Bra (Bra in Piedmontese, Braida in Latin) is an Italian town of 29 571 inhabitants in the province of Cuneo in Piedmont. Bra is located equidistant from Turin and Cuneo (50 km to the south and north-east respectively). Alba is 15 km away. It is part of the province of Cuneo, of which it is the third most populous municipality and is part of the archdiocese of Turin. It is not crossed by major rivers or streams, however the Pollenzo fraction is touched by the Tanaro near the former Reale estate. The territory is characterized by a vast plain, where the city has developed and a hill, which houses part of the historic center. The hilly relief of the municipality of Bra is in fact the beginning of the Roero area.


Monuments and places of interest

Religious architecture

the parish church of Sant'Andrea in Baroque style, built to a design by Gian Lorenzo Bernini under the guidance of Guarino Guarini.
the parish church of Sant'Antonino Martire, built by the monks of San Colombano di Bobbio starting in 1693 to replace the ancient parish church, today the church of the Beata Vergine Assunta (or of the Madonnina della Veneria). It preserves the statues of 1728 Sant'Anna with the Virgin Child and of San Gioacchino with the Virgin Child by the sculptor Carlo Giuseppe Plura and the paintings by Rodolfo Morgari Madonna with the Belt and Saints and The Virgin with San Gioacchino, from 1874.
the parish church of San Giovanni Battista.
the sanctuary of the Madonna dei Fiori, patroness of Bra. It is part of the parish of San Giovanni Battista, and preserves the statue of the Virgin by the sculptor Giuseppe Realini. The facade of the sanctuary features one of the most important mosaics made by Marko Ivan Rupnik. The name of the sanctuary is due to the tradition according to which in Bra, on 29 December 1336, the Madonna appeared to a young pregnant woman, Egidia Mathis. The young woman, threatened by some mercenaries near a votive pillar with the effigy of Mary, would have been saved by the sudden apparition that put the criminals to flight, while all around, even in the middle of winter, wild plum bushes would have suddenly blossomed . Still these bushes inexplicably flower in the middle of winter, rather than in spring.
the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli now Capuchin.
the parish church (fraction of Bandito) of the Beata Vergine Assunta (or of the Madonnina della Veneria); the ancient church of Veneria has its roots in the Middle Ages and is the result of successive transformations: originally it was dedicated to Sant'Antonino, then it was dedicated to the Madonna della Neve, to the Madonna delle Grazie and today to the Assumption. There is news of the church in 1082 in a document in which the Countess Adelaide di Susa gives a chapel dedicated to Sant'Antonino to the Abbey of San Colombano di Bobbio (PC), a concession which was renewed in 1153; the donation took place together with the territory of Corticella and Santa Maria di Roasio. In the mid-sixteenth century it became a parish. The layout of the church and perhaps the frescoed parts preserved inside seem to be able to be traced back to this date. Starting from 1693, the new church of Sant'Antonino Martire was built and in 1702 the parish was moved there. Even after the transfer of the title of Sant'Antonino within the walls, the Benedictine monks of Bobbio continued to keep the church of Veneria active, which they named after the Madonna della Neve. In 1780 in the pastoral visit, Msgr. Costa di Arignano already identifies the church with the title of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The main altar is decorated with a precious altarpiece depicting the Madonna enthroned with Child between Sant'Antonino and San Grato. The current marble high altar was built in 1996.

the church of San Rocco now the seat of the orthodox parish of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria
the church of San Giovanni Decollato (or dei Battuti Neri) headquarters of the Confraternity of Mercy
the church of San Giovanni "Lontano"
the church of Santa Chiara designed by Bernardo Antonio Vittone was built by the Clarisse nuns. Work began on May 27, 1742 and it was opened to the public in 1748 even if not completed. The plant has a quadrilobate and the whole construction is set on four large pillars which support the complex interplay of the coretti, the double dome and the cupola. The double dome is openwork (diaphanous dome). Through the four mixtilinear openings of the lower dome, the frescoed paintings in the lower dome can be seen, illuminated by the light that comes from various openings. In this interior, light is the absolute protagonist of the architectural story. The stuccos are by Bernardino Barelli while the pictorial decoration is the work of Pierpaolo Operti from Braidia. The Poor Clares left the church in 1883 and in 1892 began the construction of a monastery in viale Madonna dei Fiori; Santa Chiara is still owned by the Capuchin Friars today.
the parish church of San Vittore in Pollenzo
the parish church of San Lorenzo in the locality of Riva
the church of the Trinity (or of the Battuti Bianchi) from the seventeenth century


Civil architectures

Castle of Pollenzo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the Savoy residences in Piedmont. All buildings are in the neo-Gothic style.

