Bra, due to the peculiarity of its geographical position that allows it to be in the center of the most famous production areas of the most famous national wines, is traditionally the place of trade of the most prestigious products of Piedmontese enology.
From the nearby Langhe, Barolo and Barbaresco; from the sweetest hills of Roero the productions of Nebbiolo, Arneis and Favorita; from the nearby Monferrato decided Barbera and wicked wines; in addition to the unmistakable Dolcetto, Piedmontese popular wine with various connotations depending on the region of origin.
The historical value of Bra as a meeting point between supply and demand for great wines is also evidenced by the funeral stele found in the village of Pollenzo, home to an ancient Roman city, which bears the epigraph of Marcus Lucretius Crestus, merkator vinarius (merchant of wines).
Bra has always been the place where the "daisies" (shepherds of the Cunean valleys) went downhill to sell their alpine cheeses to local grooms and traders. Thus a tradition of affinatori and stagionatori of the best cuneese cheeses is born that still make Bra today one of the most important centers for the national dairy panorama thanks to the international exhibition Cheese "the forms of milk" and the Bra cheese (in its hard and soft variants) that takes its name from this city.
From the rich agriculture of the area, the trade finds the sap for the proposal of the most famous Piedmontese food and wine productions. In the city center are the shops of the most varied commercial genres that alternate with the proposals of modern distribution. The marketing of products related to breeding is of great value, so much so that Bra is particularly renowned for its butchers, which produce and market the famous veal sausage, and other pork sausages.
There is also a lot of business on the square with two weekly markets, Wednesday and Friday's main event, and an appendix for local Saturday afternoon makers who bring in the city squares the flavors and colors of ambulances that offer goods of all kinds.
Bra is part of the Alba Bra Business District.
- Monday afternoon (Piazza Giolitti)
Wednesday morning (Piazza XX Settembre)
Friday morning (Piazza XX Settembre - corso Garibaldi - Piazza Carlo Alberto).
Saturday afternoon (Piazza Giolitti), reserved for local fruit and vegetable producers.
Tannin art, begun in the nineteenth century by small family-run artisan workshops, transforms itself into the early decades of the new century into real industrial activity with the creation of large complexes that also occupy many immigrants. Among the major tanning industries there are both family owned businesses and workers' cooperatives, such as the Anonima Cooperativa Novella production company in Pellami, whose characteristic building in Via Piumati has symbolized a certain period of urban life. The greatest fortune of the tanning industry was in the years of the Second World War when the military orders made both production and occupation rise.
Originally linked to the agricultural production of the surrounding countryside, the textile industry was historically also developed, with the development of silk production fueled by the cultivation of mulberries and the characteristic breeding of silkworms, a typical winter activity of the Cuneese countryside since the Middle Ages .
The tumultuous industrialization of nearby Turin ended up dragging with it also the peripheral centers close to it. In the forties of the twentieth century, two industries of the subalpine capital settled in Bra, relocating to the province: they are Atila textile and Fimet mechanics, the latter still producing its electric motors in Bra. Immediately after the Second World War, the Meccanica Costruzioni Braidesi (CMB) was established in Bra, a mechanical industry deeply linked to the world of tanneries, then bankrupt.
Anonymous also comes from the tanning world Braidese Tannic Extract (Abet), which reconstructs its production in plastic laminates, a sector in which it is today a leader in the continental field, occupying one of the first places in the world. Bra is thus the most important European center for plastic laminate manufacturing thanks to the industrial artifacts, also intended for the production of semi-finished products, while Press Trau specializes in the production of office furniture made of plastic fibers. which assumes leadership roles in the national field.
The transformation from an artisan workshop to a large industry was also in the destiny of Rolfo, born for the construction of wagons and carriages and that, after the 1950, established itself in the industrial bodywork in the truck sector.
