Alessandria is a city in Piedmont. The third largest city in Piedmont by number of inhabitants, its name perpetuates the memory of Pope Alexander III. Legend has it that, during the siege of the city by Federico Barbarossa in 1174, Gagliaudo Auleri, a poor shepherd, decided to feed his cow all the grain he possessed, and then go out to graze it. Barbarossa's troops immediately captured him and slaughtered the cow. To their amazement they discovered that the belly of the beast was full of wheat. They deduced that food was still abundant in the city and it would not surrender in a short time, so they gave up and Alexandria was liberated.

Geographic hints
Alessandria is a city that rises in the alluvial plain formed by the Tanaro and Bormida rivers, near their point of confluence; to the north it borders the Monferrato hills, rich in vineyards and to the south the first offshoots of the Ligurian Apennines. It is 36 km from Asti, 21 from Tortona, 39 from Voghera, 32 from Casale Monferrato.


When to go

Alessandria is characterized by a typically Po climate, with cold, foggy winters and hot, muggy summers. The rains are not very abundant (about 600 mm), and fall mainly in autumn and spring. It has a more continental climate than the rest of Piedmont. Winters, due to the greater number of foggy days, tend to be more rigid (average of +0.4 degrees in January), while summers are sultry but much sunnier and drier: the hottest month, July, has a average temperature of +24 degrees and it is also the driest, with 32 mm of rain often concentrated in one or two thunderstorms (At the height of summer, Atlantic storms tend to flow much further north).

The city was born in the second half of the 12th century with the toponym of Civitas Nova on an already existing urban nucleus consisting of the ancient village of Rovereto. The city was officially founded in 1168 and in that year it assumed its present name in honor of Pope Alexander III, who in that period promulgated the actions against the Holy Roman Empire and who had excommunicated Frederick Barbarossa.

On 29 October 1174 Alexandria suffered an attack by the imperial forces which had already conquered Susa and Asti in the previous months and which however remained blocked in front of the moat that surrounded the city: thus began a long siege which ended on 12 April 1175, Good Friday, with the surrender of Barbarossa's men. In 1183, after the Peace of Constance and on the orders of the Empire, the city assumed the name of Cesarea, but kept it for a short time. In 1198 it became a free municipality.

In the Middle Ages, Alessandria for over two centuries maintained the condition of a free municipality, coming into conflict with the nearby Casale, which was still part of the Marquisate of Monferrato, with Asti and with Pavia, which feared its possible expansion. The city, then known by the name of Alessandria della palude, later passed under the protection of the Visconti and subsequently under the Duchy of Milan. It was probably at the beginning of the 13th century that a Jewish community settled in the city and later founded a synagogue there.

In 1707 it was conquered by the Savoys and in 1802, after the battle of Marengo, it was annexed to France together with the whole region. Conquered in 1814 by the Austrians after the treaties of Paris, it was returned to the Savoys. During the Risorgimento, Alessandria was an important liberal center. The birth of the railways and the increase in trade in Northern Italy at the end of the 19th century transformed Alessandria into one of the focal points for the Italian market. Due to its position, at the center of the connections between Turin, Milan and Genoa, the city experienced a great demographic increase in this period. Under Fascism Alessandria maintained its importance; in the thirties important public buildings and architectural works were erected, such as the Dispensario Antiturbercolare, designed by Ignazio Gardella and the Palazzo delle Poste e dei Telegrafi, designed by the architect Franco Petrucci and decorated with mosaics by Gino Severini.

During the Second World War, the city suffered repeated heavy aerial bombardments and its Synagogue was looted and partially destroyed. After the war, Alessandria followed the fortunes of Northern Italy, experiencing initially that development and that form of well-being that spread in the North during the sixties with the economic boom, also experiencing the immigration of people from the southern regions and reaching exceed 100,000 inhabitants in 1970.

