CITTADELLA - temporaneamente chiusa

The Citadel and its role in the historical events of the city of Alessandria. The Citadel of Alessandria arose following 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 State of Savoy 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 State of Savoy, which included a system of forts to barricade the Alpine access points to the lowland: the fort of Bard to control the Great and Small 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, he 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 State of Savoy. The Citadel was again the setting of history during the 1821 insurrections: 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 insurrections, 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. From 1943 to 1945, the Citadel was occupied by the Germans. In the 1950s, it became the headquarters of the 52nd Heavy Field Artillery Regiment. To this day, the Citadel of Alessandria is one of the most impressive 18th century European monuments of permanent fortification. The demolition of the district of Borgoglio Following the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), it was necessary for Victor Amadeus II to be familiar with the condition of the fortified works in the new situation of the State of Savoy. Considering the defence difficulties of the stronghold of Alessandria, it was decided to build the Citadel. The Citadel arose in the urban area of the district of [...] continues on

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