Royal Borgo of Pollenzo. Pollentia was an ancient Roman city which reached its peak in the Julio-Claudian age. Many finds, found in various excavation campaigns, are kept in the Archaeological Museum of Palazzo Traversa. During the Middle Ages it was reduced to a modest agricultural village and garrison of religious communities, including the Benedictines of Novalesa-Breme. A fortification was already present before 1238 but it was necessary to wait many centuries to arrive at the current form of the castle and in particular when it passed to the patrimony of the Savoy, in 1838. Carlo Alberto will start massive works entrusting the care to the court architects Pelagio Palagi and Ernesto Melano . In addition to the restoration of the castle, the village was built with the Church of San Vittore, the square with the portico, the Agency and a large square tower with merlons. In the Church there is the wooden choir coming from the Staffarda abbey. The castle and the immense agricultural estate are now privately owned while the Agency buildings were the focus of an initiative promoted by Slow Food, the Piedmont Region and the City of Bra. The result was a mixed company called "Agenzia di Pollenzo" which completely restored the area and set up, among other things, the University of Gastronomic Sciences and the Banca del Vino. The outdoor spaces, square and streets of the hamlet of Pollenzo, have been the subject of restoration works financed by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.

La Zizzola: symbol building of the city. With an octagonal plan with two floors surmounted in the center by a turret, it is located on the highest point of the city: the hill of Monteguglielmo, near which the ancient castle was located until the 16th century. The Bra guide of 1875: ".. owned by the lawyer Maffei, an elegant and graceful rotunda that dominates the city. Tradition has it that behind this villa, on an open space that can still be admired, witches once celebrate on Saturday". So it was a country villa that the rich owners opened to friends for parties and receptions. In 1962 the Zizzola was donated to the municipality of Bra by Guido Fasola, to whose family it had belonged since 1915 with the constraint that the building be used as a venue for conferences or a museum or other public activities and the land as a garden or public park. Cultural and entertainment events are held in the park, mainly organized in the summer.

Palazzo Traversa: the original nucleus dates back to the mid-fifteenth century and is used, after the restoration work carried out in the eighties, as a Museum of Archeology and Art History. It brings together finds from ancient Pollenzo (founded by the Romans) and local works of art from the seventeenth century to the contemporary era. It is part of the "Castelli Aperti" system of Lower Piedmont. It is the only Gothic-style building left in the city and over the centuries it has been the subject of various interventions. It was built by a branch of the Malabayla family of Asti. After various passages it came to the Alberiones who had it decorated with Ghibelline merlons after 1666. In the 1907 Guide to Bra the building is indicated as the property of Don Traversa, hence the current name. In 1935 the then owners, the Boglione family, donated it to the Municipality so that a museum could be set up. The most interesting part of the building, which is also the one with the highest architectural quality, is the elevation on via Parpera.

Palazzo Comunale: Building of medieval origin; like other city buildings it underwent renovations and transformations to be adapted to the needs of the growing city. The intervention that brought it to its current form was carried out between 1730 and 1732 by the architect Bernardo Antonio Vittone on behalf of the municipality. The façade has a convex central part flanked by two rectilinear lateral bodies and shows similarities with Palazzo Carignano in Turin, from which it takes up the tripartite layout. Access to the historical part is given by an invitation staircase added around 1897 which leads to the large arched door flanked by two rectangular openings with an overhanging circular eye.

