Discover with me the best of Acqui Terme to visit: an extraordinary mix of spa wellness, culture and nature.
Acqui Terme is a pearl set in the heart of Piedmont, in Alto Monferrato, in the province of Alessandria. This city is a real jewel: I will now take you on a discovery of its wonders.
It is a magical place, renowned for its thermal waters, its thousand-year history, the natural beauty of the surrounding hills, elegant historic buildings, and an envy-inducing culinary tradition. This town is a very livable and welcoming place that embodies the spirit of slow tourism, offering spa wellness and authentic local flavors.
The city is strategically located near other important locations in the Langhe and Monferrato, both of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Acqui Terme is inhabited by a warm and hospitable community and is the ideal place for a trip, weekend getaway or vacation in Piedmont.
But what makes Acqui Terme so special? First of all, the town is famous for its thermal waters, which have a very ancient history. The first settlements date back to the Neolithic period, but the engaging history begins in Roman times. In fact, this Monferrato town was among the most prominent spa destinations in the Roman world. These waters have attracted visitors for centuries, seeking wellness and relaxation. Today, the city is ready to join the project “The Lands of the Via Francigena”, to enhance the nature trails and make the city part of this important pilgrimage route.
As for historical curiosities, Acqui Terme has a foundation shrouded in legend. A local tradition says that in the city of Acqui there was a custom of quickly immersing newborns in the fountain of the Boiling: those who survived, according to popular legend, were called “sgaiento”, or scalded. The city is strategically located along the ancient salt routes, which connected Liguria to lower Piedmont, the Aosta Valley and even Switzerland.
The best season to visit Acqui Terme depends on personal preference. Spring and summer offer the mildest weather for exploring the town and experiencing its outdoor attractions, while autumn is perfect for savoring local products during food and wine festivals.
I invite you to follow me on a journey to discover what to see in and around Acqui Terme, an experience that will satisfy every taste and desire!
What to see in Acqui Terme?
To explore the historic center of Acqui Terme and admire its main attractions, I recommend planning a visit. The city is fairly compact, so you can move around on foot to discover its sights. Here is an itinerary that will take you through the main attractions:
1. Acqui Terme Castle and Botanical Garden
The Castle of Acqui Terme, also known as the Castle of the Paleologi, is a site of great historical and architectural interest from the 14th century. Inside, you will find the Archaeological Museum, which houses ancient artifacts and offers an in-depth view of the city’s history. The surrounding Botanical Garden is an oasis of tranquility, perfect for a relaxing stroll.
2. Roman Aqueduct
The Roman Aqueduct of Acqui Terme is an impressive vestige of ancient Rome. This extraordinary water supply system dates back to the first century A.D. and can be admired in the historic center. Enjoy a walk along the remaining stretch of this ancient aqueduct and admire its majesty.
3. “La Bollente” Square and Fountain
Bollente Square is the heart of Acqui Terme and is famous for its thermal fountain, known as “La Bollente”. Thermal water flows from this fountain at a constant temperature of 75.5°C and is the hottest thermal spring in Europe. It has been a gathering place for the local community and visitors for centuries. You can see the steam rising from the fountain, the atmosphere created is evocative. This place is a symbol of the city and a visit to it is a must.
4. Piazza Italia with Monumental Fountains and the Town Hall
Piazza Italia is another charming square in the historic center. Here you will find a scenic monumental fountain: the Fountain of Water Lilies, elongated in shape and divided into several basins. Walking through the streets you can find the municipal seat in the Lupi Palace (Palazzo del Comune).
5. Piazza Duomo with the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
The Piazza Duomo is the spiritual heart of Acqui Terme and is dominated by the majestic Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. This architectural masterpiece features an imposing facade and a richly decorated interior. Take time to explore this square and admire the beauty of the cathedral.
6. Civic Clock Tower
The Civic Clock Tower is a symbol of the town and offers a panoramic view of the town. An interesting curiosity is that this tower, also known as the “Boiling Tower”, rests on other houses and has no foundation of its own. It is an amazing piece of engineering and an impressive place from which to admire the surrounding panorama.
7. Corso Bagni with the Roman Pool
Corso Bagni is a historic street that was part of the city’s ancient thermal center. Here you will find the Roman Pool, an archaeological site that reveals the importance of the baths in Roman times. This place is a witness to the ancient bathing traditions of Acqui Terme and provides an interesting insight into the history of the place.
8. Terme di Acqui
The Terme di Acqui spa represents a modern and refined spa experience. This complex also includes a hotel, which offers visitors the opportunity to care for themselves with massages and other wellness services. The area surrounding the Terme di Acqui is characterized by beautiful Piedmont countryside, with green hills and vineyards. This provides a pleasant and relaxing environment for visitors.
9. Borgo Pisterna
Borgo Pisterna is the old part of the city, a place where it seems as if time has stood still. This historic village is characterized by narrow streets, traditional buildings and an authentic atmosphere. It is the ideal place for a quiet walk to discover the beauty of the past.
10. Robellini Palace
Palazzo Robellini is a building of historical and cultural significance. In this complex, you can find the Enoteca Regionale di Acqui “Terme e Vino”, where you can taste delicious local wines and learn about the richness of the area’s wine. In addition, the building hosts art exhibitions, providing an opportunity to explore the local art scene.
11. Roman Theater
The Roman Theater is another testimony to the historical importance of the citadel. This ancient theater is an archaeological site that reveals the presence of the Romans in the city. Although much of the theater is underground, you can admire some of its remains that give an idea of the grandeur and majesty of Roman times.
Remember to take time to stroll through the picturesque streets of Acqui Terme’s historic center, admiring the historic buildings, cafes, and stores. You will be immersed in a unique atmosphere where history, culture, and thermal waters come together in an unforgettable experience.
