The built-up area of Santa Vittoria d’Alba is located on a knoll overlooking the Roero and the Tanaro Valley. The municipality extends between Alba and Bra, with the hamlets Cinzano, Borgo, Villa, Lussi and Case Nuove.
The position of Santa Vittoria is, in itself, an invitation to climb it: the scenery opens onto the long and wonderful hills of the Langhe and Roero. The town is characterized by the crenelated medieval tower and, in the valley, by the important industrial settlement of Cinzano.
Its shape stands out unmistakably on the fortress overlooking the Tanaro valley, in the stretch between Bra and Alba, to underline its belonging to the Roero territory, with a privileged view of the Langhe.
The town is divided into several residential areas, starting with the Villa, a historic settlement on the top with valuable monuments; a little further down the ancient peasant village of S. Antonio lies, while at the foot of the hill stands the important industrial and commercial area of Cinzano, a name acquired from the ancient Turin winery “Francesco Cinzano & C.” which had, until a few years ago, its historical establishment.
Territory inhabited since the Neolithic era, it had a crucial importance in the Roman period, due to its proximity to Alba and to ancient Pollentia (today’s Pollenzo), to which it was linked for the precious terracotta that was made in the Anforianum locality.
The origin of the name is uncertain: the most accredited version says that the hill is dedicated to a Roman “victoria”, a name that would later assume the prefix “sancta” in the period of Christian expansion, when there were two churches here (BeataeVictoriae in silva and S. Victoriae in the stalls) dedicated to the saint of Sabine origin. Around the year 1000 it was equipped with a “castrum”, disputed between the municipalities of Alba and Asti, which after the fall of the Angevin dominion remained in the power of the Visconti family. In 1433 the fiefdom was assigned to the Romagnano, and three hundred years later to Luigi Caissotti, marquis of Verduno. Also claimed by the Savoy house, the fiefdom was devolved to it in 1753 and assigned to the Duke of Chiablese, from whom the properties will pass directly to the royal patrimony.
WHAT TO SEE
THE TOWER AND THE CASTLE. The bastion complex has occupied the top of the Santa Vittoria hill since 1154, although the castle is a modern construction. Now privately owned, it is home to a tourist hotel complex. The tower, with a square plan and finished by an elegant protruding apparatus, has fifteenth-century characters.
THE BELL TOWER. Dated between the end of the XIV and the beginning of the XV century, it certainly had a strategic control function. With a square plan, it stands for 20 meters and maintains the Romanesque architectural features.
THE CONFRATERNITY OF ST. FRANCIS. Born as a civil house, and then taken on as the headquarters of the “sanctispiritus de sancta uitoria” Confraternity, the building contains the most precious and best preserved cycle of frescoes in the Roero: dating from around the mid-16th century and by an unknown author, they depict scenes of the passion of Christ and spread over 34 meters on three sides of the nave.
THE ROMAN TURRIGLIO. In the village of the hamlet of Cinzano, visible from the provincial road, the turriglio is a circular construction on a square base placed inside a stone wall with “opus incertum” texture. The monumental complex is dated around the first century. BC, the intended use is uncertain: some scholars identify it as a funerary temple consecrated to an unspecified Muse, but the more consolidated version considers it a monument commemorating the victory of Rome obtained by Gaius Mario against the Cimbri and the Teutons (101 BC) , which marked the beginning of the Romanization of the area.