Tags: Italy Citadel

Alessandria is situated in the south-east part of Piedmont, at the confluence of the Bormida and Tanaro rivers.

Its geographical position gave it a considerable strategic value in previous centuries and it is still an important railway junction.


Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa besieged it for several months between 1174 and 1175. It subsequently changed hands several times until the Treaty of Utrecht assigned it to the House of Savoy in 1713. The town had previously been fortified, but the enceinte, largely made up of the old medieval walls and earthworks, was rather weak. To at least partially remedy this it was decided to build a powerful hexagonal citadel in place of the Borgoglio suburb which occupied the river bank opposite the city. Construction began in 1732 and lasted thirteen years, being completed just in time to succesfully resist a French blockade during the War of the Austrian Succession.

The citadel would see action again in 1799 during the War of the Second Coalition. Defended by a small mixed French Cisalpine garrison it was besieged in July by a large Austro-Russian corps equipped with a powerful artillery train which fired over forty thousand shots and shell in a week, enabling a quick advance of the sap to the covert way and forcing the French commander General Gardanne to ask for terms soon after.

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Author: Marcello Invernizzi

Article and Image Source: fortified-places.com

Keywords: Alessandria,Fortifications,Piedmont,Italy


Marcello Invernizzi

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