The supreme and scholarly Pontiff Paul III, Alessandro Farnese, on his journey to Genoa to make peace between Emperor Charles V and Francis King of France who were at war with each other, stopped in Acqui Terme. It was 7 May 1538 and he said this about the city: “Aquis tria mirabilia vidi: aquas bullentes, herbas circa eas virentes et mulierem sapientem” (In Acqui, I witnessed three miracles: the boiling hot waters, the green areas around them, and a very wise woman).
Of the three marvels which amazed the Pope, the sulphur hot spring (75°C) still gushes out in the medieval heart of Acqui Terme, the ancient Roman Acquae Statiellae, but there is no longer any greenery around it, and the spring has become a monument. It is the vines that blanket the hills of a gentle green colour in spring and brighten it with gold and red in autumn. The wise woman who enchanted the Pope with her grace and her word, Ginevra Scatilazzi, to whom are dedicated the words of white stone in the Cathedral, is found in the many kind and elegant ladies and women who manage the restaurants and wineries, hotels, coffee and business activities with a smile.
Therefore the three marvels are still there and can still amaze.
Wander and lose yourself in the narrow streets to enjoy the view of the Alps which are the background to the rocking hills blanketed with vines, reach the villages perched on the mountain tops, chasing the eight ancient watchtowers, meet the castles, the romantic churches, the abbeys, the oldest dating from 991, the churches with their treasures such as the 15th century triptych of the Bermejo in (Cathedral ), Roman vestiges, the remains of the (Roman Acqueduct ) and the underground pool in Acqui, the hot springs, the temple of Acqua marcia and the lake of the springs, also in the city, the museums and the magnificent rationalist villa (Ottolenghi ), family which was the last example of patronage in Italy and who gave the population its Retirement home, next to the Cathedral, which encloses the magnificent statue of the Prodigal Son by Arturo Martini... and then stop, sit at the table, enjoy the succession of varied starters, the filetto baciato (gourmet salami from Piedmont), the cheese with the chutney or the jam of peppers or brachetto wine, the smoking ravioli, the Piedmontese fry, the boiled meats with the seven sauces, toast with dolcetto or barbera and then dip the amaretti biscuits into the moscato and drown the strawberries in the brachetto.... all this means linking the past to the present. It means mastering one's identity, a solid column to lean on to peek into the future and smile at it.