Subsequently, when the effects of the economic boom subsided, Alexandria experienced a demographic decline. In 1998 it became the headquarters, together with Novara and Vercelli, of the University of Eastern Piedmont "Amedeo Avogadro".


How to orient yourself

Its historic center is enclosed between the avenues that have replaced the ancient fortifications; still today they are not called avenues as in many other cities, but stands. Piazza della Libertà is the heart of the city that brings together the main administration buildings at the municipal and supra-municipal level, and services; nearby is the nucleus of the religious city, with the cathedral. The architectural aspect of Alessandria is permeated by the elegant and austere Savoy style that derives from the important urban interventions of the late nineteenth century and unites it to many other Piedmontese cities.

Its extensive municipal area, the largest in the region, includes the towns of Astuti, Cabanette, Cantalupo, Casalbagliano, Cascinagrossa, Castelceriolo, Gerlotti, Litta Parodi, Lobbi, Mandrogne, San Giuliano Nuovo, San Giuliano Vecchio, San Michele, as well as the city. , Spinetta Marengo, Valmadonna, Valle San Bartolomeo and Villa del Foro.


Getting here

By plane
The closest and most convenient airports to reach are Turin, Linate and Milan Malpensa (via Gravellona), both in just over an hour.

By car
It has toll booths:
A21 motorway on the A21 Turin - Brescia motorway: Alessandria east and Alessandria west; this motorway crosses the A7 motorway a short distance from the city. Motorway A7 Milan - Genoa;
A26 motorway on the A26 Genova - Gravellona Toce motorway: Alessandria south

On the train
Railway station, Piazzale Curiel, 8. Timetables, reservations and ticket sales on the Trenitalia website.
Milan, Genoa and Turin are all about an hour away by train.

By bus
Troiolo Bus, Corso Garibaldi, 185 - Siderno, ☎ +39 0964 381325, fax: +39 0964 381325, The company allows the direct connection of Alessandria with Africo, Ardore, Badolato, Bianco, Bovalino, Brancaleone, Catanzaro, Catanzaro Lido, Caulonia, Davoli, Guardavalle, Isca sull'Ionio, Lamezia Terme, Locri, Marina di Gioiosa Ionica, Monasterace, Montepaone, Polistena, Riace, Roccella Jonica, Rosarno, Sant'Andrea Apostolo dello Jonio, Santa Caterina, Siderno, Soverato, Squillace, Taurianova and Vibo Valentia; not all connections are daily.


Transport around city

The center can be easily explored on foot or by bike.

By public transport
For all the information relating to the urban public transport lines, consult the ATM website.

By taxi
Taxi, Piazza della Libertà, 3, ☎ +39 0131 253031.
Taxi, Piazzale Stazione F.S., ☎ +39 0131 251632.

