The chief town of the province, surrounded by an imposing alpine panorama, deserves a careful visit in order to enjoy its colours and fragances. The Cuneo region is a border area characterised by sincere and concrete people, it is a land of ancient rural traditions celebrated during country feasts, it offers plenty of history and stories, folklore and culture, a gastronomy based on humble ingredients and powerful tastes.
Its name Cuneo derives from the wedgeshaped plateau (534 m) where is located, at the confluence between the Gesso stream and the Stura river. Founded in 1198 in a military strategic position, it was besieged several times during the centuries. The Angevin domination, which lasted more than a century (1259-1382), was followed by the Savoy reign, during which Cuneo became a "fortress town". The knocking down of the solid city by the French invader, in order to hinder any chance of defence in case of rebellion, dates back to 1800.
A basic itinerary winds across the wide Piazza Galimberti, core of the town and site of the well-known Tuesday market and Via Roma, the main street of the old town with the medieval arcades. Just beyond the square one can find the Cathedral, the old church dating back to the town foundation, whose baroque structure was designed by Boetto in the 17th century. Its decorations go back to the 19th century while the wonderful icon of the high altar was created by Andrea Pozzo in 1685.
Among the civil buildings deserving a visit we suggest the Town Hall (the former Jesuits' college), with some halls frescoed between the 18th and 19t, while the old Monastery of San Francesco houses the historical and ethnographical collections of the Civic Museum.
On Sunday afternoon it is also possible to go up the Civic Tower, dating back to 1317, and admire the amazing alpine panorama. The historic centre offers many other noble buildings from the 17th and 18th century such as the Vescovado (Bishop's Palace), Palazzo Lovera, Palazzo d'Andonno and Palazzo S. Giovanni, the former Brotherhood Church now used as multi-purpose hall. In contrada Mondovì one can see the small palace, that is traditionally considered to be the first town hall, the Brotherhoo of S. Sebastiano and the Synagogue.
The arcades houses several antique shops, craft workshops and a seasonal flea market.
A walk around the modern quarters of Cuneo leads the visitor to the green lung of the town, Viale degli Angeli, with its art nouveau villas, to the Parco della Resistenza, with the impressive monument by Umberto Mastroianni, and to the Santuario degli Angeli, including the Juvarra's altar, the Galimberti family's tomb and a urn containing the remains of the blessed Angelo Carletti from the 15th century.
Do not miss the chance to taste the flavorous chocolate and rum pralines called "Cuneesi", which were also highly appreciated by Ernest Hemingway, as he came to Cuneo in 1954.
Texts are taken from "Artistic, historical and religious itineraries in the valleys of yhe province of Cuneo - Between Art and Faith" A.T.L. del Cuneese.
Photos "'Archivio A.T.L. del Cuneese".