Welcome To Cuneo
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy
Population: 51,784 (2003)
The small city of Cuneo is the capital of its
namesake Province. It sits in the bottom
lands of the Valle Stura, at the
confluence two rivers, the Gesso and the
Stura di Demonte, both of which flow down
from the Maritime Alps on Italy's north
western border with France. The shape of the
land where the two rivers meet is in the shape
of a "V", and hence the name Cuneo, which means
"wedge" in Italian.
Cuneo was developed primarily in the 12th
Century, relatively late compared to other
Italian cities. It was originally
encircled with massive walls and other
fortifications because of its strategic position
guarding the Tenda and Maddalena
passes into France.
Napoleon conquered the area
in 1797 and during his short reign over Italy,
he had the walls torn down.
Like Turin, the
capital of Piemonte
Region, Cuneo, is laid-out on a table of
land between the rivers, in a grid that features
wide streets and broad avenues with many large
piazzas. These streets and avenues are
lined with porticoed buildings, and overlooked
by the palazzos of the powerful and wealthy
artistocratics and merchants of a by-gone age.
The heart of Cuneo, is Piazza Galimberti,
built in the 19th century as part of the "new"
city. The square is quite empty most days,
but fills with the sounds of a large market
Along the length of its main avenues, via
Roma and corso Nizza and other
streets surrounding the Piazza are 8 kilometers
of arcades, fronting neo-classical and sometimes
medieval buildings. These arcades, with
porticoes and arches of different heights and
widths, give Cuneo a unique quality, and offer
protection from the weather: shade to summer
visitors and shelter from rain and snow in other
the old part of the city, the most imposing, and
beautiful architecture is that of the Chiesa
San Francesco, and an adjacent monastery,
both done in the
style. The church houses the Museo Civico,
the city museum, known for its display of
ancient artifacts from the city and province,
but also a wide collection of ethnic costumes.
Another historical building worth seeing is the
17th century Palazzo Audifreddi.
Follow the contrada Mondovi into the
medieval section of the old town, full of
interesting old shops, cafes and restaurants.
A 17th century synagogue marks what used to be
the Jewish ghetto.
the new town the churches, including the Duomo,
which was built on the foundations of an
earlier, ancient church, are done more in the
style. The other Baroque churches include
St. Ambrogio, St. Mary, St. Cross and St. Clear.
The city hall - or Palazzo di Citta - was
built during the waning years of the Renaissance
and has Renaissance elements veering into the
far more ornamented Baroque style.
Overlooking the city hall is a clock tower
- the torre civica - which was built in
the 13th century.
like to recommend visits to Italy in the spring
or fall because it is less crowded and
temperatures are more moderate. But, Cuneo
is in the north, by the mountains and enjoys
moderate temperatures even in the summer time.
Still, one of Cuneo's major festivals, the
Fiera delle Castagne (Chestnut fair) which
is in September.
Cuneo is also used by many as their "base camp"
for excursions into the mountains where they can
enjoy a wide variety of alpine activities such
as hiking, rock climbing, mountain climbing,
mountain biking and, of course, skiing. To
the south of Cueno on the SS74, the ancient
hamlet of Limone Piemonte, between two
national parks, has evolved as a world class ski
Cuneo Province is the largest of the Piemontese
provinces - known there as the Provincia Granda.
The economy, apart from tourism, is based in
agriculture, food production and packaging, some
metallurgy, paper, rubber, and engineering
Vian Andrews November 19th, 2005
Region of Piemonte
By Car: From Torino, south on the
A6 to the SS17, west to Cuneo, about 96
km (60 miles); From Genoa, east to
Savona on the A10; north to
Fossano on the A6, then east to Cuneo on
the SS231, about 140 km (86.25 mi).
By Air: Torino or Genoa
Train or Bus: Torino or Genoa.
Cuneo Coat of Arms
Street in Cuneo