Cuneo is rather a commercial heart than an handicraft one (even if lately many industries have developed all around); it has always been famous for its market, where you can find wood and iron objects, potteries, produced by the craftsmen coming from the valleys. This city offers many food specialties such as chestnuts, to be tasted boiled, roasted or in desserts like the «Mont Blanc» and the «Marron Glacès». Among the typical dishes of Piedmont we find also snails, which were already appreciated in Roman Times. For the most sweet tooth the Cuneo pralines, ‘Cuneesi al rhum’ are unmissable. They were invented by Andrea Arione and they are made of a fine chocolate pastry. Cuneo, as important commercial centre, is the seat of many fairs and events, among the most famous you can find the “Illuminata” and the “Fiera del Marrone”.
A bit of history…
Cuneo was founded as a free municipality in the XII century. The first historical document that proves its existence dates back to 23rd June 1198. The feudal lords frowned up freedom of the new centre so, they, under the lead of the Marquis of Saluzzo, they created an alliance which destroyed Cuneo at the beginning of 1200. The centre was rebuilt, but since that episode it was subjected to the domination of the Saluzzo Marquises, the Angiò and Visconti of Milano families (1348). In 1367 Cuneo is, once again, under the lead of the Angioni, who were so appreciated by the inhabitants because they were respectful of the citizens freedom. In 1382 Cuneo spontaneously submitted itself to the Savoy, obtaining the recognition of jurisdiction over the Stura, Grana, Gesso and Vermenagna valleys and on the cities of Busca, Centallo and Boves.
Due to its strategical position it was involved in many European politic problems during 1500 and in the following centuries. In that period the city resisted gloriously to seven sieges. After these fights, in 1557, it obtained the name of ‘city’. After a brief Napoleonic period, which started with the armistice of Cherasco in 1796 and ended with the Restoration (1817), Cuneo was the chief town of the Department and in 1859 it was elected chief town of province. Cuneo is, once again, protagonist during the two World Wars: in fact, unluckily, this province registered the highest number of casualties among the Italian cities. During the Second World War 5800 Cuneo inhabitants were enrolled in the “Cuneense”, a famous division of the Alpini, who, for the majority lost their lives in Russia in 1943. Cuneo was one of the most important centre of the partisans Resistance against Nazism and it is also the birthplace of the hero Duccio Galimberti, who organised the first anti-fascism and Nazism groups.
A city of illustrious men
It seems that Hemingway, on a journey through Piedmont, came to Cuneo just to taste the famous ‘Cuneesi al rum‘. The chief town has not only been an attractive place to visit, but it has always been a land of many illustrious men, who distinguished themselves in art, politics, sciences and war. Among those there is certainly Duccio Galimberti, to who is dedicated the homonym square. He was a national hero of the Resistance and gold medal for military value. Another illustrious man from Cuneo is Giuseppe Peano (1858-1932),, the most famous Italian mathematician who lived between 1800 and 1900. At the end of XVIII century was born the zoologist Franco Bonelli, University Professor and interpreted of the Landmark theories. The chief town of the Granda is the native land of Vincenzo Virginio (1752-1830), who promoted the potato cultivation, of the violinist and conductor Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni (1751-1821). Giovanni Toselli (1819- 1886) distinguished himself in drama, he was a great interpreter of the Piedmontese theatre, played in dialect, but also Nino Bernini (1880-1960 comedies writer was born in this area. Then, there was Giuseppe Barbaroux, (1772-1843), Minister of Justice of Savoy and principal author of the Codex Albertino, and Marcello Soleri (1882-1945) Minister of the Treasury, instead, after the first conflict distinguished themselves in politics.