What to see in Alessandria, one-day itinerary including the main monuments and places of interest in the historic center, including the Citadel and the Palatium Vetus.
Piedmont city located on the plain near the confluence of the Tanaro and Bormida rivers, Alessandria was founded in 1168 in honor of Pope Alexander III Bandinelli.
Its establishment represented an important defensive bulwark against Emperor Frederick I, called the Barbarossa, and was very useful to Genoese traders who had a friendly city along the paths of the Roman streets leading to the north.
The territory of the city of Alessandria has always been considered a border area with strategic-military value.
At the time of its foundation, the villages of Gamondio, Bergoglio, Marengo and Rovereto were already in place, which constituted the city, to which Castelletto d'Orba was later added.
In Rovereto there was already a church, where Santa Maria di Castello was built, which represents the oldest place in the city as, as evidenced by the traces of a pre-Romanesque building dating back to the period between the eighth and ninth centuries BC, to light after archaeological excavations and various restoration interventions.
The current building, consecrated on 15 January 1545, constitutes a beautiful example of late Gothic-Lombard style and preserves a significant artistic heritage inside.
Among the oldest buildings in Alexandria stands Palatium Vetus, a prestigious palace that was the center of the political, administrative and judicial life of the city during the medieval, Spanish and Savoy periods.
Today the building, which is the seat of the Alessandria savings bank, has a predominantly nineteenth-century appearance, but its origins date back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
The former Church of San Francesco, with the adjoining convent, was one of the main Gothic buildings in Alexandria, endowed with great archaeological and architectural value, but over time it has undergone heavy renovations which have largely turned.
The Cathedral of Alessandria, dedicated to Saints Peter and Marco, was rebuilt in the early nineteenth century in a neoclassical style on a previous Lombard Gothic church, dedicated to San Marco, as the ancient Cathedral dating back to 1178 had been demolished on order of Napoleon for military purposes.Recommended readings
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During the Middle Ages it is important to remember the presence in the city of the order of the Humiliates, which introduced new techniques for the processing of fabrics, especially wool.
The main factory was located in the San Giovanni del Cappuccio complex, corresponding to the current Church of San Rocco, rebuilt in 1799.
Recent restorations have brought to light, inside private homes at n.13 and 17 of via Lumelli, a large room for the processing of wool fabrics, known as Tinaio degli Umiliati.
On the left bank of the Tanaro stands the Citadel, built in 1728 by King Vittorio Amedeo II, where the ancient village of Bergoglio was located, razed to the ground to make way for the grandiose hexagonal military bastioned structure, designed by the engineer Ignazio Bertola, then completed by the engineer Pinto.
The citadel periodically hosts important events.
Among the main museums of Alessandria is the Civic Museum, located in the eighteenth-century Palazzo Cuttica, where you can admire the Di Negro Carpani archaeological collection, the illuminated choirs of the Convent of Santa Croce di Bosco Marengo, the Art Rooms, where the collections of the Pinacoteca Civica are on display, including the cycle of frescoes with scenes inspired by the history of Lancilloto and Artù, from the end of the fourteenth century.
The Borsalino Museum exhibits a historical collection of around 2000 hats.
The Marengo Museum, created in memory of the famous Napoleonic victory in Marengo, preserves many objects related to the battle.