Palazzo Mathis: The building, of fourteenth-century origin, stands in front of the town hall and the first owners were the Solaros, a family from Asti. Captain Giacomo Solaro, as governor of the castle of Bra, found himself in 1552 commanding the defense of the city, allied with the French, against the duke of Savoy, Emanuele Filiberto. The fortress fell and was destroyed and the Solaros disappeared from Bra, also leaving their palace. From 1652, for over two centuries it was owned by the Boassos who in 1870 sold it to the Icheri of Malabaila. The Boassos carried out many transformations by merging three buildings into the whole that today makes up the palace. In 1878 the building passed to Masenza who in 1906 sold it to Ambrogio Mathis. The municipality bought the building from the Mathis heirs in 1978. Today, completely restored by the municipality and the Cassa di Risparmio di Bra Foundation, it houses the culture and tourism offices and, on the noble floor, hosts exhibitions and cultural events, as well as housing a permanent collection of works by the Cheraschese artist Romano Reviglio.

Palazzo Garrone: It is of medieval foundation but underwent radical transformations during the seventeenth century. The property changed hands variously and the period in which the Albrione di Rorà lived there was significant, embellishing the residence. The 1875 Guide to Bra mentions the Garrones as the new owners, hence the current name. General Andrea Massena, following Napoleon, seems to have stayed in the Palace. The municipality became its owner in 1882 and first used it as a barracks and then moved some offices there. For many years it will host schools and then the magistrate's court and then the branch of the court of Alba. From an architectural point of view, the most valuable part is the eighteenth-century one and the atrium with the Victorian-style staircase.

Civic Theater Politeama Boglione: It was inaugurated on 1 September 1900 and built thanks to the legacy of Giuseppe Boglione. Designer the Milanese Achille Sfondrini. Remodeled several times, it underwent a makeover in the 1950s that completely changed the interior with the demolition of the loggias. It was a theater and cinema for many years and then closed in 1985. It "reopened" in 2004 after a substantial restoration, albeit in a modern key. The exterior is that of Sfondrini with a large colonnade and the dome that dominates the building. It hosts theatrical and musical reviews.



Bra is home to the following secondary schools

Classical, Scientific, Linguistic, Human Sciences "Giolitti-Gandino" State High School
State Technical Commercial Institute "E. Guala"
State Industrial Technical Institute - Associated Section "A.Sobrero"
"V. Mucci" State Professional Tourist, Graphic and Hotel Institute. It is the leader of the Piedmontese Enogastronomic Polo, which provides post-graduate training courses.
"San Domenico Savio" Parified Professional Institute
In the Pollenzo hamlet, the University of Gastronomic Sciences has been active since 2004, a non-state, legally recognized university.

Academy of the Nameless
In full Arcadian climate, on 27 July 1702, the Academy of the Innominates was born in Bra. Unique in Piedmont with the Accademia degli Incolti of Turin, it was elevated to an Arcadian colony by the Arcadia of Rome for the prestige and renown it acquired. It was originally an association of men of letters, poets, men of culture, lovers of music and the visual arts. The academics renounced their names and assumed a title with which they signed the poetic works. The founder was Count Pier Ignazio Della Torre and he counted among the members Giuseppe Zorgnotto, the Submissive, Giovanni Battista Bonino, the Genial and among the members also the most famous Italian men of letters of the time, Ludovico Antonio Muratori and Scipione Maffei. Among the women, Benedetta Clotilde Lunelli from Cherasco and Aurora Sanseverino from Lucania stood out. They met in a house in the historic centre, where painted medallions depicting the personalities of the Academy are still visible today. The decline of the partnership began after 1720. In 2002 a study and insight conference was held in Bra, curated by Alfredo Mango. The proceedings are collected in the volume "L'Arcadia e gli Innomimati a Bra", Franco Angeli Edizioni.



