Church of Santa Maria Nuova
Among the oldest churches in Asti
Rebuilt in the 14th century on the foundations of a previous Romanesque temple
In the past it was an abbey that hosted first the Augustinians and then the Lateran friars
Piazza Santa Maria Nuova
Overlooking Corso Alfieri, the church stands in the east of the city, in the square of the same name that houses the statue of Federico Cotti di Ceres, descendant of an illustrious local family from Asti. The name "nuova" (new) was added to the name of the church to distinguish it from the older Cathedral, also dedicated to the Madonna and from the Chiesa di S. Maria (Church of St Mary).
An Interior to be Discovered
The simple appearance of the facade hides an interior with splendid green cross vaults, ribbed like an ogive. The plan of the church has a single nave and ends in a polygonal apse and six side chapels. The large rectangular windows were redesigned in the eighteenth century, a period in which the upper part of the Romanesque bell tower was also rebuilt. The cloister attached to the church of the Augustinian Canons dates back to 1591.
The Artistic Heritage
The interior of the church owes its modern appearance to the baroque and nineteenth-century renovations, which nevertheless retained the precious wooden furnishings of the sixteenth century and the altarpiece by Gandolfino di Roreto, which stands out at the end of the apse and depicts the Madonna enthroned with saints and the resurgent Christ. The central lectern is even older, the only example in Piedmont of French influence.
Another panel by Gandolfino, "La Natività" (The Nativity), can be admired at the baptismal font.
One of the side chapels contains an icon by the Asti painter Carlo Carosso depicting the Madonna del Grifone, donated by the Committee of the Borgo Santa Maria Nuova for the Asti Palio race, which is exhibited on the presbytery in September, in the days preceding the race, for the rite of blessing the horse and the jockey.