CUNEO: let's discover a green town

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The Cathedral
Ph. G. F. Fanti - Church of San Francesco
Civic Tower
Porches in the historical centre

The chief town of the province, surrounded by an imposing alpine panorama, deserves a careful visit in order to enjoy its colours and fragrances. 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 and 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 wedge-shaped plateau (534 m) where it is located, at the confluence between the Gesso stream and the Stura river. Founded in 1198 in a militarily 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 walls 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 square called Piazza Galimberti, core of the town and site of the well-known Tuesday market that invades also Via Roma, the main street of the old town, with its medieval arcades. A terrace that looks over the square belongs to Museo Casa Galimberti, a nice little museum that used to be the house of the Resistance fighter national hero (World War II) Duccio Galimberti and his family. From that terrace in 1943 Duccio Galimberti urged people to fight against the german invaders.

Just beyond the square one can find the Cathedral, the old church of Santa Maria del Bosco dating back to the times of the town foundation (1198). The church was built and restored a lot of times, but the one we can see nowadays has a baroque structure designed by Giovenale Boetto in the 17th century, while the dome and the neoclassical facade with its Corinthian columns date back to the 19th century. Inside one can't miss the wonderful icon of the high altar, created by Andrea Pozzo in 1685 and the 19th century decorations.

Walking down Via Roma one can visit the church of Santa Maria and the church of Sant'Ambrogio, jewels of the baroque style.

Among the civil buildings that deserve a visit, we suggest the Town Hall (a former Jesuits’ college), with some beautiful halls frescoed between the 18th and 19th centuries. The main hall hosts a huge crystal chandelier that used to light the the Civic Theatre stalls. The Civic Tower, dating back to 1317, stands just in front of the Town Hall and from its balcony one can 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. 

The former church and monastery of San Francesco rise in the square called Piazza Virginio. It was completely restored in 2011 and houses the historical and ethnographical collections of the Civic Museum. The church is a unique example of piedmontese gothic style and nowadays hosts cultural events. Art exhibitions are often set up in Palazzo Samone, an ancient building that used to be the seat of the Pawnshop and that was built by the Cuneo architect Pio Eula in the 18th century.

One of the most attractive places in Cuneo is Contrada Mondovì (the ancient district of the Jews)  a promenade loved by citizens and tourists that can walk admiring the small palace traditionally considered to be the first town hall, the Synagogue and the beautiful church of S. Sebastiano founded in 1320. The arcades houses several fashion shops, craft workshops and a seasonal flea market. 

A walk around the modern quarters of Cuneo leads the visitor to the green promenade of the town called 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. Inside this church one can admire the Juvarra’s altar, the Galimberti family’s tomb and a urn containing the remains of the blessed Angelo Carletti (patron of the town together with Saint Michael) from the 15th century. Thanks to the sacrifice of its inhabitants and for their active role in the Resistance fight, Cuneo was decorated with the Purple Heart (Medaglia d'Oro al Valor Militare) on August 1st 1947.

Parco Fluviale Gesso e Stura
A 60km parkland between the Gesso and the Stura rivers. The parkland represents a link between the mountain area and the plain.
For further information: www.parcofluvialegessostura.it

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), Cuneo salami, all the P.D.O. piedmontese cheeses, chestnut creams, marron glaceé, chestnut Cuneo cakes, smoked trouts.

Major events:
- Degustibus (May)
- The GranFondo Fausto Coppi (June/July)
- Cuneo Illuminata (July)
- Oktoberfest (September)
- National Chestnuts Fair (October)
- Scrittorincittà - Literaly Festival (November)
- Cuneo Fim Festival (December)

 

Tourist Board
Tourist Office IAT - A.T.L. del Cuneese
Via Pascal, 7 – 12100 CUNEO
Ph. +39.0171.690217 (ext.1)
e-mail: iatcuneo@cuneoholiday.com