Last update 27 November 2018
The hills of Vinchio are “medium geological formations” of the Ligurian - Piedmontese tertiary basin, rich in sands, marls and fossil deposits, emerged from the ancient ocean of the Tethys in the Piedmont Pliocene (7 million years ago) and now home of vineyards and woods.
Man makes his appearance on the lands in the Neolithic (5-6 thousand years BC). In Vinchio on the hill Bricco dei Saraceni, a lithic ax has been found (now preserved in the Antiquities Museum of Turin) probably belonging to the Celto - Ligurian tribes.
The same people that Tacitus, telling about Roman occupation of Acqui Terme, will call Stazielli.
They were already devoted to farming and cultivation of the vine.
The Roman conquerors traced in the area a dense network of roads that, in addition to bringing in the Gallia, connected the centers of Tortona, Acqui Terme, Asti and Alba.
VIGINTI was the ancient name, derivating from the distance of 20 roman miles, the distance between Vinchio and Alba.
CENTURY AFTER CENTURY
The first news about Vinchio is dated back to 935 AD, when Aleramo, Count of Acqui Terme, defeated the Saracens on the homonymous hill, dropping them forever from the Monferrato.
The hypothesis is supported by A. Muratori and by De Canis (the origin of the name Vinchio from the word "Vinci", “win”, a victory against the Saracens).
The oldest document that recall the town of Vinchio is dated 948 AD, when the son of Count Alberto from Asti granted, in exchange for possessions in Agliano Terme, the Basilica Santi Pancrati in Castro Vinci and some land belonging to our Castle, to the Longobard Bishop of Asti BRUSNENGO.
In a document dated 1125 AD Vinchio, togheter with Mombercelli and other castles of the Val Tiglione valley, appears in the COMITATO DI LORETO (Costigliole) governed by Bonifacio del Vasto, Marquis of the Aleramica dynasty.
After a century of struggle, the lands of the Committee return to Asti even if the Pievi (churches) will remain at the bishop's curia of Pavia, as confirmed by the documents of Pope Innocent III (1216) and Honorius III (1217).
From the rich documentation of the “Codex Astensis”, Vinchio results to all effects a town, a municipaly, a powerful frontier land contended between Asti and Alessandria, with its Consuls and Lords: MANFREDUS MONACUS, VITALIS DE VIGINTI, ROGERIUS DE VIGINTI TRAVERSAGNI. These men have possessions in Castelnuovo Calcea, Cortiglione and Vaglio Serra.
In 1313 the Castle was occupied by the Solaro family (belong to the Guelfi) who in the following year rushed to the aid of the inhabitants attacked, at the Bastita, by the hordes of BASTARDO DI CASTELNUOVO. This last one was captured by Passerino della Torre, imprisoned in Asti and executed.
When the Solaro family fell into disgrace in 1329, the noble Ghibelline from Asti, Antonio Scarampi, obtained the investiture from the Emperor Ludovico Il Bavaro of the territories of Montaldo, Vinchio and Mombercelli, where in 1318 he had already acquired estates. Vinchio will belong to the third dinasty of Antonio's family in the following centuries.
As a matter of fact Tommaso Scarampi marries Anna del Carretto, who brings the fund of Prunetto as a dowry and gives rise to the dynasty of Scarampi - Pruney.
This family, originally Ghibelline, will give to the Church in the following centuries different prelates: the bishops of Compiègne (France), of Acqui Terme, of Como and of Naples.
Politically, culturally and economically, Vinchio, together with the Municipalities of Mombercelli, Castelnuovo Calcea, Belveglio, Rocca d'Arazzo and Rocchetta Tanaro had for three consecutive centuries a separate history, compared to the other municipalities of Asti and Monferrato.
In fact, on January 27th, 1387 the marriage contract between Valentina, daughter of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, and Luigi d'Orleans was drafted in Paris.
The bride brought also the land of Asti (all listed in the contract) except Vinchio, Mombercelli, Castelnuovo Calcea, Belveglio, Rocca d'Arazzo and Rocchetta Tanaro who remained "Domain of Milan" under the name of FEUDI IMPERIALI, lands of the Emperor (Charles V of Spain and his successors and then the Hapsburg Emperors).
Thus the destinies of these six lands are divided for three centuries by the remaining lands of Asti, which have known the Sabaudo domination since the 16th century.
These lands, in addition to paying Spanish protection, were often victims of looting by the Savoy troops. In 1635 the bandit Stefano Re, in the name of the Duke Vittorio Amedeo, plundered Vinchio and Mombercelli, put on fire Castelnuovo Calcea (since then called Castelnuovo Bruciato) and for those people who sided with the Spaniards, it was a real massacre.
On November 7th 1654 the French spent the winter in Rocchetta, in Belveglio and occupied Vinchio, returning each year until 1658. From this the proverb, also reported by Brofferio "CH'A SIA FRANSA CH'A SIA SPAGNA A L'E 'SEMPR L 'ISTESA BAGNA ", it doesn’t matter if it’s France or Spain, it’s the same thing!”
The dispute was composed in 1736 with the Vienna treaty that saw the Hapsburg surrender the so-called "Feudi Imperiali" to the constituting Kingdom of Sardinia.
Vinchio became part of the Department of Alessandria, District (or Province) of Asti, Cantone (or Mandamento) of Mombercelli. In 1802 Asti became the capital of the Tanaro Department (which also includes Vinchio), but only until 1806, when Napoleone Bonaparte suppressed it by aggregating its lands to the Department of Marengo (Alessandria), which then took on the name of the Province.
Only in 1936 Benito Mussolini drew on the map of Piedmont the famous "bunch of grapes" on the territories of Cuneo and Alessandria, giving rise to the Province of Asti of which Vinchio became part of.
After September 8th, 1943 Vinchio actively participates to the Liberation action and is also the headquarter of a group, leaded by the VIII Garibaldi Division, commander of Venice called Ulisse (Davide Lajolo). He coordinates military operations to stem the German-Fascist offensives between Asti and Alessandria and participates in the Popular Government Council of the Republic of Lower Monferrato ( proclaimed in Agliano Terme on November 5th, 1944 ), including 40 free Municipalities on the southern bank of the Tanaro river.