What to see in Acqui Terme

Acqui Terme, la città della Bollente- Bollente- Piazza della Bollente-Via Saracco-Prospettiva

A Brief Guide to Discovering the Famous City of the Bollente, Symbol of Alto Monferrato

Are you intrigued by Monferrato and looking to create an itinerary that combines culture, relaxation, and excellent cuisine? Then join us in discovering what to see in Acqui Terme!

Acqui Terme is a city in the province of Alessandria, nestled along the course of the Bormida River. Surrounded by the hills of Alto Monferrato, recently recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites, the city has been renowned since ancient times as a significant thermal destination. Pliny the Elder even identified it as one of the most important in the Roman world. Aquae Statiellae, as it was known in antiquity, became one of the key cities in present-day Piedmont during Roman times, and today it thrives as a tourist destination linked to thermal treatments. However, Acqui Terme offers numerous other attractions. Keep reading to discover them with us!

What to See in Acqui Terme: The Bollente and the Baths

Let’s start our journey exploring what to see in Acqui Terme from its symbol that has made it famous worldwide: the Bollente. This sulphurous water source is the true heart of the city. Its healing properties often draw long lines of locals and tourists, filling their glasses (sometimes even bottles and carboys!). In the 19th century, an elegant marble kiosk designed by architect Giovanni Cerutti was built to enhance the spring’s aesthetics. In recent years, it has been illuminated every evening with different-colored lights, adding to its charm, especially in winter when the lights combine with the steam produced by the 74°C water.

what to see in Acqui Terme-Piazza della Bollente-La Bollente-Acqui Terme-Civic Tower-steam-colored lights
Piazza della Bollente at night in winter (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Also on the square is the Civic Tower, a product of an 18th-century elevation of a medieval gate from the ancient city walls. If the water from the Bollente isn’t enough and you wish to indulge in thermal treatments during your stay, renowned establishments are scattered throughout the historic center and other areas of the city, extending beyond the Bormida River. Among them are the central Nuove Terme on Via XX Settembre, and numerous wellness facilities in the Bagni area. In this zone, we recommend a visit to the splendid park populated by centuries-old trees at the 19th-century Hotel Antiche Terme.

What to See in Acqui Terme: The Historic Center

Roman Ruins

However, neglecting the history and artistic heritage of Acqui would be a real shame and would not do justice to this ancient city. Strolling through its streets, you’ll easily come across numerous Roman ruins. Among them, the most interesting ones include the Roman Theater on Via Scatilazzi, a stone’s throw from the Boiling Spring. These remains reveal only a small portion of the grand amphitheater it once was. Other fascinating sights in Acqui Terme include the Roman thermal pool on Corso Bagni and, notably, the remains of the Roman Aqueduct. To admire the latter, you need to leave the city center and reach the Carlo Alberto Bridge. From here, you can choose to approach and walk in the green park surrounding this marvel of ancient Roman engineering.

What to see in Acqui Terme - Roman aqueduct - remains - Archaeological Museum of Acqui Terme - meadow - trees - river
Remains of the Roman Aqueduct (Credit to Archaeological Museum of Acqui Terme)

Many of the artifacts found in these sites are preserved in the captivating Archaeological Museum, allowing you to trace the history of the Acqui territory from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. The museum is housed inside the Palazzo Paleologi, an ancient medieval fortress built with bricks on the hill overlooking the city center.

The Churches

Also captivating to see in Acqui Terme are its religious buildings, especially the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Church of San Pietro. The former, built in the 10th century by San Guido, the city’s patron saint, is a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture. Originally with three naves, expanded to five in the 18th century, it is easily recognizable thanks to its distinctive portico with three arches and rose window. Inside, it features remarkable decorations with golden stuccos and frescoes, including the opulent Baroque-style altar and the beautiful Annunciation triptych by the Catalan painter Bartolomeo Bermejo.

What to see in Acqui Terme-Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta-Duomo-Romanesque-arcades-bell tower
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

The latter, on the other hand, is a paleochristian church rebuilt in the 10th century in Romanesque style when it became a Benedictine abbey. Its peculiarity lies in being partially below street level; to access it, one must descend a short staircase, taking us back to the ground level of a millennium ago.

What to See in Acqui Terme: Villa Ottolenghi

Another recommended place to see in Acqui Terme is undoubtedly Villa Ottolenghi, a true blend of art, nature, and good wine. Located in Borgo Monterosso, on the hills around Acqui, it is the only contemporary example in Italy of close collaboration between artists and patrons. From this collaboration emerged a beautiful mansion filled with significant works of art (the villa is open for guided tours on weekends from May to September at 2:30 PM, and by appointment in the remaining months of the year). Contemporary artists of renown, such as Ferruccio Ferrazzi and Arturo Martini, collaborated in creating its spaces. The villa also boasts an impressive 10,000 square meters garden, designed by the renowned landscape architect Pietro Porcinai. In 2011, the garden won the European Garden Award for its beauty and harmony.

The entrance ticket also includes a wine tasting of the excellent wines from the estate’s cellar. But speaking of food and wines, what are the typical culinary products of Acqui? Keep reading and discover them with us!

The Flavors of Acqui Terme: Wines, Cold Cuts, Cheeses, and Amaretti

As you may know, Monferrato is famous for its numerous varieties of fine wines, and the Acqui Terme area is no exception. Two wines dominate here: Dolcetto d’Acqui and Brachetto d’Acqui.

Dolcetto d’Acqui DOC is an excellent red table wine that pairs exceptionally well with cheeses, cold cuts, as well as traditional Piedmontese dishes like agnolotti and bollito misto. In Acqui, it’s often enjoyed with the typical Robiola from nearby Roccaverano, a soft cheese made from goat or sheep’s milk. Another delicacy is the Filetto Baciato, a cured meat composed of a salted and fragrant pork tenderloin wrapped in a pure pork salami casing and then stuffed into a pork intestine.

Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG, on the other hand, is a red dessert wine among the most pleasant and elegant, whether in classic or sparkling versions. It is enjoyed with dessert after a meal or in the late afternoon, particularly with dry pastries, especially those from Piedmont. These include paste di meliga, torcetti, brutti e buoni, novellini, pavesini, krumiri, savoiardi, and especially with Amaretti d’Acqui, almond-based sweets.

Now that you know what to see and taste in Acqui Terme, you can’t miss including it in your itinerary exploring Monferrato.

Final Tips

If you also want to stay in Acqui Terme, click here and discover the best accommodations at the best

 








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What to see in Acqui Terme
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Curious about Monferrato? Craft an itinerary blending culture, relax, and cuisine. Explore what to see in Acqui Terme for a memorable journey!
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La Scimmia Viaggiatrice

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