Evolution of the textile industry, in Bra develops the Faber packaging industry which becomes one of the most prestigious brands in the swimwear and underwear industry, before being absorbed into larger textile groups and abundant production in the city. Baratti & Milano, a quality confectionery industry, moved to Bra, while the major companies in nearby Alba, Miroglio Tessia and Ferrero Dolciaria, located in Bra important settlements and warehouses.
In the city are born also commercial and tertiary companies that reach within a few years significant dimensions: it is the case of the Olicar, which markets petroleum products, and the Bra Servizi Ecologici in the field of waste treatment. The city territory has been inserted by the Piedmont region within the Industrial District Carmagnola-Bra.
Bra industrial area
The most important industrial area of the town is between the Corso Monviso and Via Piumati, in the west of the city center. It is located in the largest plain factories and is easily accessible from the town center. It is connected with the main routes of traffic with provincial roads (direction Cavallermaggiore, Savigliano, Saluzzo), regional (direction Carmagnola, Turin) and state (direction Alba, Asti, Fossano, Cuneo) and with all other traffic destinations thanks to west tangenziale, two-lane for every direction of the road, allowing quick access to the A-6 Turin-Savona and A33 Asti-Cuneo highway confining Bra-Marene.
The industrial area is also a short drive from Bra Train Station and is easily connected with the airports of Cuneo Levaldigi (about 25 Km) and Turin Caselle (about 60 Km).
There are also two areas of production facilities in the main urban hamlets. In via Nogaris in the village of Pollenzo (less than ten kilometers from Alba) and in via Don Orione in the hamlet of Bandito (along the Carmagnola-Turin line).
All areas can accommodate new production facilities.
The handicraft tradition of the braid populations dates back to Roman times, when in the town of Pollentia (the present part of Pollenzo), numerous workshops were present in the city wall to produce ceramics, glasses, dyed fabrics or metal working with testimonials that even today they come to us. In particular, pollen artisans were famous for the production of fine wool and fine pottery vessels.
It is not possible today to find a braid tradition in these areas but not so for the other great production that has characterized the most recent era of city history. The abundance of raw materials derived from cattle breeding (favored by the availability of fodder and the particular climatic conditions not only of Bra but of the whole Cuneo plain) developed at the end of 1800 some skincare tanners. Before their transformation into major industrial sites, they characterized the craftsmanship of braids until the end of that century: a publication by 1875 states that at that time in Bra there were twenty-four tanning companies with predominant family conduct.
Of great value, Bra's tannery production also gained a remarkable echo outside of the national boundaries so as to reach the farthest flaps of Europe and the Oltreatlantic. Closely related to tanning activity, Bra also developed the vast production of finished leather products. Bra found a good number of cobblestones and hoof shops that packed good-quality footwear.
With the industrialization and the creation of modernly organized tanneries and of considerable size, the craft activities of Brahman concentrated in the field of food or the two-strand linked industries with the nascent industrial settlements.
As far as the food sector is concerned, the large availability of agricultural production in the surrounding countryside allows the craftsmen of Braida to have high quality raw materials and at relatively low prices.
In this context, among the most famous productions we remember the Piedmontese tradition for the packaging of egg pasta, with a particular fondness for stuffed pasta, and the fine pastry that allowed the packaging of the famous bra candies with a gentian and mint flavor. .
Curious and typical is the production of the renowned Bra sausage, made exclusively by slaughterers with veal according to an ancient recipe, and which, in 1847, received a special concession for exclusive production by King Carlo Alberto di Savoia.
The work of wrought iron, which still has good masters in the art of iron smiths, is still precious, while the old town houses numerous artisan initiatives in the fields of furniture restoration and handicrafts, in addition to the aforementioned and activities in the fields of fresh pasta, in quality butchers, in catering and pastry.
Many changes occurred in the economic structure of the Braidese during the last centuries. Because of its central position between the hills of Langa and Roero and the fertile plains of Cuneo, Bra has always been a place of trade and commerce, fed since the most remote times by the rich sale of wines and mountain cheeses.
