The name Sommariva derives from the Latin Summaripae, which seems to be the contraction of ad summa ripae (at the top of the shore, of the hill). The “Pin” could be a contraction of Paternum, a very frequent name in bequests and testaments, but many historians are uncertain about the name. According to others, the name derives from the Celtic pad-ern (hermitage of the pines)
The Roero Forest Park, which is located in its territory, is proof of this. The town is characterized by a concentric (villa), which, grouped around the Mirafiori Castle and the parish and San Bernardino churches, then slopes down towards the plateau in the direction of Turin, where the conformation of the landscape changes, leaving room for the woods of the “red lands”.
The territory of Sommariva acquires great interest in Roman times, due to the presence of a strata that led from Alba to the Po plain. Some settlements had formed along the way: one of these, Paernum, is mentioned in the current appellation. In medieval times, a nucleus was formed at the edge of the climb (ad summamripae), which, over time, gave the town its name. The domains of Summaripa, mentioned since 1164, thanks to the strategic position of their possessions, acquire a prominent role in the whole area. In 1282 the Isnardi family appeared in Sommariva, to whom Asti assigns a share of fiefdom together with the castle. Later, in 1313, Sommariva was assigned to Filippo d’Acaja.
At the end of the 14th century the Roero family also took part in the lordship of Sommariva, who, at the beginning of the 17th century with Conreno Roero, owned the entire fiefdom. After his death in 1623, Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy took over, who built the fiefdom in the Marquisate. In the 19th century Vittorio Emanuele II bought the castle and possessions to donate them to Rosa Vercellana (the Bela Rosin). countess of Mirafiori and morganatic wife of the King.
WHAT TO SEE
– CASTLE (private)
It has been mentioned since 1153, when Pope Eugene III introduced it to the powerful “domains of Summaripa”. For a long time possession of the Isnardi and then of Conreno Roero, it gradually lost the character of a stronghold to assume that of a noble residence. Renovated and enlarged by the Carron of St-Thomas who bought it from Don Felice di Savoia, it arrives in 1857 to King Vittorio Emanuele II, who transforms it into a hunting lodge and home of the morganatic wife Rosa Vercellana, countess of Mirafiori, popularly known as the “Bela Rosin”. Inside there are rooms with hunting trophies, flags and Risorgimento relics. It is currently owned by the Marquis Gromis of Trana and is not open to the public.
– ARCH OF VITTORIO EMANUELE II
It is the door that leads to the historic centre, from the southeast. The crenelated and clearly neo-Gothic construction testifies to the “great history” that affected SommarivaPerno in the 19th century. In fact, it shows the plaque with which the Sommarivesi wanted to thank, in 1888, Vittorio Emanuele II, the “gentleman King”, who, starting from this corner of the Roero for the III War of Independence, would have exclaimed “Here I will return when I have returned independent Italy and one ”.
– PARISH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
In the historic centre, it was built between 1669 and 1675. In composite styles and externally square, inside it has a Greek cross with three naves; the facade is completely frescoed with the “trompe l’oeil” effect; the interior is also frescoed with interesting perspective effects on the vault and walls. Inside there is a splendid wooden choir, fine stuccos from 1780-82, an original Way of the Cross and an interesting cycle of Baroque frescoes. In addition, it preserves numerous important artistic testimonies: the beautiful altarpiece depicting the Descent of the Holy Spirit, to which the Parish Church is dedicated, attributed to a Piedmontese painter of the century. XVII; a Madonna and Child, an 18th century wooden statue; a large canvas by Bartolomeo Caravoglia from 1674, the Guardian Angel; a Saint Joseph, Saint Francis of Assisi and a young girl with symbols, attributed to Pietro Paolo Operti.
– SAN BERNARDINO
Seat of the ConfraternitadeiDisciplinanti, it was built in Baroque style in 1768. Completely restored by the Municipality in 1995, it has an octagonal plan and a vaulted ceiling with frescoes. The baroque portal is splendid, inlaid. The altarpiece of the main altar (Madonna and Child, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and San Bernardino of Siena) is attributed to a Piedmontese painter of the second half of the century. XVIII and two paintings attributed to the Braidese painter Pietro Paolo Operti. Today the church is used as a cultural centre.
– PARISH OF SAN GIUSEPPE
Construction date unknown; in 1742 the church is mentioned in the report for a pastoral visit. In 1748 the building was partially renovated and extended. Behind the high altar there is a small choir. In 2000 it underwent an important total recovery intervention of the original frescoes and the facade.
– CHURCH OF VALLE ROSSI
At the centre of the hamlet of Valle Rossi, the Church contains a masterpiece of Piedmontese art: the “Pietà” by Martino Spanzotti (ca 1456-1528), the best known and most precious “piece” that SommarivaPerno can boast of and which up to early 60s it was kept in the Sanctuary of Tavoletto.
– THE SANCTUARY OF THE TABLE
Secluded building located on the top of a hill not far from the concentric. Of remote tradition and largely rebuilt in the seventeenth century, the Sanctuary of Tavoletto has been recently restored, and with its sober and severe lines, it still preserves intact the charm and mystery of a place of profound religiosity that has always had over the centuries.
– ROERO FOREST PARK
At 3 km from the town, a huge “green
lung” of tens of hectares awaits those who love nature, old trees, walks
along the banks of two lakes, the discoveries of an undergrowth rich in floral
essences, the “encounters” with forest animals, a dimension of life
that is increasingly rare to find in the city. The Roero Forest Park, equipped
with areas equipped for picnics, and a splendid playground for children, is
easily accessible from the town by bicycle (20 minutes) or on foot (90 minutes
walk all on dirt road, immersed in the green of chestnut groves and woods).