Palazzo Mazzetti testifies to the success of a family of noble origins, who grew rich from minting money and shrewd property purchases.
The Mazzetti family was originally from Chieri, but settled in Asti in 1442 when Nicoletto and Domenico Mazzetti acquired an old fortified house previously owned by the Turco family. They were merchants, money lenders and also allowed to mint coins, a privilege they kept until it was revoked by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy in 1614.
In 1693 Marquis Giovanni Battista Mazzetti unified the neighbouring buildings, which had been acquired over time, and Palazzo Mazzetti began to take on its current appearance.
A second important phase of works began in 1751 when Giulio Cesare Mazzetti entrusted architect Benedetto Alfieri with the project of renovating the east wing and turning it into reception rooms. The design of the entrance portal is similar to that of Alfieri's other palazzos in Asti.
Throughout its history, Palazzo Mazzetti was a highly prestigious residence, and over the centuries it has hosted figures such as James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales (1717), Charles Emmanuel III, King of Sardinia (1727) and Napoleon I (1805).
The building is currently owned by the Cassa di Risparmio di Asti and houses a number of important collections: San Martino Alfieri panels and works by Guglielmo Caccia, Giancarlo Aliberti, Michelangelo Pittatore and a selection of 17th-century Genovese painters.
The monumental staircase decorated with 18th-century wooden sculptures of Mars and Venus leads up from the elegant entrance hall with its mannerist-style columns. After a lengthy restoration, the reception hall and adjacent rooms are now also open to visitors. They feature work by plasterers from Lugano who worked under the supervision of Alfieri. He chose a flat "rocailles" style of plasterwork, following French and German fashion. In addition to temporary exhibitions, also on display are wooden and ivory works by Giuseppe Maria Bonzanigo, paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries and works by Asti artist Michelangelo Pittatore.
Educational activities and ATL AstiTurismo information point.
Local sights: Sant'Anastasio museum and crypt, San Secondo church, San Pietro in Consavia, Troyana tower, paleontological museum, Arazzeria Scassa and medieval and Roman itineraries.
Typical products: Moscato d'Asti, Barbera DOCG, white truffles
Events: Asti Palio (third Sunday in September); Sagre Astigiane festival, founded in 1973, celebrating the culture, gastronomy and folklore of rural life (Saturday and Sunday of the second week in September); "Premio Douja d'Or" national competition for DOC wines, founded in 1966, named after an ancient container (douja) for storing wine, during which over 400 quality wines are available for tasting and purchase in the 19th-century Palazzo del Collegio.