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Moncalvo, on the Asti hills, is the smallest city in Italy, this is a land of good wine
Moncalvo, is a small village located in the province of Asti. Or rather it would be the case to say city. Indeed it is the smallest town that boasts the title of city. Located halfway between Asti and Casale Monferrato, its history goes back to Roman times. Owned by the church of Asti, but also by the Marquis of Monferrato first to that of Saluto, then. The history of Moncalvo also passes from the Gonzaga family to that of the Savoy family. It was Vittorio Amedeo III of Savoy who declared it a city, reconfirming the title that had already been attributed by the Duke of Mantua Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga on 23 March 1705.
Moncalvo, detail of the historic center
The smallest city in Italy offers a maze of streets in the historic center that are a succession of palaces and historic buildings, churches, and small shops, all imbued with a retro atmosphere, such as via XX Settembre, the ancient commercial heart of the city. The other peculiarity of the village is that it has two neighboring squares. Then the wine shop, a long tunnel, formerly a patrol walkway for soldiers, where you can taste the local wine production.
Moncalvo, Casa Lanfrancone
One of the most evocative palaces is Casa Lanfrancone, which has a nineteenth-century appearance, even if it is of older construction. Only very few traces of its gothic appearance remain. The historical sign written with golden strokes is interesting.
Moncalvo, Piazza Carlo Alberto seen from the castle tower
As evidence of the ancient castle, today remain the two imposing towers that overlook the Carlo Alberto square, connected by walkways. The first of the two towers house the Moncalvo Wine Shop while the other is used for other purposes. The two towers are joined by the patrol walkway. Surviving the sieges that took place during the 17th-century Franco-Spanish war, the towers are the most fascinating viewpoint in Moncalvo.
Moncalvo, the Municipal Theater in Piazza Garibaldi
The oldest existing cult building in Moncalvo is the Church of the Madonna delle Grazie, formerly the parish seat in the period from 1536 to 1623. The building is the only work by Magnocavalli to have been completed according to the original project dating back to the period 1756- 58. The temple was built on the site of a previous church. The interior is a hall and opens onto four side chapels, while the presbytery is raised by two steps and bordered by a 1761 balustrade in polychrome marble. The stucco decoration that covers the whole environment is remarkable.
Moncalvo, Church of Sant'Antonio abate
In via XX Settembre stands the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate, and was built where an oratory dedicated to the saint existed before 1459. The church underwent several alterations and was rebuilt in 1623. The sacristy dates back to 1700, the bell tower was completed in 1744. It has a stone staircase from 1882. The interior is a hall and preserves several paintings. On the Monteguardo relief there is the Church of San Francesco. It was built by the Minori Conventuali around 1272. The current facade dates back to 1932 on a project by the architect Vittorio Mesturino, who took up the ancient drawings. The interior has three naves. Interesting are the frescoes by Mario Micheletti in which the Canticle of the Creatures is represented in the central dome and the Stories of Salvation in the apse. In the sacristy, you can admire the painting “Madonna Enthroned with Child and Saints. Martino and Rocco ”by Bartolomeo Bonone.
Moncalvo, Church of San Francesco