Once the old Roman city was destroyed as a result of wars and other lesser known reasons, there arose, by the refugees, a new village at the confluence of Mondalavia and Cucetta streams, in a place which was healthy and naturally easier to defend. This was the primitive nucleus of the city.
The Bishop’s Domain
The city took the name of Bene, derivation of the ancient Bagienna, and soon prospered so much that in 901, when the Emperor Louis III assigned it in possession to the Bishop of Asti, it was equipped with the Imperial Court and the Pieve (parish) and had a vast territory (about 7,500 hectares), much greater than the present.
The bishop’s domain lasted 500 years with some interruptions, among which deserves to be remembered the regiment period as a Free City in the first half of the thirteenth century. Bene then made alliances and wars and was treated equally to the bigger principalities of Northern Piedmont.
The Savoy and the Costa
In 1387 Amedeo of Savoy, Prince of Acaja, after a bitter struggle and the destroying of the city’s walls and castle, seizes Bene Vagienna: so began the domination of Savoy, who was, in line with the times, bringing peace and prosperity.
In the next century begins the feudal rule of Costas from Chieri (August 23, 1413) with the fief, by the last of Achaia, of Trinity, Carrù and Bene to Lodovico Costa, patrician of Chieri, his loyal vassal.
Was part of the same family the Countess Paola Gambara from Brescia, wife of Lodovico Antonio Costa. She died in 1515and th venerated corpse is still in the San Francesco Church.
Under the rule of the Costa important works of tillage and irrigation are performed and the city takes, in its streets and in its buildings; the aspect that still retains today. The Power of Bene’s Counts got lesser in more recent times (around 1550 to 1560) because of the alliance with the French in the war against the Spanish. With the help of Francis I of France, Giovanni Ludovico Costa, Count of Bene, did fortify the city on the designs of Francesco Horologi from Vicenza, in the decade of truce settled in Nice in 1538 between the King of France and the Emperor Charles V. Bene was surrounded by fortifications with the demolition of villages outside (and in this period the demolition of the Church of the Rocchetta) and made the seat for a stranger strong garrison.
To the Savoy again
When Emanuele Filiberto, after the peace of Cateau-Cambresis (1559), is reassigned his possessions, Bene is also reintegrated in the Duchy of Savoy. Count Costa is forced to change Well with the suburbs of Pont Vesle and Castiglione d’Ombres and August 12, 1561, the delegates of the City of Bene have to pay to Emanuele Filiberto 12,000 gold crowns of Italy to be “liberated” from the rule of the Costas, and to not have to be enfeoffed or alienated “to anyone but the Prince of Piemonte” (based on the charts kept on the archive of the City).
In the seventeenth century the fortifications erected in the previous one (and many of which still remain) made Bene an important stronghold that had weight in the long struggles of the time. In 1614 the castle was visited by Captain Ascanio Vittozzi, engineer of Charles Emmanuel I, and on his opinion, it was ‘restored’ in 1615 and 1616 using money coming from Bene, Clavesana, Farigliano, Piozzo, Carrù, Trinity and Salmour.
Under French siege
The Earl of Harcourt puts Bene under siege in 1641, and managed to get it after winning the fierce resistance of the garrisons and the population: the city suffered and lost a lot in people and belongings, and many houses were set on fire. Bene was in the meantime getting dignifyed for the establishment of the collegiate of canons for the religious orders which had their headquarters and for the illustrious families who lived there. It got the title of “City” in the seventeenth century; In fact, Carlo Emanuele I (who reigned between 1580 and 1630) spontaneously agreed to the ‘loyal Bene’ the name and degree of Ducal City, as shown by the crest granted to it with the eloquent heraldic motto: Deo et principi. Bene was erected into a Principality.