CITTADELLA

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The Citadel of Alessandria was built as a result of the Treaty of the Alliance League, stipulated in 1703, during the War of the Spanish Succession, between the Emperor of Austria and Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy: the provinces of Alessandria and Valenza and the lands situated between the River Po and the River Tanaro were ceded to the Duke, as a reward for having fought at the side of the Habsburg Empire. The city of Alessandria was not officially annexed to the territories of the Savoy State until 1707. The need to build a fortified citadel to protect the city was immediately clear. It would have a hexagonal shape, be made of brick and designed by the military engineer Ignazio Bertola. The construction of the Citadel of Alessandria was part of a vast programme to defend the Savoy State, which included a system of forts to barricade the Alpine access points to the lowland: the fort of Bard to control the Great and Little St. Bernard Passes, the Brunetta fort in Susa and the Fenestrelle fort in Val Chisone. The forts of Cuneo and Saorgio and that of Ceva in the Tanaro Valley already existed. The Citadel would become the core element of the Piedmont defence system. Following the defeat of the Piedmontese troops in the First Italian Campaign (1796) of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Citadel and the city of Alessandria fell under French rule. Three years later the Austrian-Russian forces forced the French to lay down their arms. However, just a few months later, on 14 June 1800, following the Battle of Marengo, the French again took possession of the fortress and the city. Napoleon ordered the demolition of all the fortresses of the Piedmont defence system, except for the Fort of Fenestrelle and the Citadels of Turin and Alessandria: indeed, the Corsican commander intended to make the latter the greatest French defence opera of the Po Valley and essential logistics centre for military operations in Italy. Alessandria took on the role of a large entrenched camp, resting on the existing Citadel and on another that would be built on the banks of the Bormida, but the original project was never accomplished. With the fall of the French Empire, Alessandria was re-integrated into the Savoy State. The Citadel was again the setting of history during the 1821 uprisings: the soldiers of the Piedmontese garrison rose up and took possession of the Citadel, declaring loyalty to King Victor Emmanuel I, but demanding the proclamation of the Spanish Constitution. At first, Charles Albert, heir to the throne, offered but later withdrew his support. The constitutionalists raised the three-colour “carbonari” flag above the Citadel, proclaiming the Spanish Constitution and declaring war against Austria. Subsequently, the realist troops of Charles Felix, who succeeded Victor Emmanuel I to the throne, defeated the constitutional armies and suppressed the uprisings, reclaiming the stronghold of Alessandria. In 1833, the Citadel was the prison of Andrea Vochieri, a member of Giuseppe Mazzini's Giovine Italia. Between 1855 and 1857, new defence works were built: the forts of Bormida, Acqui and of the Railway. Alessandria became an entrenched camp to control the Tanaro-Bormida river system. During the Second War of Independence against Austria, once again, the Citadel and the entrenched camp of Alessandria were the centre of the defence system and the logistics centre of the French army of Napoleon III, who had come to the aid of Piedmont attacked by Austria. Following the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, the city became Army Command headquarters and the functions of the Citadel reduced to that of barracks to manage different regiments, including the 37th Infantry Regiment of the Ravenna Division, which was stationed there, on several occasions, until the Second World War. The Germans occupied the Citadel from 1943-1945 and it became the headquarters of the 52nd Heavy Field Artillery Regiment in the 1950s. To this day, the Citadel of Alessandria remains one of the most impressive 18th century permanent fortifications of Europe. Free admission.

Address and contacts
via Pavia, 2
1512x Alessandria (AL)
Alessandria

Telephone number: +39 0131 400.35
Links
http://www.cultural.it/danonperdere/cittadella.asp
Where we are

Cycle routes

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Monferrato’s  route 45
Monferrato’s route 45
Alessandria & Monferrato / San Salvatore Monferrato
  • 24 km
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GranTanaRando la ciclovia del fiume Tanaro
GranTanaRando la ciclovia del fiume Tanaro
Alessandria & Monferrato, Cuneo, Langhe Monferrato e Roero / Alessandria
  • 411 km
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Cycling the lands of San Giovanni Bosco
Cycling the lands of San Giovanni Bosco
Alessandria & Monferrato / Mirabello Monferrato
  • 62 km
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Itinerario Castellania - Oropa - Tappa 4 Da Tortona ad Alessandria
Itinerario Castellania - Oropa - Tappa 4 Da Tortona ad Alessandria
Alessandria & Monferrato / da Tortona a Alessandria
  • 51 km
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Itinerario Castellania Oropa - Tappa 5 Da Alessandria a Casale Monferrato
Itinerario Castellania Oropa - Tappa 5 Da Alessandria a Casale Monferrato
Alessandria & Monferrato / da Alessandria a Casale Monferrato
  • 51 km
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Pedalando lungo il fiume Tanaro
Pedalando lungo il fiume Tanaro
Alessandria & Monferrato / Alessandria
  • 41 km
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Piccole Fiandre del Monferrato
Piccole Fiandre del Monferrato
Alessandria & Monferrato / San Salvatore Monferrato
  • 104 km
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Seguendo il corso del Tanaro
Seguendo il corso del Tanaro
Alessandria & Monferrato / Alessandria
  • 40 km
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Sulle tracce (monferrine) di Cristoforo Colombo
Sulle tracce (monferrine) di Cristoforo Colombo
Alessandria & Monferrato / Alessandria
  • 49 km
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Tra colline del Monferrato e un po\' di... Ven.To
Tra colline del Monferrato e un po' di... Ven.To
Alessandria & Monferrato / Valenza
  • 40 km
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