By car
For all information relating to parking, consult the ATM website


What see

Palatium Vetus. The palace, in the central Piazza della Libertà, was built around 1170. It served as a Broletto in the 13th and 14th centuries, therefore the center of the political, administrative and judicial life of the medieval municipality. After many vicissitudes, in 1856 the Municipality of Alessandria gave it to the State which arranged the guardhouse of the Division Headquarters. Until 1995, the building housed the Presidium and the Military District and, since 2012, it has been the headquarters of the Alessandria savings bank foundation which has fully financed the restoration.
Palazzo del Municipio (Palazzo Rosso (from the color of the facade)). Built in the 18th century, it features a particular three-dial clock (note the cockerel on the top stolen by the Alessandrini from the Casalesi in 1225); destroyed by war bombing in 1944, the building that stands today is the result of a subsequent reconstruction.
Palazzo Ghilini. Built by Tommaso Ottaviano Antonio Ghilini, Marquis of the homonymous family, it is today the seat of the Provincial Administration and the Prefecture. Designed by Benedetto Alfieri in 1733, with exquisite Baroque shapes, it is considered the most beautiful and monumental in the city.
Palazzo Guasco, Via Guasco. Located in the homonymous via Guasco, its history dates back to the first centuries after the foundation of the city. The current conformation is from the eighteenth century. The right wing of the building is today the seat of some sections of the Provincial Administration. Awaiting restoration of some halls of the building which retain the eighteenth-century architectural structure. The left wing of the building, on the other hand, is still private property. Noteworthy is the small theatre, not open to the public, inside the private wing.
Palazzo dal Pozzo, Piazzetta Santa Lucia. Dating back to the eighteenth century, its style is purely Baroque. The palace belonged to the marquises dal Pozzo, one of the most important families in Alessandria. The marquises dal Pozzo also owned all the blocks around via Maestra (now via Milano), starting from the small square of San Giovanni delle Rane (now the small square of Santa Lucia) up to the small square of Monserrato.
It was built in the second half of the eighteenth century, by an unknown architect in the typical Piedmontese Baroque style, on two floors above ground as required by the use of the place and according to military needs. The facade is made richer by very beautiful wrought iron balconies and the windows alternate angular and curvilinear elements in their tympanums, creating an excellent ratio of full and empty spaces. From some architectural elements found on the ground floor, it is assumed that the building must have had an internal courtyard-garden.
The staircase, which is rich in stucco, is built with motifs that simulate hanging vaults and is appreciable for its relationships and proportions. On the main floor, in the typical style of eighteenth-century houses, there are the rooms used for servants aligned one to the other on the internal and external front. According to the Alessandrian historian Fausto Bima "The building has two characteristics: that of all well-proportioned rooms, without the usual contrast of height and size between halls and lounges and that of a series of decorations on the walls and ceilings which they represent the average of what was used in a Piedmontese patrician house in the second half of the 18th century. Nothing modest and not even anything ostentatiously sumptuous: the golden mean".
From 1862 to 1868, the building housed the Società del Casino and for a few decades the Notarial Archives and from 1962 to 1982 again the Società del Casino. edit
Triumphal arch, via Dante. It was erected in 1768 in memory of the visit of Vittorio Amedeo III and Maria Antonia of Spain. It is a rare example of an eighteenth-century arch.
Prati Palace of Rovagnasco. Built in the mid-eighteenth century by the Marquis Carlo Giacinto Prati, the current building was restructured and partly altered after the Second World War and is distributed over three floors which wind in a U-shaped plan around a central courtyard: a main body that overlooks via XXIV Maggio and two side wings along via Giuseppe Verdi and via San Giacomo della Vittoria. The typical decorative elements of the Baroque style are reduced according to a taste now oriented, as in contemporary buildings, towards forms of classical austerity, so much so that the building can be considered the most severe among the stately homes of the 18th century in Alessandria.
Villa Guerci.
Anti-tuberculosis dispensary and provincial hygiene and prophylaxis laboratory. Works by Ignazio Gardella, built between 1934 and 1939, are considered masterpieces of Italian Rationalist architecture.
Post Office building. Built between 1939 and 1941 in a purely rationalist style, it is decorated with a 38-metre long mosaic by Gino Severini on the façade. The distinctive mosaic tells the story of telegraph and postal services.
Borsalino house. Work of the architect Ignazio Gardella designed between 1949 and 1951 and built in 1952.
Cathedral, Piazza Giovanni XXIII. Almost adjacent to piazza della Libertà is the small and elegant piazza del Duomo, with the new neoclassical cathedral of (1810-1849) which preserves the wooden statue of the Madonna della Salve inside; on the left side of the façade stands Gagliaudo holding a Lodi cheese, a Romanesque sculpture depicting the Alexandrian hero who, according to legend, distinguished himself during the siege of Barbarossa. Note on the right side of the Cathedral the very tall and imposing bell tower in eclectic taste, built on several occasions between the last decade of the 19th century and 1922; with its 106 meters of height it is the third highest in Italy after the bell tower of Mortegliano and the Torrazzo of Cremona. The bell tower contains a concert of 5 bells in C3 major.
