Town in the province of Alessandria, Italy, on the left bank of the Tanaro; population 32,000. Although now of no great importance, in the Middle Ages Asti was a center of commerce and the capital of one of the most powerful republics of northern Italy. Owing to the relative freedom that prevailed in Asti, the major part of the French Jews expelled in 1322 by Charles IV. (compare Isidore Löb, in "Grätz-Jubelschrift," pp. 39 et seq.) took refuge there, and adopted the French ritual called (from the initials of Asti, Fassano, and Monclavo, where it is employed) "Rite Afm," which has been retained to the present day. The eighteenth of Iyyar is especially celebrated in Asti, on which day hymns composed by Joseph Conzio are recited. A special Seder for Passover evening service for Asti was written by Elia Levi.
Asti was the birthplace of many Jewish scholars, among whom were: Isaac Santon d'Hugeli (1576), Judah b. Jacob Poggetto (sixteenth century), Elijah b. David Finzi (1643), Joseph b. R. Gehereseia Conzio and Joab b. Isaac Gallico (seventeenth century), David Mordecai Terracina (nineteenth century).
- Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, 3d ed. viii. 70;
- Luzzatto, Mebo le-MaḦzor Minhag Bene Roma, p. 7;
- Zunz, Ritus, p. 64.