Crypt and Museum of Sant'Anastasio
The complex of Sant'Anastasio is one of the jewels of Asti. Visiting it literally means immersing yourself in the most ancient history of the city. In this suggestive underground space you can still see the remains of the Romanesque church dedicated to Sant'Anastasio, which starting from the year 1000 became the seat of an important female monastery. An 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 eras.
Apart from a few exceptions, the capitals displayed in the long corridor belong to the most monumental phase of the church, that of the beginning of 1100 AD. After its foundation around the year 1000, the monastery of Sant'Anastasio had in fact gradually taken on a spiritual role but also increasingly important economically (thanks to its vast land holdings): this had led to the need to renovate the structure, expanding its surface area and improving its decorative features. Of note is the variety of subjects carved on the capitals: figurative scenes, angels, crosses, but also spirals and plant motifs. Including a bunch of grapes. The church which was built shortly after 1100 AD had three naves. The system of cross vaults must have been of great impact, which rested on quadrangular masonry pillars or on supports made up of four semi-columns. Most of the capitals displayed in the museum corridor must have decorated this system of columns. The church was also equipped with a square bell tower, of which however only the foundations remain.
Among the many archaeological remains on the site, the columns of the Romanesque church from around 1100 AD can still be recognized quite easily today: look for their curved bases. 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 display of various stone finds, discovered through excavations and research in different points 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.