Museum of Natural History "Ettore and Federico Craveri"
Historical and Archaeological Museum of "Palazzo Traversa"
Toy Museum
Bicycle museum
Mathis Palace
Bank of Wine, Pollenzo Agency
Birthplace of Saint Cottolengo



Bra sausage is prepared by mixing lean beef and pork fat.
Once it was packaged with only beef for the benefit of the Jewish community of Cherasco. A tradition made official by a royal decree which authorized the butchers of Bra to use beef in the preparation of fresh sausage, the only case in Italy. Today, the butchers in Bra and the surrounding area prepare it by finely grinding 70-80 percent of lean Piedmontese veal meat and 20-30 percent of lard and pork belly. The paste must be kept soft and moist and stuffed into a small mutton casing. Each butcher has his own particular dosage in the composition of the dough: all use sea salt, a mixture of spices (white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg); each one customizes using garlic, fennel, leeks, grated Parmesan, aged Robiola di Langa, Arneis or Favorita white wine. Bra sausage should preferably be eaten raw and fresh or cooked as much as possible accompanied by peperonata.

The salòt is a sweet of uncertain origins prepared on the occasion of the Epiphany. It consists of two discs of bread dough (or brioche) which enclose a filling of candied fruit and apricot jam.



The oldest Fair among those in operation is the Easter Monday Zootechnical Review in Piazza Giolitti.

In odd years, "Cheese" is held, i.e. the international milk and cheese fair. Invented by the Slow Food movement based in Bra, it involves milk producers and workers from all over the world. This event is held every two years and is held in September. In the last edition alone, over one hundred thousand people visited the fair during the four days dedicated to cheeses.
Every two years Corto in Bra is an international review of short films.
Every year on the last Sunday of September, the public and private courtyards of the historic center are the protagonists of a food and wine and cultural initiative "From courtyard to courtyard". Through an itinerary to discover the old Bra and local products.
Every year in May, the Children's Book Fair takes place, a review of youth publishing that follows the major edition (Turin Book Fair) by a few days.


Physical geography


Bra is located equidistant from Turin and Cuneo (50 km respectively to the south and north-east). Alba is 15 km away. It is part of the province of Cuneo, of which it is the third most populous municipality and falls under the archdiocese of Turin. It is not crossed by major rivers or streams, however the Pollenzo hamlet is touched by the Tanaro near the former Royal estate. The territory is characterized by a vast plain, where the city developed, and a hill, which houses part of the historic centre. The hilly relief of the municipality of Bra is in fact the beginning of the Roero area.



Bra is characterized by a temperate sub-continental climate. The rains fall mainly in autumn and spring. There are two distinct rainfall minimums: a main one in winter, quite marked (23 mm in January and 34 mm in February), and a secondary one in summer (47 mm in August). Winters are cold (the coldest month, January, has an average of +1°C), while summers are rather hot and sunny (+30°C in July).



The origins and human settlements in the Bra area are very ancient, so much so that the human presence is already ascertained during the Neolithic era. In the Roman period it was founded at the end of the 2nd century BC. along the Tanaro valley the city of Pollentia (now Pollenzo), an important center of commercial and military traffic between the Ligurian ports and the Piedmontese plain. After the battle of Pollenzo, April 6, 402, when the Roman troops commanded by Stilicho faced and put to flight the Goths of Alaric, the decline of Pollentia began. According to a local historian, Prof. Edoardo Mosca, some toponyms in the surroundings of Bra, such as the locality Gotta, located on the hills of Bandito, a hamlet between Bra and Sanfrè, are to be considered ancient toponyms of Gothic origin. Perhaps, again according to Mosca, these were local settlements of Gothic troops who had been cut off from the bulk of Alaric's retreating army.

Following the decline of Pollentia, the displacement of its inhabitants began towards the plateau of today's Bra, considered safer.

Since the Lombard era, the Colombanian monks of the powerful abbey of San Colombano di Bobbio worked there, a very active center of evangelization and agricultural rebirth under the protection of the Pope. Starting from the vast royal and imperial monastic fiefdom, the recovery of uncultivated or abandoned areas, reclamation and agronomic improvements with the recovery and diffusion of vineyards, chestnut groves, mills, etc. The monks also gave a notable food contribution thanks to the breeding and the conservation of food, proteins and fats, such as oil, butter, cheeses, salami, thanks to salt and spices; they also worked to reopen the trade routes and the salt routes and trade along the plain and towards the Ligurian sea with exchanges of various goods such as oil, salt, spices, wood, meat, etc.

