ASTRI ("Astrofisica con Specchi a Tecnologia Replicante Italiana") is a flagship project of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research. Within this framework, INAF is currently developing a wide field of view (9.6 degrees in diameter) end-to-end prototype of the CTA small-size telescope (SST), devoted to the investigation of the energy range from a fraction of TeV up to tens of TeVs, and scheduled to start data acquisition in 2014. For the first time, a dual-mirror Schwarzschild-Couder optical design will be adopted on a Cherenkov telescope, in order to obtain a compact optical configuration.
A second challenging, but innovative technical solution consists of a modular focal surface camera based on Silicon photo-multipliers with a logical pixel size of 6.2mm x 6.2mm. Here we describe the current status of the project, the expected performance, and its possible evolution in terms of an SST mini-array. This CTA-SST precursor, composed of a few SSTs and developed in collaboration with CTA international partners, could not only peruse the technological solutions adopted by ASTRI, but also address a few scientific test cases that are discussed in detail.