The territory of Priocca is located between Bourbon and Tanaro with easy communication between the two valleys.
A small town whose concentric develops in length and is dominated by the neo-Gothic Parish Church, which stands out imposingly on the highest point of the hill. The high bell tower (40 meters) dating back to the early 1900s distinguishes Priocca from afar.
According to some scholars, the current name derives from “Pedla Roca”, i.e. at the foot of the hill in the Pometto Valley, the place where the town was located after the Saracen invasions.
The area of Priocca has been inhabited since prehistoric times by the Ligurians who settled almost everywhere on these hills. It is believed that the first inhabited centre was the Colle della Stella, located on the road that leads from Alba to Asti, in a sunny position. The Colle della Stella stood near the tenth milestone and from this, perhaps, derives the name Petra Ducia, which then turned into Priocca. According to some scholars, the current name derives from “Pèdla Roca”, that is, at the foot of the hill in the Pometto Valley, the place where the town was located after the Saracen invasions.
In the early Middle Ages, a settlement was formed near the parish church of San Vittore, of which the Romanesque apse remains today: this is the work of greatest artistic and cultural value existing in the area. Later, between 1000 and 1200, a new centre, the “villa”, stands on a hill around a castle: its characteristics of a real village, surrounded by walls and protected by a moat, will slowly bring the progressive removal of the population from the ancient settlement. Possession of the Roero family already in the 14th century, it will come, by purchase, to the Damiano family of Asti, whose Priocca will remain until the suppression of feudal rights. The municipality bought the castle from the heirs of the Damiano and partly demolished it, obtaining the square.
WHAT TO SEE
Parish church of S. Stefano
Once a parish church, chapel of the castle, it is mentioned from 1345, when it was subject to the Pieve di San Vittore. Rebuilt in Lombard-ogival forms in 1905-1908. The bell tower, 40 meters high, was completed in 1923.
Pieve di San Vittore
What remains is placed in the courtyard of a private house in Pirio, and is the testimony of the ancient parish church, mentioned in the diploma of Henry III of 1041 and confirmed by the Bishop of Asti (“plebem Sancti Victoris de Predocha cum canonica”) which, in addition to having spiritual jurisdiction over various churches, it boasts substantial land possessions. Proto-Romanesque, dating back to the first half of the 11th century, it had an adjoining cemetery. The small current chapel preserves the central nave and the left of the ancient building, with Romanesque semi-circular apses characterized, on the outside, by pilasters and hanging arches.
Inside, in the apsidal basin of the left aisle, there is an ancient tripartite fresco depicting the Madonna and Child, flanked by San Vittore martyr and Santa Caterina di Alessandria.
There is also a wooden statue of the Madonna Assunta, the work of Giovan Battista Bonzanigo from Asti.
Church of San Silverio
Country chapel in the southern area of the territory, towards the border with Castellinaldo, is mentioned in a document of 1242 with the denomination “de Curmurio”. According to tradition, in its vicinity a hospital for plague was created in 1600. Today it comes in the forms of the reconstruction of 1922.