This country has ancient origins, as witnessed the numerous documents found among some precious headstones along the important “via magistra Langarum”. Some state that the name comes from a Roman legionary whose name was Castino. Others say, as proves a tombstone, that its name comes from “Castrum Stattiellorum” (others again think the right etymology derives from the Latin “Castaneum” which means chestnut, due to the high presence of these plants). The origins of the village are connected to the Ligurian populations.
In the Middle Ages, Castino belonged of the marquis of Savona, then to the marquis of Ceva and Valperga. It was contended by Frenches and Spanish and he became property of the Savoy after the victory of Emanuele Filiberto. During 1600 the castle was damaged by the Spanish. The ruins of the building, damaged during the wars of XVII century, changed owners many times: from the Del Carretto, then Guttuari, to Appiani, to Valperga, to Occelli, to the Oreglia di Novello and then to the Biandrate di San Giorgio. A nice baroque pulpit is in church of Santa Margherita, restored after the earthquake of 1887. The Benedictine church of Vergine delle Grazie is a national monument, it is located in regione San Martino, it has still the façade and two lateral altars; it was part of an ancient monastery , where rich people of the Langhe sent their young daughters to be educated and to take the vows. The nunnery closed under the lead of the Frenches in 1802 and the monastery sold as a national heritage estimated in the Piedmont value of ‘300 giornate’ (1 giornata = 0,381 hectares) .
Castino economy is mainly agricultural and is based on cereal production and viticulture. Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba D.O.C. are produced with local grapes and Moscato d’Asti in D.O.C.
The history of Castino enumerates three monasteries. The one dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie which is on the hill in front of the village, between the green of the woods and on the streets towards Alba. The one of San Martino is in the middle of fertile plans nearby Castino and the last one, simply called “il Monastero”, built in 1600, was the one where the women of the Del Carreto family were sent to take the vows. It tells that “the nuns of Castino possessed many lands, spread among the current località Case Nuove, Fontane, Scavini, Girone, Pozzo, Valle, San Rocco and Roviglione in the Belbo valley”. The wellness of the monastery is visible from the buildings (partly restored), which are in contrast with the rural and humble houses around it. The Benedictine nuns left the monastery on 22nd September 1802, due to the Napoleonic laws about the suppression of the religious orders. Today the building is private.
The historical centre
The historical centre of Castino, from the Middle Ages, has preserved the ancient paved quarters
in stone and a washhouse, that is working still today. In the historical center there is also the Castle with a square tower.