Santa Maria di Castello, Piazza Santa Maria di Castello. Built over an earlier church in the 14th century, the remains of which can still be found under the floor. The oldest church in the city, located in the ancient village of Rovereto, blends in its structure styles from different eras, such as the late Romanesque construction with the Renaissance portal and, inside, various works from later eras (the crucifix, the altar, the baptismal font, the sacristy). Also in the basement you can see the remains of two previous churches. At the beginning of the 12th century it was governed by the secular canons; in 1268 it passed to the Monks of Santa Croce di Mortara, then in the 15th century to the Lateran Canons until the order was suppressed in 1798.
After the Napoleonic period, entrusted to the Somaschi Fathers and then to the Sisters of Charity, it was used for civil and hospital uses with the adjoining convent during the wars of the Risorgimento and the First World War. After 1918 the Salesian nuns opened a school there.
Church of San Gaudentius martyr. Greek-Byzantine Rite Catholic Church built in 1994 for the Romanian, Moldovan, Serbian, Montenegrin, Greek, Bulgarian communities and for the Serbian minority of Croatia.
Church of Our Lady of Loreto, Via Plana. Built by the Dominicans between 1828 and 1833, it became municipal property in 1855; the adjoining convent housed the Liceo Ginnasio. The church returned to the Dominicans in the nineteenth century, and they built a new convent there; the previous one remained used as a school.
Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, Via Guasco. Around the middle of the fourteenth century it was built by the Carmelites according to the dictates of the Gothic, then enlarged from 1466 until the end of the sixteenth century. Used as a military hospital during the War of the Austrian Succession in the eighteenth century, it was restored from 1865 with works that lasted until 1954.
Church of Saints Sebastiano and Dalmazzo, Via San Dalmazzo. It was rebuilt by the Benedictines on the site of a previous church in 1741. Deconsecrated at the end of the 19th century, it then returned to worship and in 1955 was given to the Apostle Sisters of the Sacred Heart.
Church of Santa Maria "Domus Magnae", Via Ghilini. The name derives from having been built near a large house that reached up to via Dante. Already documented in 1486, it belonged to the Observant Minors. In the eighteenth century it was rebuilt. In the second half of the twentieth century it was used by the Police Headquarters. It is now municipal property.
Church of the Blessed Virgin of the Assumption, Via Guasco/via Canefri. Formerly dedicated to San Rocco, it stands at the crossroads of several roads and was probably built on the occasion of a plague. Documented for the first time in 1618, the church was rebuilt in 1788 and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. It is sponsored by some families.
Church of the Blessed Virgin of Grace, Via Mondovì. The first fifteenth-century building was rebuilt in 1663; Further transformations have brought the small church to its current appearance, which houses the ancient simulacrum of the Virgin which popular tradition calls the Madonnina.
Church of the Blessed Virgin of Monserrato, Piazzetta Monserrato. Its construction dates back to the first decades of the seventeenth century; the church is the only public building left among those built in the period during which the city was dominated by the Spaniards, particularly devoted to the Virgin of Monserrato.
Former Jesuit College, Piazza Santo Stefano. It was the Society of Jesus who built the building in the first half of the eighteenth century. It originally occupied an area of six thousand square meters. With the suppression of the Company in 1773, the large complex was used as a barracks, a military district, a shelter for the homeless during the war. It now houses homes.
Church of Saints Stefano and Martino, Piazza Santo Stefano. The Servites built it in the eighteenth century; with the suppression of the order it became a warehouse. It returned to the parish seat in the early nineteenth century, adding San Martino to the title; the small convent annexed to the building became the rectory.
Church of Saints Lucia and Paul, Piazzetta Santa Lucia. It was built on the previous temple dedicated to San Giovanni delle rane, documented in the fifteenth century, which became the seat of four brotherhoods between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The ancient church was demolished in 1751; the new one was consecrated in 1759. On the occasion of the feast of Santa Lucia on 13 December, the square becomes a place for sacred and profane celebrations, with stalls offering the traditional Lecabon.
Synagogue, Via Milano. It rises in the area of the old ghetto, imposed by the Savoy from 1723 to 1848. It is a monumental example of an Italian nineteenth-century synagogue. The temple has a neo-Gothic style facade with three orders of windows with pilasters and white moldings. A plaque today commemorates the deportees of the Holocaust. Inside you enter the winter temple, now normally used for functions, and through a long corridor to the staircase that leads to the large room on the first floor, lit by large polychrome glass windows. The original ark was destroyed during the looting of the Second World War and was replaced by that of the Nizza Monferrato synagogue, now dismantled. The women's gallery has a loggia on the entrance wall, with two superimposed orders.
Military citadel. It rises on the left bank of the Tanaro river. It is an imposing military building built on a project by Ignazio Bertola, one of the most important in the world. The construction, commissioned by Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy in the 18th century, involved the evacuation and demolition of the entire Borgoglio district. Owned by the State Property Agency, it can be visited today thanks to the guides prepared by the FAI: it has a star-shaped plan, with six bastions surrounded by moats. Of notable architectural-military interest are the military quarters with the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century buildings.

