Ferrere Town Hall
• State: Italy
• Region: Piedmont
• Province: Asti
• Coordinates: Lat. 44° 52' 33'' N | Long. 7° 59' 39'' E
• Altitude: 268 meters above sea level
• Surface area: 13.93 km²
• Neighboring municipalities: Cantarana, Cisterna d'Asti, Montà (province of Cuneo), San Damiano d'Asti, Valfenera
• Postcode: 14012
• Dialing code: 0141
• ISTAT code: 005053
• Land registry code: D554
• Seismic classification: zone 4 (very low seismicity)
• Climatic classification: zone E, 2707 heating degree days
• Name of inhabitants: ferreresi
• Patron saint: S. Agostino | August 28th
• Distance from Asti: 20 km
It is not known whether Ferrere (Frere in Piedmontese) existed already in Roman times, certainly it was not an area of passage of the same as there are no roads or other ruins dating back to this period, certainly its name (then Ferraria) appears officially for the first time in a document of 1034 that indicates it belonging to the count of Pombia (province of Novara); nor is the true origin of the name known.
Even more certain are the documents that, in the year 1100, indicate the assignment by the Bishop of Asti, of Ferrere to the noble family of the Garrettis, who became Lords of Ferrere.
For several centuries the fiefdom was owned by the Garretti Lords who built a first castle, then semi-destroyed and rebuilt further up: the Castelvecchio so called from the beginning.
During the Garretti period, the town underwent considerable transformations due to several factors: fires (1155 by Federico Barbarossa -1555 by the French) and devastation due to the many wars of the Middle Ages; however, there were a series of events, all of which occurred in 1630, which determined the current appearance of the town, spread over several hills.
In that year, in fact, Ferrere suffered like so many other municipalities in the district, due to the Spanish rule in Italy, the invasion of the French and a long war; in the same year 1630, due to heavy rains, a disastrous flood flooded the whole valley and, still in the same year, the population was decimated by that terrible plague that hit all of northern Italy.
Because of these calamities, many inhabitants moved to the surrounding hills, considering them to be safer places, and almost all settled there permanently. In this way the village was dismembered (and forever!) And, after each small village was built a church on its own, there arose a remarkable parochialism that still resists, especially in the older population. Even the parish church, dedicated to S. Secondo, was rebuilt after the flood, upstream of the Castelvecchio was inaugurated in 1642 and is still the Parish Church of Ferrere.
The counts Garretti remained family lady of Ferrere until the year 1851 (therefore for 750 years). Between 1780 and 1785, the counts built on the same hill of the parish church and upstream of it a large villa, shaped like a castle but without fortifications, which was called Castelrosso, perhaps because it was painted externally in red. The Castelrosso was bought by the Parish in 1956 and is still owned by the same that used it, after the construction of another impressive building, a nursing home for the elderly is now mostly unused, if not for some ceremony.
In 1851 the Garretti Counts ceded all the properties to the Gromis counts of Trana who, in 1910, ceded everything to Emanuele Montalcini, paternal uncle of the Nobel Prize Rita Levi Montalcini who, despite being born in Turin, spent a good part of his youth in the village, guest of the uncle.
Within a few years Emanuele Montalcini ceded his properties to the Ferreresi who requested it, after having divided them into small lots, granting innumerable payment facilities. Prof. Montalcini kept for himself only the Castelrosso and its immediate adjacency.