Bra rose to the rank of city in 1760 by decree of Carlo Emanuele III of Savoy. The eighteenth century was the century that saw the city of Bra expand and flourish from an architectural point of view, also thanks to the presence of Bernardo Antonio Vittone, an architect who created two masterpieces of late Baroque art: the rounded facade of the Town Hall and the church of Santa Chiara. The nineteenth century gave Bra men of considerable stature in several fields. San Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo (born in Bra in 1786), who founded the Little House of Divine Providence. Among the men of study and science, the Latinist G.B. Gandino, the archaeologist Edoardo Brizio, the natural scientists Ettore and Federico Craveri (founders of the Museum of Natural Sciences, which today bears their name).

The name "Bra" derives from the Lombard word "Brayda" which indicates a property with an extensive plot of land used for grazing (the same etymological origin as Piazza Bra in Verona, or the Brera district of Milan). An alternative hypothesis is the Celtic origin from "Braille" or "Braye" with the meaning of "pasture" or "pasture" (See toponyms of La Braille, La Braye, Le Brâ in Savoy and in French Switzerland and that of Brallo di Pregola in Oltrepò Pavese).



Until the end of 1860 there was a thriving tannery business in Bra. The city events of the period are narrated in the works of the writer Giovanni Arpino, from Braid on his mother's side. Today nothing is left of that period, except the Art Nouveau facade of the Novella factory in via Piumati.

The city gives its name to a DOP cheese, but today in Bra not even a form of the homonymous cheese is produced and even in the past it mostly came from the towns in the valleys and mountains of Cuneo. However, it was the Braidese traders who matured and brought "ours" to the Piedmontese and above all Ligurian markets, where it was used in the preparation of pesto. In the Genoese area it is still in great demand today. The favorable climatic conditions and the fortunate geographical location of Bra made it the largest collection center for the seasoning and marketing, initially done on horse-drawn carts.

The Braidese economy has changed several times over the years. There is a strong industrial sector.

Horticultural agricultural production continues to remain solid, mostly marketed on the wholesale market in Turin and through large-scale distribution in Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria. The livestock sector is substantial with cattle and pig breeding.

From 1842 to 2020 the Cassa di Risparmio di Bra was active, merged into BPER BANCA.



Bra belongs to the Langhe and Roero basin even if the tourist vocation is quite recent. The presence and influence of Slow Food have contributed significantly to the promotion of the city and the area.



the Associazione Calcio Bra club, founded in 1913, plays in Serie D.

The city of Bra hosts a section of the Italian Referees Association, belonging to the Piedmont-Val D'Aosta Regional Committee.

Field hockey has been practiced in Bra since the 1960s. The most titled team is the women's team, the H.F. Lorenzoni, winner of numerous championships in the top flight of the Italian championship and in the indoor championship, as well as Italian Cups and Italian Super Cups. The men's field hockey team won their first championship in the 1974/1975 championship under the name of Hockey Club Bra and over the years has won this recognition several other times, as well as national cups and super cups.

On 9 June 1994, the 19th stage of the 1994 Giro d'Italia ended in Bra da Lavagna with the victory of Massimo Ghirotto.

On 29 May 1999 the 14th stage of the 1999 Giro d'Italia started from Bra for Borgo San Dalmazzo with the victory of Paolo Savoldelli.

On 18 May 2023 the 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia 2023 will start from Bra for Rivoli.

Sport facilities
The city has various sports facilities capable of hosting various disciplines. In 1972 the Cassa di Risparmio di Bra financed the construction of the Palazzetto dello Sport, dedicated to basketball, indoor hockey, athletics, tennis. Owned by the municipality, it is managed by the Polisportiva Palasport and is home to the Match Ball Tennis Club with adjoining clay, synthetic turf, carpet and grass courts.

In viale Madonna dei Fiori there are two synthetic grass fields for field hockey, soccer fields (including the Attilio Bravi stadium, all under municipal management) and the swimming pool managed by the Braidese swimming pool, under mixed management private (70%) and common. The whole area, once used as a parade ground, is bordered by a cycle path.

Other structures arise in the localities of Bescurone, Via Rosselli, Bandito, Pollenzo; in corso Monviso stands the Brasport centre, mainly used for futsal.