BASTIA – THE MUNICIPALITY
Within the denomination of Dolcetto di Dogliani, Bastia Mondovì is the fourth largest commune, covering 4,32% of the territory, and ranks fourth within the Dogliani DOCG appellation, where it represents 8,69% of the territory. It lies at the confluence of the Ellero and Tanaro rivers on the border of the Langhe Monregalesi.
Founded in the Middle Ages, it was used as a defence outpost, as is clearly indicated by its name. In the late 12th century, the Lords of Caraxone built a defence bulwark (“bastita”), origins of the existing town, on the right shore of the Tanaro in order to be able to control their lands along the river valley. In 1198 some of the inhabitants of the old Caraxone, along with others from the towns of Vico and Vasco, decided to escape the ongoing feuds and heavy taxation imposed by the oppressive bishops of Asti, and settled in what is now known as the Piazza quarter. Thereafter, they founded the free town of Montis Regalis, now Mondovì.
In Piazza Mondovì, the former inhabitants of Caraxone built the Church of San Andrea, whose bell tower later became the Bressano tower, named after the powerful family that took possession of both the old town of Caraxone and the more recent Bastia, thus extending their domination throughout the surrounding territory. In the 14th century, Bastia was known as “Villa convenzionata di Mondovì”, and, as written in historical documents, “after having founded it, Bastia was subject and obedient to Mondovì for many centuries”. In 1416 Mondovì handed the town of Bastia over to the Savoys, and it was then ruled by a succession of noble families: the Giano, and the Della Torre, who commissioned the frescoes in the Church of San Fiorenzo (1472), the Pesines, the De Viri and the Vasco. In 1698 the district of Mondovì was split up according to a decree by Duke Vittorio Amedeo II and one year later 13 new towns were established, including Bastia. Economical and administrative troubles soon arose due to the so-called “salt wars”, in which Bastia lost its tax-exempt status. The uprising and rebellions that followed were repressed by the Duke’s troops, and two edicts of 1699 sanctioned the deportation of the rebel families, sentencing the leaders to death.
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The church was built over the tomb of the saint at the turn of the 2nd millennium as testimony to local religious sentiment. Initially it was a “pilgrim’s chapel”, as it was situated along one of the most important roads of the salt trade. A large image of St. Christopher over the entrance invited pilgrims to stop for prayer. Around the middle of the 15th century, Bonifacio Della Torre committed himself to enlarging the small church of San Fiorenzo and built the marvellous chapel that can still be admired today. Its simple structure hosts a series of frescoes covering a surface of 326 square metres, executed by different artists from the best popular schools of the time and dated 24th June 1472. The paintings are simple, but rich in mysticism and profound religious sentiment.
The Partisan Memorial is located next to the Church of San Bernardo, on the top of the highest hill in the territory of Bastia Mondovì, which offers a 360° panoramic view over the Langhe and, on clear days, as far away as Turin and the peaks of Valle d’Aosta.
The parvis of the church was adapted for communal purposes, and once used as a school. It is now an exhibition center, used for an annual poetry competition and for research on the Partisan Resistance and the Liberation of Italy by elementary and middle school students from the district. Further work was done to realize the Memorial which displays a series of commemorative plaques inscribed with the 1000 names of the lives lost in the Langhe, where bloody fighting took place from the middle of 1944 to the end of the war.
The Public Library and Historical Archives of the Resistance, housed in the de-sacralized Church of San Antonio, was inaugurated in 2006, and contains over 2000 volumes and a collection of publications and documents relating to the local Partisan movement and the Liberation of Italy. Donated by Giuseppe Anacar, a local hero of the Resistance, its intent is to keep alive the memories of this struggle in the hearts and minds of younger generations.
Festival of San Fiorenzo
this celebration of the town’s patron saint takes place on the second Sunday in May;
this is an eno-gastronomic “tasting walk” walk through the local area, featuring typical wines and food products on 1st May;
Commemoration of the Partisan Resistance
held at the S. Bernardo Memorial on the last Sunday in May.