Fortresses in Piemonte, magnificence in defence of the borders
Numerous architectures bear witness to Piemonte's military past, starting from the mountains around Turin: the spectacular Fenestrelle Fort (Forte di Fenestrelle), a monument symbolic of the Metropolitan City of Torino, with its 4,000 steps and an artificial tunnel having two-metre thick walls; Exilles Fort (Forte di Exilles) which the earliest documents date back to the second-half of 1100, Bramafam Fort (Forte Bramafam) in the Bardonecchia basin, built between 1885 and 1894 to control the Frejus Tunnel and defend the local area from any French attacks; Chaberton Fort, situated between Cesana and Clavière, is also a sentinel standing on the border: now in French territory, it remains the clearest and most well-known example of the use of a mountain for war purposes. It is also the highest fort in Europe.
In the capital, the monumental door of the Cittadella is all that remains of the magnificent fortress, the symbol of Torino as the capital of an absolute State.
In lower Piemonte the fortresses are beautifully preserved and intact, such as the Cittadella of Alessandria - a national monument and one of the most important and grandiose permanent fortifications in Europe, the only one still remaining in its original context and practically intact. The Gavi Fort, first an ancient castle and later converted into a mighty fortress in 1540 by Giovanni Maria Olgiati, a military engineer in the service of the Republic of Genoa. Finally, in the province of Cuneo, the Vinadio Fort, in the Stura di Demonte Valley, considered among the most significant examples of military architecture of the entire Alpine arc, commissioned by King Charles Albert and built between 1834 and 1847.
Stone bulwarks constructed in defence of the Savoy state are now the site of pleasant excursions, for visitors to discover the events of a glorious past: in Piemonte, the variety of fortresses and castles represents a fully-fledged journey into history and legend, an adventure back in time.