The ancient tower, erected by the Biandrates in 1217, has now been halved since the fortress on which it stood, over the years, has become so thin as to make the structure unsafe.
Some archaeological finds testify to Ligurian, Roman and Lombard settlements in the area. A document dated 1065 speaks of a donation of some possessions “infra castro de Sancti Stefani” by Adelaide di Susa to the church of Asti. This document is important because it indicates how a castle with an annexed church already existed, from which the town took the name of Santo Stefano.
In 1153 the bishop of Asti ceded the territory to the counts of Biandrate, his faithful, who also won Monteu. The Biandrates took sides on the side of Astisio and Alba and in 1217 they had the square tower built on top of the top fortress, which disappeared definitively in 2002 following earthquakes and landslides. Subsequently the Biandrates joined the Angiò, but in 1290 they were definitively defeated by Asti. In 1299 the area passed under the control of the Roero, who kept it almost uninterruptedly until 1747, the year in which Baldassarre Michele Roero died, the last descendant, who sold everything to the Gromis of Trana.
WHAT TO SEE
An unusual geological phenomenon of erosion born in the mists of time, but which continues today and influences human life. In S.Stefano Roero the Rocche are the most typical landscape element and can be admired in the scenic main square of the town. A naturalistic heritage that can be discovered thanks to the Roero Path Network: ring routes that delve into the themes of local cultural identity.
THE DISAPPEARING TOWER
Until 2002, a high square tower stood on the top of the Rocca that overlooks the historic centre. Built by the Biandrates in 1217, the tower was flanked by a church dedicated to S. Stefano (mentioned in 1065 and from which the town took its name), with its cemetery. In 1841 it was donated to the Municipality by the owners of the time (Beraudo di Pralormo, Carron di St-Thomas, Faussone di Clavesana).
In 1887 a considerable part of the north-east corner fell due to the earthquake: to avoid the danger of collapses, a few years ago it was drastically reduced to a few meters high, which atmospheric agents and the extreme friability of the fortress precipitated underlying abyss the night of December 27, 2002.
The parish church, dedicated to Santa Maria del Podio, mentioned in 1315 as a substitute for the oldest Santo Stefano, but certainly older on this site, was rebuilt between 1662 and 1668. It was restored after the damage suffered for the earthquake of 1887, with reconstruction of the vault and modification of the side chapels. Inside there are three wooden altars, in particular that of Santo Stefano, copiously carved.
The Church of S. Bernardino, or of the white (‘beaten’) disciplines, located not far from the parish church; already mentioned at the end of the 16th century in front of the parish church, it was rebuilt on the current site in baroque lines in 1729.
The Church of San Michele, placed, oriented, on a prominence between the Lunghi Valley and the Aiello Valley. We have news about it especially starting from 1041 and for over two centuries, that is until the destruction of the underlying inhabited area of Anterisio, in the mid-thirteenth century, by the Asti people. Around the church, and partly on the site where the adjacent rectory house stands, there was a cemetery remained in use until the destruction of Anterisio. Left in oblivion for centuries, the church was rebuilt in 1729 in today’s forms by the inhabitants of the area.