Crypt and Museum of Sant'Anastasio
The Sant'Anastasio complex is one of the jewels of Asti. Visiting it literally means immersing yourself in the oldest history of the city. In this suggestive underground space you can still see the remains of the Romanesque church dedicated to Sant'Anastasio, which from the year 1000 became the seat of an important female monastery. Unmissable place is undoubtedly the crypt, but the real wonder is being able to interpret the traces of time that intertwine in this site, and which have their roots in the Lombard and even Roman times.Apart from a few exceptions, the capitals exhibited in the long corridor belong to the most monumental phase of the church, i.e. that of the early 1100 AD.After its foundation around the year 1000, the monastery of Sant'Anastasio had in fact gradually assumed a spiritual role but also increasingly important economic (thanks to its vast land holdings): this had led to the need to renew the structure, expanding its surface and improving its decorative elements. Note the variety of subjects carved on the capitals: figurative scenes, angels, crosses, but also spirals and plant motifs. A bunch of grapes included. The church which was built shortly after 1100 AD had three naves. Of great impact must have been the system of cross vaults, which rested on quadrangular masonry pillars or on supports formed by four semi-columns. Most of the capitals exhibited in the museum corridor were to decorate this system of columns. The church also had a square bell tower, of which only the foundations remain. Among the many archaeological remains of the site, the columns of the Romanesque church from around 1100 AD can still be recognized quite easily today: look for their bases with a curved profile. Also look at the wall under the columns: the part built with river pebbles is part of the foundations. The walls of the church were instead built with an alternation of terracotta and sandstone, according to the typical style used at the time in the Asti area. An entire room of the museum is dedicated to the exhibition of various stone finds, found through excavations and researches in different parts of the city. Among all, the coats of arms of the noble families of Asti and the architectural decorations stand out, as well as the splendid fragment of a multi-headed fountain.