The town's name derives from the Latin name "Gavius", probably the name of the owner of the lands during the Roman Imperial Ages. Municipality in the province of Alexandria, located on the border with the territory of Vercelli, the town is perched on a hill overlooking the Lower Monferrato and the Po plain and is dominated by a beautiful castle. The houses are located on two distinct levels: the lower part built around the church, and a higher one characterized by medieval features. From the district of Cantavenna, on a sunny clear day, it is possible to recognize in the distance the unmistakable profiles of the Mont Blanc, Monvisio, Monte Rosa and the Cervino. The area is cultivated with vineyards from which it derives an appreciated excellent wine.
Although the first documentation of the existence of the village dates from the year 1000, evidence trace Roman origins: from its name and the discovery of a milestone that bears references of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. In the VI and VII centuries, the town's districts were occupied by populations of German origins, that settled here. The only exception is the district of Cantavenna which features settler origins that date back to an earlier period. The area was donated by Charlemagne to the Abbey of Novalesa, until it was attacked and destroyed by the Saracens. It then became part of the domain of the Benedictine Abbey of Breme. In the second half of the XII century, Gabiano was under the rule of the Marquis of Monferrato, and in 1247 Boniface II granted it in fief to Rainer Bastardino. In 1245, attacked by the troops of Robert of Anjou, the inhabitants managed to boldly and decisively to defend themselves. During the XIV century, because of frequent attacks of armies and the subsequent raids and epidemics, the village was fortified by defensive walls. In 1421 the town returned to be a possession of the Marquis of Monferrato, then of the Scarampi and later of Carlo Montiglio, until in 1613 it was conquered by the Savoy.
Not to miss:
- the Parish of St. Peter, of medieval origins, it has recently been refurbished. Inside it preserves precious frescoes and the building is flanked by a Romanesque Bell Tower;
- the Church of St Aurelio, built, in the IX century, in a valley between the two districts of Zoalengo and Mincengo. It features a single nave plan and is richly decorated inside. The building housed the remains of the Saint, until they were transferred to Germany;
- the Parish Church of St. Eusebio in Varengo, in Baroque style, the building is preceded by a sumptuous staircase;
- the Neoclassical style Parish Church of St. Carpoforo in Cantavenna;
- the Chapel of Our Lady of the Snows in Casaletto;
- the Castle of Cattaneo Adorno Giustiniani, dating to the XI century, it was built at the behest of Aleramo, Marquis of Monferrato. Over the centuries it has been destroyed several times and promptly rebuilt. Today it features a main building with cylindrical towers topped with battlements at each corner and a tower on a square base and beautiful three-light windows. It also features courtyards with wells and a collection of arms and art. The vast estate is divided between vineyards and a park with an adjoining maze.