Natural monuments
Napoleon's plane tree. Along the former state road n. 10 which connects Alessandria to Spinetta Marengo stands the so-called Napoleone plane tree, one of the largest monumental trees in Italy. Legend has it that it was planted in 1800 following the victory over the Austrians at the battle of Marengo. The plane tree, of the Platanus occidentalis species, is forty meters high and has a circumference at the base of the trunk of almost eight metres. It seems that until the beginning of the 20th century there were still five surviving examples of a complete avenue that reached from the gates of Alessandria to Marengo. Coordinates of the plane tree: +44° 54' 28.17", +8° 38' 23.70".


Night clubs

The Alessandria area, being close to Monferrato and Langhe, has excellent wines. For beer, there are several pubs in the city that offer from simple draft beers to more sought-after craft beers. As for cocktails, they are found almost everywhere even if it is difficult for them to be prepared properly.
John's Pub, Via Mondovì, 12 (Near Piazza Garibaldi). They serve a very honest draft Gordon Gold for less than 5 euros. edit
Britannia (In the stadium area). Until late at night. edit
Gasthaus (In the stadium area). Until late at night. edit
Caffè degli Artisti, Via Vochieri, 11 (Near the Piazzetta della Lega). Great place for cocktails. edit

The downtown area offers various places which, especially during the weekend, fill up with customers based on the fashions of the year. In the late evening, however, the situation languishes, moving to those few places that stay open late without offering much and often asking for too high prices. In the surroundings of Alessandria there are various discos, above all the Luna Rossa and a few places for live music.


Where to eat

There are numerous pastry shops, some very famous for their pastas and cakes. As for the traditional Alessandrian dishes, many come from the poor cuisine of the peasants, today highly sought-after dishes including agnolotti, bagna caoda, risotto al Barolo, green rabaton, mixed boiled meat, chicken marengo, green bath, bonet.

The wines are also exceptionally good as they come from the nearby hills of Monferrato and the Langhe. Some notable examples are: Barbera, Barolo, Grignolino, Freisa, Ruche, Malvasia di Casorzo and many others.

Average prices
The Cluster.
Group of greedy.



It rises about 100 meters above sea level. in the alluvial plain formed by the Tanaro and Bormida rivers, near their confluence point. Thanks to its position in the center of the Turin-Genoa-Milan triangle, the city is an important motorway and railway junction with a sorting terminal, located in the south-west of the passenger station. It is served by the A21 motorway and the A26 motorway. It is a city characterized by long and wide multi-lane avenues and by large and airy squares.