Visit Acqui Terme and its surroundings
For a tour around Acqui Terme, I recommend exploring some of the major towns in the area, each with its own unique charm:
- Alba: known as the “City of a Hundred Towers”, Alba is famous for truffles, Barolo and Barbaresco wine, and its charming historic center.
- Canelli: This town is famous for its sparkling wine cellars and the atmospheric underground atmosphere of the Underground Cathedrals.
- Gavi: it is renowned for Gavi DOCG wine and offers a picturesque old town with a well-preserved fort.
- Nizza Monferrato: This is a town with an elegant atmosphere, famous for its Barbera wine and surrounding hills.
- Ovada: this picturesque town is surrounded by greenery and offers a pleasant atmosphere for those seeking relaxation.
- Asti: known for Asti Spumante wine and the famous Palio races, Asti is a city rich in history and culture.
- Alessandria: a city with a rich historical heritage, including its renowned palaces.
- Casale Monferrato: this city offers architectural beauty that testifies to the rich era of the Baroque period.
- Morsasco Castle: this charming castle offers a medieval atmosphere and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
These locations offer a variety of experiences, from wine tastings to cultural and nature explorations.
What to do in Acqui Terme
In Acqui Terme, there are many activities to do, both for those seeking relaxation and for those who wish to explore and discover this fascinating city. Here is a list of what to do in Acqui Terme:
- Walks in City Parks: explore city parks such as Villa Ottolenghi Park, great places to relax or have a picnic.
- Discover the Art Treasures: Acqui Terme boasts many art treasures, including the Archaeological Museum and art exhibitions at Palazzo Robellini.
- Explore the Fountains: admire the city’s various fountains, such as the Fountain of Water Lilies and the famous “La Bollente” Fountain.
- Photograph Iconic Places: capture the beauty of Acqui Terme by photographing iconic places such as the Paleologi Castle and the Cathedral.
- Taste Local Food and Wine: have an aperitif or enjoy a meal in typical trattorias and restaurants, discovering the rich cuisine of Piedmont.
- Shopping in the Center: the downtown streets offer many opportunities for shopping, with stores selling local products, clothing and more.
- Local Craft Traditions: look for typical local craft products, such as textiles, ceramics, or wooden objects.
- Visit the Giant Benches: the giant benches in and around Acqui Terme are a unique attraction, ideal for a stop and a fun photo op.
- Sports Activities: join e-bike tours to explore the surrounding countryside or join a truffle hunt with dogs. Other options include walking tours to discover the town or hiking among the vineyards.
Local food and wine
The food and wine in and around Acqui Terme is a real treat for the palate, with a wide range of delicious typical dishes and specialties. Here are some of the most famous ones:
- Brachetto d’Acqui: a sweet and sparkling wine, perfect to enjoy as an aperitif or with dessert.
- Dolcetto d’Acqui: a dry, fruity red wine that goes well with traditional dishes.
- White and Black Truffle: The region is famous for truffles, used to enrich many dishes.
- Ravioli Acquesini: delicious filled ravioli, often served with rich, flavorful sauces.
- Stoccafisso all’Acquese: a dish made with stockfish, often prepared with olives and tomatoes.
- Amaretti di Acqui Terme: sweet and crunchy almond cookies.
- Moscato Passito di Strevi: a sweet and aromatic wine.
- Torta di Cardi: prepared with the Nizza Monferrato hunchback thistle, this pie is a delicacy.
- Robiola di Roccaverano: a fresh, creamy cheese.
- Buì and Bagnet: buì is a kind of mixed boiled meat, often accompanied by a green sauce called “bagnet”.
- Zuppa Cisrò: a rich soup made with chickpeas.
- Acquesi al Rum: rum-filled chocolates, ideal for chocolate lovers.
- Focaccia di Acqui: a variation of the Ligurian focaccia, often enriched with local ingredients.
- Nougat: a traditional sweet made with honey and almonds.
I suggest you to take advantage of local food and wine tastings at wineries or traditional restaurants. This will give you the opportunity to savor the culinary richness of Acqui Terme and its surroundings.
Major events in and around Acqui Terme vary throughout the year. Here are some of the most significant ones:
- Festa di San Guido (July): a religious celebration dedicated to St. Guido, patron saint of Acqui Terme, with processions and cultural events.
- Palio di Asti (September): a medieval festival with costume parades, games and historical reenactments.
- Asti Festival of Festivals (September): a gastronomic event in Asti, where you can taste a variety of traditional dishes.
- Festa dell’Uva e del Vino Brachetto (September): a wine festival in Acqui Terme, with tastings, cultural events and performances.
- Nizza Jazz Festival (July): a jazz festival in Nizza Monferrato, with concerts and musical performances.
- Alba International White Truffle Fair (October-December): one of the most famous truffle fairs in the world, with markets, tastings and auctions.
- St. Charles Festival (August-September): a religious celebration in Nizza Monferrato, with processions and cultural events.
How to get to Acqui Terme
By Air: The nearest airport to Acqui Terme is Genoa-Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA), located about 100 kilometers from the city. From the airport, you can take a local train or rent a car.
By Train: The city is served by a train station, “Acqui Terme,” which is located along the Genoa-Milan railway line.
By Bus: Acqui Terme is connected to several Italian cities by bus services. You can check bus options from Genoa, Milan, and other nearby locations.
Your choice of transportation will depend on your starting location and preferences. Once you arrive in Acqui Terme, you can easily move around on foot or by public transportation to explore the city and its surroundings.
Now that you know all about what to see in and around Acqui Terme, travel to Piedmont! Book your tailor-made food and wine experience or foodie trip with Italia Delight now. 😉
Cover photo: flickr, Fiona Dodsworth
Featured photo: flickr, Alberto garbarino