City considered the capital of Roero, it gave rise to the international Slow Food movement, an organization that promotes the discovery, albeit slow, of genuine flavours that characterize our territory. Rich in palaces and churches, it is one of the major centres of the Piedmontese Baroque.
The name “Bra” derives from the Lombard word “Brayda” which indicates a property with an extensive plot of land used for grazing (the same etymological origin of Piazza Bra in Verona, or of the Brera district of Milan).
Do not miss the Roman finds, dating back to the second century BC, admirable in Pollenzo (fraction of Bra) and Palazzo Traversa.
On its hills the human presence is already ascertained during the Neolithic period. In the Roman period (2nd century BC), the city of Pollentia (today’s Pollenzo) was founded along the Tanaro river – an important trading centre between the Piedmont plain and Ligurian ports. As evidence of their presence we find the amphitheatre, used as the foundation of the village of Pollenzo and the numerous finds preserved in Palazzo Traversa.
The origin of the city of Bra is probably due to a group of monks who in 1082 gave birth to a village that spread over the lands assigned to it by Adelaide di Susa. Shortly after the year 1000, the De Brayda family settled, with the consequent construction of a castle.
Bra became a free municipality in the second half of the XII century, although it would have remained under the constant attention of the municipalities of Alba, Asti, the Counts of Savoy, the Marquis of Saluzzo and Monferrato. Fallen several times under different domains, Bra reached the rank of city in 1760, by decree of Carlo Emanuele III. During the eighteenth century many architectural beauties were born and the nineteenth century gave birth to several illustrious people, such as: San Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo, the archaeologist Brizio and the scientists Craveri (founders of the homonymous Museum).
The new century saw the birth of tanning industries which provoked a real migratory flow from the south of the country, to cope with the high demand for manpower. Subsequently, starting from the 1900s, the city became a very important place for horticultural, wine, agro-food and livestock production in Piedmont.
WHAT TO SEE
S. Andrea. Baroque parish church dating back to 1672 under the direction of Guarini, with financial help from the inhabitants of Bra. The majestic facade is accompanied by interiors rich in marble, frescoes and paintings.
Palazzo Traversa. Testimony of late Gothic art, it dates back to the mid-15th century. It houses the Archaeological Museum (especially finds dating back to Roman times) and Artistic History (you can find several paintings depicting the town in different historical periods and portraits of the best known characters born in Bra).
Craveri Museum of Natural History. It was born as a simple private collection in the first half of the nineteenth century by the lawyer. Angelo Craveri. Having transmitted the passion for nature to his sons, Federico and Ettore, they founded the homonymous Museum in 1843. Following their disappearance, the museum was donated by the heirs to the Municipality of Bra.
Bra museums. The Urban Museum System of the City of Bra has 12 museum sites: Craveri Museum of Natural History, Civic Museum of Archaeology, History and Art, Toy Museum, Palazzo Mathis, La Zizzola, Birthplace of Santo Cottolengo, The sacred iconography, Archaeological site of Pollenzo, Bicycle Museum, Museum of Mechanical Writing, Wine Bank, Rolfo Museum.
Pollenzo. Ancient Roman city, it was a centre of strategic and commercial importance very important in the Augustan age. Today, you can admire the perimeter of the ancient amphitheatre with the houses arranged according to the development of its walls. The castle was rebuilt by King Carlo Alberto in 1832, decorated with Romanesque and Gothic elements. The church of San Vittore on the inside conserves some parts of the choir from the Staffarda Abbey.
Beyond the artistic and historical beauties, Bra is famous for its Bra sausage is prepared by mixing lean beef and pork fat. It was once packed with only beef for the benefit of the Jewish community of Cherasco.
A tradition made official by a royal decree authorizing the butchers of Bra to use beef in the preparation of fresh sausage, the only case in Italy. Today the butchers of Bra and surroundings prepare it by finely grinding 70-80 percent of lean Piedmontese veal pulp and 20-30 percent of lard and pork bacon. The pasta must be kept soft and moist and stuffed in a small mutton casing. Each butcher has a particular dosage in the composition of the dough: everyone uses sea salt, a mixture of spices (white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg); each personalizes using garlic, fennel, leeks, grated Parmesan cheese, seasoned Langarobiola, Arneis or Favorita white wine.
Bra sausage should be eaten preferably raw and as fresh or cooked as possible accompanied by peppers.