One of the most famous towns of Piedmont, Italy has to be Asti. This charming town is world-renown for its wine; however, Asti offers far more things to do than just enjoy wine. This smaller city offers the charm of bigger cities without the crowds, some notable museums, and some beautiful churches. Follow this guide to discover the best things to do in Asti, Italy!
Sample Asti's World-Renown Wines
One of the best reasons to visit Asti is to try the wine. You probably have heard of Asti Spumante, which is one of Italy’s best known white wines. (The vineyards in this region produce a significant portion of Piedmont wine.) Although there was sweet white wine produced historically in this region, many wine experts trace back Asti Spumante to Carlo Gancia.
Carlo Gancia was a Piedmont native who traveled to Champagne to study the wine production techniques. He hoped to create a sparkling wine with the local grapes and ended up using Moscato. Although some often associate Moscato with pure sweetness, I recommend trying Asti Spumante DOCG, even if you’re not a white wine drinker.
In Italy, the system for grading wines is often referred to Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) with DOCG referring to the highest quality wines produced in a traditional manner in the typical region of production. As a result of this, you’ll find Asti DOCG in the Asti region. Asti DOCG must be made with 100% Moscato Bianco grown within the Asti region. Also, try the Moscato d’ Asti DOCG, which is made with the same grapes, but it is fermented only once. It’s technically not a spumante, but it is a local wine worth trying in Asti.
Any restaurant or cafe in Asti worth its salt will carry Asti wine although I warn that it’s not as common to find it by the glass as you want to drink a sparkling wine fresh out of the bottle. I recommend sitting down for a while, ordering a bottle of Asti Spumante, and nibbling on some snacks.
Experience Asti's Rich Food Culture
One of the best (and most expensive!) times of the year to visit Asti is in fall. Piedmont is world-famous for its truffles and there are a few food fairs in the region during this time. One notable one is the Douja D’Or, which is a wine festival focused on Piedmont wine.
If you’re willing to brave the crowds, you’ll have stunning turning leaves in the countryside as well as the Festivale delle Sagre. This food festival in Asti focuses on regional products. It’s quite famous, so if you intend to head to this festival, you really need to plan ahead as there’s not so much accommodation in Asti during the rest of the year. Of course, we hope you'll stay at La Casa Celeste which is the perfect base for exploring Asti April through beginning of January.
Even if you cannot make the festivals, you’ll still need to sample the food of Asti. It’s Italy, so you cannot go wrong with pizza. The special of Asti is a candy called torrone, which is sold at Giordanino.
Discover Asti's Stunning Piazzas and Picturesque Side Streets
You can spend an entire day wandering the beautiful streets of Asti! It reminds me of Bologna in the best possible way: charming cobblestone streets with minimal cars, cute little shops, minimal tourists, and cozy cafes with local food. Simply, you can’t go wrong as you discover the beautiful alleyways of Asti. If you love gelato, I recommend getting a cone to-go to enjoy in one of Asti’s beautiful piazzas.
Sip Coffee at one of Asti's Many Charming Cafes
Asti has so many little cafes for coffee. I was really impressed with the modern decor (for sloth lovers!) and delicious coffee at Sereno Chill Coffee & Co. There’s a cafe on basically every corner, so don’t worry about not getting your caffeine fix.