heart surrounded by an anfitheatre of hills of orchards, quality vineyards, strips of woods, poplar groves and streaches of cultivated fields.
It was founded in 1275 as a military outpost for the defence of the nearby town of Asti. It presents the typical formation of a Roman oppidum or town, with a main street which crosses straight across the whole village, which is divided by evenly distributed districts and by porticos.
Saints Cosma and Damiano´s Church
The eighteenth-century Palazzo Comunale – the City Hall – decorated with plaster work and valuable paintings, with a gallery, an antique armament hall, with walls and ceiling completely decorated with painted and sharply chiaroscuro motifs, similar to trompe-l’oeil, emerges from the main square. The parish churches dedicated to Saints Cosma and Damiano and to Saint Vincenzo arise from the oldest part, from the fifteenth century. From the ancient period remains the still recognisable shape of the ‘Porta’ – the Gate that opened towards the North, towards Asti, converted into the parish bell tower of the church of Saints Cosma and Damiano. The church of Saint Giuseppe is a true jewel, in perfect eighteenth- century Baroque style.
Surrounded by splendid vineyards emerge the residences of Torrazzo Castle, with its medieval tower, and Lavezzole Castle, an aged monastery from the 1600s.
San Damiano is hill country and although the commercial and artisan zones have witnessed considerable growth, it is generally recognised that its true economic life is that of its agriculture. The territory boasts of a varied and renowned ampelographic patrimony of Grignolino, Nebbiolo, Bonarda, Freisa and above all else of Barbera vines. Rich in history and tradition and a vigorous vine of constant and abundant production is that which yields Barbera that is a wine of good body and highly appreciated – perhaps more than any other. “… A happy wine, happily brilliant, happily passionate, happily lively, happily open, happily moving. It continues … it continues …”
Thronged in March, the Fair of San Giuseppe – at the court of the wine, Barbera, with its traditional ‘Barbera DOC Wines competition; while in June ‘Mangiando Scollinando’, a oenogastronomic walk through the hills, is on the programme; in September, a rich programme of demonstrations is proposed to visitors to then be followed in the Autumn by the Fiera dei Santi, the Truffle Fair and Exhibition of the Market of Farmyard Animals. In December, curious and stimulating appointments are the Markets of Christmas Themes and the Exhibition of Local Capons.