(Asti) Piedmont, Italy.
About 48 km
SE of Turin and in antiquity a colony in the Augustan
Regio IX. Like other colonies enrolled in the tribus
Pollia, it is believed to have been founded prior to the
social war. Cited in the itineraries, mentioned by Varro,
Pliny, Ptolemy, Claudian, and Cassiodorus, the city was
famous along with Pollentia in the Imperial period for
its ceramic ware. Developing at a crossroads (the Via
Fulvia, from Augusta Taurinorum through Carreo Potentia to Dertona, and the road through Alba-Pollentia),
the city was a fortified center with a regular urban plan.
The walls, which have disappeared, had a rectangular
perimeter and must have extended as far as Piazza San
Secondo to the E and Piazza Santa Caterina to the W,
Piazza San Giuseppe to the S and Via Testa to the N.
At the entrance to the road to Turin, there remains a
Roman tower with brick facing. It is today attached to
the Church of Santa Caterina but originally belonged to
a city gate. Other elements of the fortification system,
every trace of which has been lost, are traditionally mentioned under the names of Castello dei Varroni, Castrum
Vetus, and Castelletto. Corso Alfieri still represents, as
it moves from E to W, the ancient decumanus maximus,
crossed at a right angle by the cardo (the axis of Via
Balbo - Via Tribunale) at the top of the forum (the
modern Piazza Roma). The destruction suffered by the
city in 480 during the Burgundian invasions explains the
loss of records regarding the most important public buildings. There is no documentation for the remains of
buildings and of streets which have been uncovered in
the past in the course of excavations. The existence of a
temple, perhaps the Capitolium, may be supposed in the
area of the modern Cathedral, where Corinthian capitals
seem to have been reused. However, the cemeteries are
known to have lined the major arteries of communication. In the most extensive, outside the Porta Santa Caterina and about 300 m from the city walls, have been
discovered rich objects in glass, bronzes, and vases, which
are today in the museum at Turin. Numerous inscriptions, for the most part funerary, have been preserved
along with other finds in the Museo Archeologico Comunale at Asti.
. 11.15; Plin. 3.49
3.1.45; Claud. Cons. Hon
. 202; Cassiod. Var
. 11.15; Tab.
V, 7555ff; G. Fantaguzzi, Ritrovamenti van ad
, N.S. (1881) 150; (1882) 124; (1884) 136; F. Gabiani, Asti nei suoi principali ricordi storici
Barocelli, Dalla capanna neolitica ai monumenti di Augusto
(1933) III, p. 24.