At the beginning of the twentieth century Bra was mainly an important agricultural center (Agriculture) supported above all by the famous cultivation of vegetables and the consequent market.
In the last century, the progressive industrialization of the whole of Piedmont had allowed the establishment of some important factories operating mainly in the field of tannin art (handicraft), while in the fifties the economic boom brought a new and radical upheaval in the economic structure: the heavy industry has established itself in a decisive manner and also the Braidesi industries changed their vocations, addressing activities related to the processing of plastic materials and to heavy mechanics (Industry).
It certainly did not disappear in this industrial characterization, the Bra of the third millennium comes with a still different face. The fortunate tourist-commercial situation that has affected Southern Piedmont in the last decade of the twentieth century has allowed the Braidian economy to change its appearance and to orient itself towards an advanced tertiary that combines the demands of modern times with respect and valorisation of the traditions (Trade).
Bra is now home to major exhibitions and events, national and international associations, a typical trade that returns to privilege the rich wine production and gastronomy of these lands (Tourism).
The constant demographic development and a per capita income above the national average make Bra one of the most important cities in the southern Piedmont area. The steady growth of tertiary activities, mainly induced in the tourism and hospitality sectors, will still entail further changes in the socio-economic braidese cross-section in the coming years.
This position is attributed to both the quantity and, above all, the quality of its typical productions. Langa and Roero's fruit groves (all the viticulture, which supplies some of the most noble Italian wines), the Cuneo plain cereal tradition and the important cultivation of horticultural products make this city its center of gravity compared to production areas, one of the most important centers within the Piedmontese agricultural landscape.
To this is added the important activity of cattle breeding, especially as far as the native Piedmontese breed (renowned for its meat calves), which produces a chain (milk, meat, tanning of skins) which has strongly influenced development and growth of Bra during the twentieth century. The best cattle breeches are also reserved for an exceptional catwalk, the day after Easter, in the late-centenary zoo exhibition held under the canopies of the former boar hole in Piazza Giolitti, in the city center.
The tradition of horticulture in the lower area of the municipal territory, in the locality of Orti and in the direction of the village of Pollenzo, has made sure that the fine vegetables traded on the Turin markets came precisely from the greenhouses and the countryside of Bra. In this context, an important center for sorting goods are the weekly markets where, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the best products of these lands change.
The Braidese tourist vocation has been discovered in recent years, thanks to the extraordinary development of the rediscovery of the enogastronomic heritage that has found fertile land in the food valleys of Langhe and Roero to offer visitors evocative panoramic views, places of culture and gastronomy level.
For a professional promotion of the territory, Alba Bra Langhe Roero Tourism Board has been established, which coordinates the major promotional and tourist activities in the area.
In the city is the municipal administration which has the burden of organizing a large number of reviews and concerts that bring the city to the attention of the general public even with events of international interest (eg Cheese in the field of food, the film festival Short in Bra and the Children's Book Fair).
Bra, a city of Baroque art and the many places of art linked to the cult, in the Nineties it became a destination for tourism in search of the refinements of the best Piedmontese culinary tradition and of the particular productions typical of the area.
The flow of tourism in this way leads to the establishment of new receptive activities in the city, catering and hospitality that allow you to find new opportunities for employment to local young people. The Professional Institute for Trade "Velso Mucci" has introduced among its courses also a hotel address that will serve to train the operators of tomorrow in the sector.
Symbol of this vitality is the international association of Slow Food that, born from the idea of some young braidesi to preserve the typical local productions from the constraints of food globalization, becomes an economic operator of considerable importance in the city scene thanks to the many promotional activities and the consequent occupational repercussions that derive from it. This is also thanks to the activity of the annexed Slow Food Editore publishing house which produces some of the most authoritative publications in the field of international food and wine. The Municipality of Bra is the founder of the international movement of the Slow City, socio dell 'Tourist board Alba Bra Langhe and Roero and adheres to "The lands of the Savoy", the tourist promotion association that gathers some municipalities of the Cuneo area.