Where the "Bollente" spring is born
In the previous post we took you to discover the Acquese hills. Today we bring ourselves to the center of this territory talking about the capital: Acqui Terme, also known as «La Bollente».
Acqui Terme is located on the left bank of the Bormida River, not far from the south-eastern border between Piedmont and Liguria, in the heart of the Alto Monferrato. In ancient times it was a possession of the Liguri Statielli, a population of probable Celtic origins. When the Romans conquered it, in 172 BC, they gave it a new name, from which the thermal vocation that the city would have had throughout its history already transpired: Aquae Statiellae.
Acqui was born as a city of conquest, a strategic center on the main communication routes between the plain and the sea. The famous Via Aemilia Scauri passed from Acqui, a road commissioned by the censor Marco Emilio Scauro in 109 BC. to connect Tortona to Vado Ligure, without having to go through Lunigiana, at the time a huge and impassable coastal swamp. But it was also born as an important spa center, a place blessed by the outcrop of warm waters and clear springs coming from the Apennine subsoil. The Latins, profound lovers of "public baths", did not take long to exploit the geothermal power of Acqui. They harnessed its hot spring, which flowed right in the center of the town (the famous "Bollente") and made it flow together with the cool waters of the Erro in a large thermal complex of the imperial age. Even today, just outside the town, you can admire the aqueduct built by the Romans in the first century BC, an extraordinary hydraulic work that led to the city the waters of the Erro stream. Among the Roman remains, the site of the Roman swimming pool which was used as a calidarium (a kind of Turkish bath), which emerged from the excavations in Corso Bagni, not far from Piazza Italia, deserves too.
Although the barbarian invasions overshadowed Acqui's spa fame, it was certainly not forgotten. It flourished in the Middle Ages and, among mixed fortunes, it reached us. Today it is possible to visit the thermal baths of Acqui in two distinct areas, on the opposite banks of the Bormida river. To the right of the Bormida rise the Antiche Terme, of seventeenth-century origin, today inside the Regina establishment. The others, called Nuove Terme, are fed directly by the Bollente and are located on the left of the river, in a late 19th century complex (the Spa Lago delle Sorgenti).
Acqui was an important spa center since Roman times,
renowned for its warm and sulphurous waters as well as for the fresh and crystalline ones, born from the Apennines
THE MEDIEVAL CENTER
The fame of Acqui is therefore linked to its source, "la Bollente", which flows in the historic center of the city at a temperature above 70 ° C and has the typical smell of sulphurous waters. An octagonal aedicule in marble was built around the source, dating back to 1870. Narrow and steep streets branch off from Piazza della Bollente that outline the so-called Borgo Pisterna, a medieval nucleus sloping down on the hill overlooking Acqui. A visit to the village should include the Castello dei Paleologhi, originally from the 11th century, now home to the Civic Archaeological Museum, rich in evidence related to the Roman period.
Going down to the lower town, you will find the Cathedral of Acqui, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. The building is very old, dating back to the 11th century, and its consecration is due to Bishop Guido, the patron saint of the city. Another important religious building is the Basilica of St. Peter, located in Piazza dell’Addolorata. Of early Christian origins, it was rebuilt in a splendid Romanesque style between the 10th and 11th centuries.
Among the other buildings of historical interest there are the Bishop's Palace, with its beautiful Renaissance forms, the Palazzo del Comune and the ancient Hospital of Santa Maria Maggiore, but the beauty of the historic center of Acqui is getting lost in its winding streets and sunny squares. , where the elegance of the Piedmontese palaces exudes a glorious Roman past, very ancient yet still perceptible.
The visit of Acqui can end at Villa Ottolenghi, just north of the town. A sumptuous 1920s mansion in which the clients, Arturo B. Ottolenghi and Herta Von Wedekind, merged architecture, sculpture and painting of the first European avant-gardes, creating a total work of art that today is a luxury resort, and a prestigious one location for events.
The famous thermal spring of Acqui Terme, the "Bollente"
THE WINE OF ACQUI TERME
A visit to Acqui Terme can only be accompanied by its most famous wine: Brachetto d’Acqui Docg. Duchessa Lia produces it from Brachetto grapes grown on the hills around the Bollente. Brilliant ruby red color, unmistakable aromatic profile and a very delicate bubble given by the sparkling process. Brachetto d’Acqui Docg Duchessa Lia is fine, elegant, pleasantly sugary, never cloying. On the hottest days, our advice is to drink it very cool, or mix it with fruit juices to obtain fragrant and thirst-quenching drinks.
DISCOVER OUR BRACHETTO D'ACQUI DOCG AND ITS PAIRINGS