Palio race

Palio di Asti and Alba Truffle Fair Tours.

Villetta Sampaguita is located in the Roero Wine area, part of the UNESCO heritage Piedmontese wine country, and with views of the Alps and the Monferrato and Langhe wine areas. We are halfway between Asti and Alba.

Your proprietors, Tim and Rina, after almost 20 years of operating an agriturismo and small winery in Piedmont, have moved to a charming house overlooking the historic castle of Govone, with two elegantly decorated boutique apartments for short- or long-term rental.


We have been doing an Asti Palio package tour for years. The one week tour includes accommodation at our apartments and day tours of the Piedmont wine country including Barolo and Barbaresco, UNESCO Christian heritage sites in the Monferrato, a day in Turin, a Piedmontese cooking class and guided tours of Govone Castle, Alba and Asti as well as centre stand seats for the Palio.

According to history, in 1273 the young hot-bloods of Asti rode to the nearby city of Alba on a weekend to raise hell; such was the bad blood between the two rival medieval republics – maybe stirred by the bard Giovanni Elton’s verse “Saturday night’s alright for fighting”! The Albesi locked the gates of the city and hurled insults and arrows from the walls, so the Astigiane staged a bareback horse race around the city through the ripening vineyards, tough about the spoilt grapes, and rode home.

palio ceremony


In the following years they decided it was too far to ride to Alba and pick arrows out of their tender parts, so the race was enacted in the streets of Asti, making the Palio di Asti the oldest running Palio in Italy. Fast forward 800 years and today’s Palio is a grand spectacle held on the first Sunday of September in the Piazza Alfieri, a triangular course with plenty of thrills and spills. The 3 heats and final race are preceded by a parade of all the participating boroughs and districts in medieval costume, complete with drummer girls and flag throwers. The Palio di Asti kicks off a week of celebrations and the big Douja d’Or wine festival with up to 500 Piedmontese and other Italian wines available for tasting.

Palio race


And Alba? They were banned from entering Asti’s Palio, so in revenge they hold a mock Palio on donkeys every year on the first Sunday in October, also preceded by a picturesque medieval parade. It’s not serious like its rival; in fact, it’s a hoot. This event opens the world-famous Alba Truffle Fair now in its 81st year, a magnet for gourmets from all over the world. Piedmont’s central wine hills have the reputation for the finest white truffles in the world.

Truffle tasting


In 2020 we are also offering an additional Alba Truffle Fair and Donkey Palio tour which includes the same wine and cultural tours plus a truffle hunt and cooking class, entrance to the truffle fair and center stand seats for the donkey Palio.

Digging for truffles


We can accommodate up to 4 couples, early booking is advised. 

Villetta Sampaguita Palio di Asti Tour. August 31 – September 7th.

Website: /Live/AstiPalio.cfm

Villetta Sampaguita Alba Truffle Fair and Donkey Palio Tour. September 28 – October 5th.

Website: /Live/AlbaTruffle.cfm   

We can also offer tailored tours for small groups self-drive or with a car and driver on request. Please visit our website for more information about the area, the apartment rentals, tours cooking classes etc.

Palio environes


Tel: +39 338 467 9331

Email: [email protected]

Mailing address: Via San Pietro 31, Govone (CN), 12040, Italy.

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By andy / Administrator, bbp_keymaster

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on Feb 14, 2020