Canelli is a town in Asti province, at the border with the province of Cuneo and it’s a menber of the association oh the hills “between Langa and Monferrato” with other communes of the area like Calosso, Castagnole delle Lanze, Coazzolo, Costigliole d’Asti, Moasca, Montegrosso and San Marzano Oliveto. It’s the most important town of the 52 communes of Moscato wine.
Canelli has a very old origins. The first inhabitants were the Liguri Stazielli, a popolutation of the nearby Liguria but the first urban settlement was during the roman era. After a long decadence, Canelli flourished in the middle Ages and in 961 it was designed town.
Its prosperity started in the XIX centuary with the wine industry of Moscato d’Asti and Spumante d’Asti.
Tha coat of arms of the town is a shield with a dog rampant surrounded with dicth reeds of the Belbo, the river of Canelli.
The city of wine
Canelli is a real city of wine and it’s one of the world capitals of quality wines with its 524 wineries.
The grape varieties grown are moscato, barbera, dolcetto, freisa, cortese and chardonnay but teh most important wines produced in Canelli are Asti Spumante (sparkling wine) and Moscato d’Asti (still wine), both wines are obtained from Moscato grapes and they have the DOCG appellation (controlled and granted denomitation of origin).
The underground cathedrals
Canelli is also famous for its Underground Cathedrals, 20Km of ancient underground historical cellars dug in the tuff that cover all the city’s subsoil, candidate to become Unesco World Heritage .
They are choreographic settings that celebrated the rite dictated by the old traditions aging barrels and bottles of still and sparkling wines.
Actually you can visit 4 historical cellars: Bosca, Coppo, Gancia and Contratto.
The industry supports the wine
Tha fame of Canelli doen’t come only from wine. A lot of companies put the technology at the service of the wine.
In the first half of the XX century the first companies of corks were born, thanks to Sardinian immigrant community, but only in the second half of the XX century developed various engineering workshops dedicated to the design and construction of machinery for wine and food productions: cappers, corking machine, cork caps, conveyer belt, labelling machine, autoclaves, wirehooder and tanks.
The city’s product is the White Moscato of Canelli. Moscato arrived in Piedmont in 1200. In 1895, half of all the Moscato existing in Piedmont was cultiveted in the municipality of Canelli alone, and most of it was bottled and sold there.
Now the area of origin of this grape variety is very wide and covers 52 municipalities but Canelli can boast the title of “capital of Asti and Moscato D’Asti”.
Another important product is the Piedmont IGP Hazelnut that you can find in the Asti Langa and in the Belbo Valley and in 1993 it acquired the protected geographical indication.
Another great product in Canelli is the Vermouth, aromatized wine prepared with wine, alcohol, sugar and extracts of herbs. White and Red Vermouth, Dry Vermouth and American are the main types.
Turism and events
The city is not only food and wine tourism destination but is also home to some important events.
On the third week end of June, there is the “Siege of Canelli– year 1613″ thet celebreted the victory ofr Canelli aganist the Monferrato Army. For 2 days three thousand figurants in costume trasform Canelli in a seventeenth-century city and twenty inns offer medieval menu.
In the fourth weekend of September Canelli has a gastronomic festival “Canelli wine city” where various Italian regions come together with Canelli’s gastronomic traditions and wines.
In autumn, in early November, you find the “Fiera regionale del Tartufo” where you can admire and buy the precious White Truffle and you can also taste it in the various restaurants in the city.
In the same day you also find the “Antica Fiera di San Martino” 14th century origins with its characteristic street market.