Savigliano: city with an industrial, rural and cultural soul

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The town of Savigliano, already mentioned in an official document of 981, was in the XIII century one of the main free communes of Piedmont and it occupied a leading role in Piedmontese history.

Agricultural and cultural centre of great importance, a thriving commercial city, it hosted the only Piedmontese university from 1434 to 1436, it was the site of one of the first printing houses in Piedmont and had its golden age with the flowering of the “Saviglianese school”, one of the highest expressions of the Baroque in Piedmont in 1600, founded by the painter Giovanni Antonio Molineri. In 1853 the first Piedmontese railway section was inaugurated with terminus in Savigliano and in 1880 the activity of the Società Nazionale Officine Savigliano, an industry specialised in the production of rolling stock, it became then  then Fiat Ferroviaria and today Alstom, a company known worldwide for the production of  the “Pendolino” and high-speed trains. The city has kept as much as possible a well-defined urban perimeter, so as to preserve the surrounding open spaces of which it has always recognized the agricultural, environmental and landscape value.

Favoured by its flat geographical conformation, the city in its South West-North East direction is drawn inside two waterways, the Maira and the Mellea creeks (so much so that the historic Piazza Santa Rosa follows its imprint), and thanks to its prominent position it has always been in the centre of the in the Piedmontese economic and political chessboard. The same philosophy has been followed in the most recent urban expansions, in the 1960s and then in the 1990s. Environmental attention has never been forgotten and today it is confirmed to be an added value for the city.

Savigliano is an excellent synthesis of three vocations: the railway industry and the large artisan settlements, the rural one, which was born with the cereal culture and then the fruit growing one, and finally the “cultural” one of the many monuments, historical squares, museums and country villas.

Cycle and walking roads and integrated sustainability are highlighted through the creation of transport models focused on the use of the bicycle, with a bike sharing station for every 200 inhabitants and constantly expanding cycling routes. The rail transport, which today allows the connection with Turin and Liguria, is very important, as well as widespread connections with  the rest of the Province of Cuneo. The sustainability also materializes with the creation of limited traffic areas, with the “30 areas” and the large pedestrian areas, the many tree-lined avenues that connect areas of historical and cultural importance with parks and public gardens. Furthermore, in recent years, these areas are served by free public transport.

It is a great thrill to discover Savigliano, the heart of the Terre dei Savoia, and its territory, perceiving its soul as a free medieval town, its late Renaissance and Baroque heritage, its modernity and technology and finally its genuinely Piedmontese gastronomy. At the feet of the Civic Tower (XIII century), in Piazza Santa Rosa, one of the best preserved examples of medieval  square, starts the discovery of Saviglianese atmosphere and life. The route continues along its streets, in its sumptuous palaces in green parks and historic gardens, in the suggestive spaces of the Civic Museum and the Gipsoteca or with the visit to the Piedmont Railway Museum and finally in the relaxing cloisters and among the treasures of Churches, Convents and Brotherhoods. A city that, in the various routes it offers, delivers important traces of its artistic, cultural and industrial history with the nineteenth-century Milanollo Theater, the prestigious headquarters of the University, the railway track of 1855 that recalls the very first stretch of railway between Turin and Savigliano, and today it represents the emblem of an industrial company that still stands out on world markets.

From the liveliness of the pedestrian streets of the centre, the space opens up to plunge into the green lung of the Graneris Park to get lost in the “necklace” of the historic gardens (the Cloister of San Francesco, the garden of the Palazzo Muratori Cravetta, the Cloister of Santa Monica and finally that of San Pietro) some of which recovered thanks to the “Jardins des Alpes” project. Going through Savigliano, running on the Maira creek cycle paths, that touch the city to the west, you enter the lively squares of the centre, Piazza Santa Rosa and Piazza del Popolo. Moving between natural and architectural elements, the visitor finds a city on a human scale.

Given its median position in the Cuneo plain, Savigliano is the starting point for the discovery of the Province of Cuneo, from the fertile plain of Saluzzo to the gentle hills of the Langhe, up to the imposing mountains. Over the last few years Savigliano has been able to organize trekking and cycle tourism itineraries through the involvement of numerous bodies and associations, working together within European projects. The paths lead to the discovery of the rural landscape and culture and the uncontaminated environment. Starting from the so-called “crown of delights”, a real ring around the city and above all a historical itinerary,  you can admire the castle of Suniglia, that of Solere, the birthplace of Santorre di Santa Rosa, the Renaissance villa of Maresco , the Rigrasso manor, the Solaro castle in Monasterolo, the splendid 15th century frescoes in the chapel of San Giuliano and those in Motta San Giovanni.

A significant aspect in the conservation of local biodiversity is the presence of springs, precious hydraulic engineering works, mainly made in the 1800s. True ecological corridors which are connected, thanks to their adductor channels rich in natural vegetation, to the adjacent river ecosystems. The path along the Maira creek that, entering a path of over 90 km, integrates with the Occitan routes and connects Racconigi with Acceglio. These routes are integrated into the network of “Municipalities of the Good Way”.

The calendar of the main events includes: the annual Fair dedicated to agricultural mechanization; Quintessenza, an event dedicated to medicinal and aromatic herbs and the Bread Festival (Festa del Pane). The city also rediscovers its religious soul during the traditional Easter Sunday procession and is characterised by great vivacity. This city offers popular festivals, sporting events and quality cultural events in every season, among the events it is worth remembering the theatrical and musical season.

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