Piedmont Region

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LAMORO Development Agency

Church Route

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The Piedmont Region Churches Route

The pilot area was identified in the Municipalities of Bosco Marengo, Cassine and Sezzadio, three small towns in Lower Piedmont, in the province of Alessandria.

The Regional Working Group was created starting from the active involvement and participation of the Mayors of these three municipalities. Their participation has allowed us to involve other key stakeholders as private owners of historical and cultural goods, the Civil Protection which has important competences in terms of maintenance of cultural and historical sites and the associations involved in organizing cultural events and exhibitions at a local level.

The pilot area includes the territory of three small municipalities of the province of Alessandria, in Piedmont: Bosco Marengo, Sezzadio and Cassine. Bosco Marengo has a surface of about 44 km2 with a population of 2,550 inhabitants. The surface of Sezzadio is about 34 km2 with a population of 1,320 inhabitants. Cassine is a town of about 3,050 inhabitants, with an area of about 34 km2.

All three municipalities saw the growth of diversified manufacturing industries: municipalities have a dedicated industrial area, away from the center of the villages, that is a benefit for the environment and traffic. Agriculture remains the main vocation of the territory. Bosco Marengo is characterized by the cultivation of cereals. Sezzadio is experiencing a shift away from the long tradition of viticulture. Cassine confirms a well-established tradition in wine and cereal production. Handicraft is quite developed: there are “Artisans of excellence” in the wood and restoration sector, in addition to artists currently working in the fields of metals and food. Also in the area of iron, wood and ceramics we find all materials typical of the Piedmont tradition of craftsmanship.

Concerning the aspect of cultural heritage and its conservation, the analysis point out many strengths: a large number of historical monuments, the presence of natural reserves and areas of preservation of natural and cultural heritage, strong local traditions and strong territorial identity and a rich mesh of historical, natural and gastronomic routes.

During regional working groups some weaknesses needed to be pointed out: the high cost of maintenance of the architectural heritage, the accentuated localism and the inability to systematize the different resources.

Many opportunities were identified: a considerable flow of visitors at the Serravalle Outlet (a trading center with about 5 million of visitors per year), the private involvement in the actions of maintenance of historical assets, the growth of cultural tourism in the provincial territory, the possible recognition of the territory as UNESCO Area of Interest (World Heritage), the proximity to the spa town of Acqui Terme and the close link between the architectural heritage and the natural heritage.

The threats are recognized in the progressive shortage of public funds for the maintenance of architectural heritage and in the progressive shortage of public funds for the promotion of tangible and intangible heritage.

Bosco Marengo, Sezzadio and Cassine are rich of religious and historical sites. For the Regional Church Route the Regional Working Group proposed to select three religious sites:

The Monumental Complex of Santa Croce in Bosco Marengo

The Monumental Complex in Bosco Marengo is one of the most significant examples of late 16th century Italian architecture. Just ascended the papal throne in 1566, Pius V promoted the construction of this Dominican monastery dedicated to the Holy Cross and All Saints. According to the intentions of the Pope the building stood as the center of a new city, and the church was also intended to serve as a tomb for the Pope. The church, one of the main monuments of the late Piedmontese Renaissance, reflects the spirit and rigor of Pope Pius V. Also Giorgio Vasari, italian painter, sculptor, architect and writer of treatises, contributed to this architectural project.

The Abbey of Santa Giustina in Sezzadio

The Abbey of Santa Giustina in Sezzadio was founded by King Liutprand around the year 722 on the occasion of his trip to Italy for the transfer of the body of S. Augustine. The monastery, as it appears today, is formed by the church, a house and some farm buildings. The church is severe and suggestive in the forms of the eleventh century, with the brick facade interspersed by pilasters and arches. The crypt, very impressive, dates back to the time of Liutprand.

The Convent of San Francesco in Cassine

In Cassine we find the Convent of San Francesco, built by the Friars Minor Conventual Franciscans arrived to Cassine in 1232. The church is one of the few significant examples of Gothic Lombard architecture in Piedmont, with Cistercian branches.


Analysis focused on tangible and intangible culture heritage linked to regional churches.


Pilot Actions

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