- NORTHERN ITALY
- CENTRAL ITALY
- SOUTHERN ITALY
- INSULAR ITALY
Acqui terme is a city in the province of Alessandria, bordered by the Bormida river. All around it is surrounded by the hills of the Alto Monferrato, which have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for some years. This locality has been famous since ancient times for being an important spa resort, so much so that Pliny the Elder indicated it as one of the most important in the Roman world. Aquae Statiellae became, in fact, in Roman times, one of the most important cities of present-day Piedmont and still today boasts a thriving tourism linked to spa treatments. In addition to its numerous monuments in Roman times, the historicity of Acui Terme is also remembered by the Archaeological Museum, located in the highest point of the Castle Park, near which it will also be possible to have an overview of the city.
The historical part of Aqui Terme is located mainly to the east and south of Corso Italia, the main street of the city center and characterized by an"S" shape.
La Bollente is the main attraction of the city, located in Piazza della Bollente, east of Corso Italia. It is a source of sulphurous water, which gives off a very visible steam. Its healing properties mean that there are often long lines of locals and tourists to refill their glasses. To make the source more elegant, a marble aedicule was built in the 19th century based on a design by the architect Giovanni Cerutti. For some years it has been illuminated every evening by lights of different colors; they make the vision even more suggestive, especially in winter, when the steam produced by the water at 74°C is added to the lights.
The Civic Tower is also present on the square. This is the result of an eighteenth-century raising of a medieval gate of the ancient city wall and is equipped with a bell and other devices.
Walking through the streets of Aqui Terme, one easily comes across numerous Roman remains.
Among them the most interesting are the Roman Theater in via Scatilazzi, a few steps from the Bollente. These actually reveal only a small portion of the cavea which must have been large.
At the end of Corso Italia, there is Piazza Italia, characterized by a long fountain, from the modern era, the Fontana delle Ninfee. Not far from this, towards the south, there are two interesting sites from the Roman era: the Roman fountain and, further south, the Roman thermal pool.
Continuing further south, about half a kilometer outside the historical centre, there is another historical monument, a symbol of the ingenuity of Roman civilization: the Roman aqueduct, dating back to the first or second century after Christ and preserved in excellent condition, located in an ideal place for relaxing walks along the bank of the Bormida river.
Many of the artifacts found in the sites mentioned are kept in the fascinating Archaeological Museum, which allows you to retrace the history of the Acquese area from the prehistoric age to the Middle Ages. The museum is housed inside the Palazzo Paleologi, an ancient medieval fortress built in brick on the hill overlooking the city centre, which can be accessed from the Castle Park.
Not far from the Palazzo Paleologi is the Cathedral of Aqui Terme. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built in the 10th century by San Guido, patron saint of the city, is a beautiful example of a Romanesque building. Originally it had three naves, then increased to five in the eighteenth century, and can be easily recognized by its unmistakable portico with three arches and the rose window. Inside it has remarkable decorations with gilded stucco and frescoes among which the very rich Baroque style altar and the beautiful triptych of the Annunciation by the Catalan painter Bartolomeo Bermejo stand out.
Another church of historical interest is undoubtedly the Church of the Addolorata, a church of paleo-Christian origin rebuilt in the 10th century in Romanesque style, when it became a Benedictine abbey. Its peculiarity is that it is partially below the road surface; in fact to access it you have to go down a short ladder that takes us back to what the height of the ground was ten centuries ago. The church is located in the opposite direction of the Bollente, with respect to Corso Italia.