Bra, Province of Cuneo, Piedmont, Italy
Situated midway between Cuneo and Turin, Bra lies at the edge of the Langhe hills, near the Tanaro river, and is the third most populous commune in the province, one of the main centers of the Piedmontese Baroque style with its many churches and palaces of the 17th and 18th century, and also in the heart of the so-called food valley, and the seat of a University of Gastronomic Science.
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- Altitude: 285 m a.s.l
- Population: about 30,000 inhabitants
- Zip/postal code: 12042
- Phone Area Code: 0172
- Patron Saint: Madonna dei Fiori, celebrated on 8 September
- Frazioni & Localities: Bandito, Ca' del Bosco, Pollenzo, Riva, San Matteo, San Michele.
- Official website of the Comune of Bra.
In Roman times the main center of the area was Pollentia, founded in the 2nd century BC, a strategic town connecting Piedmont to Liguria. 5 km from Bra in 402 AD general Stilicho, the son of a Vandal who had married the daughter of Emperor Theodosius, led the Romans to victory against the Goths. In later centuries the population moved from the plain, where Pollentia was located, to higher ground and founded Bra on the plateau, naming it at first Brayda (probably derived from Praedium). In the 12th century it was a fiefdom of Asti, and shared its history. In 1552 Emanuele Filiberto Savoy sieged and destroyed the castle, and in 1559 Bra became part of the Savoy Duchy, which started a flourishing period for trade, art, culture.
What to see
- Near the frazione of Pollenzo, the ruins of ancientPollentia, where a famous battle between the Goths and Romans was fought, and where Carlo Alberto Savoy built his castle.
- The baroque church of Sant'Andea, dated 1682
- The church of Santa Chiara, with a rococo facade designed by Bernardo Antonio Vittone in 1748
- In May, since 1990, a cycling competition included in the Coppa Piemonte, starting and arivng in the center of Bra, a 161km itinerary around castles and vineyards.
- Usually in the end of May, "Propugnacolae italiae", a re-enactement of the historical battle of 402 AD, with costume characters dressed as gladiators, Roman soldiers, Vestal Virgins (Roman priestesses).