Alessandria is characterized by a typically Po valley climate with cold and foggy winters and hot and sultry summers. The rains are not very abundant (about 600 mm), and fall mainly in autumn and spring. Alessandria has a more continental climate than the rest of Piedmont. The winters, due to the greater number of foggy days, tend to be more rigid (average of +0.4 degrees in January), while the summers are sultry but much sunnier and drier: the hottest month, July, has a average temperature of +24 degrees and it is also the driest, with 32 mm of rain often concentrated in one or two thunderstorms (at the height of summer the Atlantic perturbations tend to flow much further north).



Ancient age
Before the Roman conquest the territory of Alexandria was inhabited by the Statielli, a population that belonged to the Ligurian group. Towards the end of the third century BC the Roman conquest of Cisalpine Gaul took place, during which a large part of the Ligurian population was exterminated. In 42 BC the province of Cisalpine Gaul was abolished and incorporated into Roman Italy. One of the Roman camps on the Tanaro probably became the village of Bergoglio. Following the fall of the Roman Empire and the establishment of the Ostrogothic and Longobard kingdoms, the territory was reorganized into courts, including that of Marengo; here, in the 8th century, the Tower of Teodolinda was built.

Medieval age
The control of Italy in 774 passed from the Lombards to the Carolingian Empire. The birth of the Rovereto court probably dates back to this period, and will play a central role in the birth of Alessandria. In 962 the king of Germany Otto I of Saxony conquered the kingdom of Italy and established the Holy Roman Empire. The Italian cities, however, maintained great autonomy and were forced to pay taxes to the emperor only when he traveled to Italy. Federico Barbarossa decided that the situation had to change, so he instituted the diet of Roncaglia and, in 1162, destroyed Milan, the most important town of the time. The other municipalities then decided to unite to fight against the emperor, to maintain their autonomy, so they created the Lombard League. To attract Barbarossa to Italy, the League decided to create a new civitas, an act that was an exclusively imperial privilege. The city, known simply as Civitas Nova, was established in the territory of Rovereto, both because it was located near the lands of the Marquis of Monferrato, a faithful ally of the empire, and because, positioned between the Tanaro and Bormida rivers, it enjoyed a easily defensible. The city was populated with the contribution of the neighboring villages and fortified with funds from the municipality of Genoa. On May 3, 1168 the three consuls of Civitas Nova signed the adhesion to the Lombard League near Lodi and two years later the city was offered to Pope Alexander III, who agreed to make it his fief and, in doing so, to legitimize the struggle. of the communes against the empire. The name of the city was then changed to Alexandria, to make explicit its belonging to the State of the Church.

The provocation of the municipalities had the desired effect: the emperor arrived in Italy in 1174 and on 29 October, after having destroyed Susa and obtained the surrender of Asti, he laid siege to Alexandria. Beyond all expectations, the Alexandrians resisted the attacks throughout the winter; on 12 April the emperor surrendered, as the League army was moving in defense of Alexandria. The armies met near Montebello, but instead of fighting they suspended hostilities to negotiate peace. The failure of the negotiations resulted in the famous battle of Legnano, which constituted a clear defeat for Federico Barbarossa. However, during the Peace of Constance control of Alexandria passed directly to the emperor and the city was renamed Caesarea (Kaiserstadt).


The free municipality

The city was granted as a fief to Bonifacio I del Monferrato in 1193. A few years later, however, the citizens of the city rebelled against the imperial authority, abandoning the name Cesarea and making an alliance with the nearby Asti and Vercelli, but the dispute was resolved by the arbitration of the municipalities of Milan and Piacenza. A period of truce thus began for Alessandria and the marquisate of Monferrato, characterized by countless diplomatic disputes and sporadic alliances. Allies of Vercelli, the Alexandrians participated in the destruction of Casale Monferrato in 1215: on this occasion the Alexandrian soldiers stole the bodies of the saints Evasio, Natale and Proietto from the cathedral of Casale, and two brass statues representing a cockerel and an angel, which placed on the pinnacles of their cathedral. The clashes with Monferrato were rekindled in 1228, when Bonifacio II allied himself with Asti and waged war in Alessandria. The intervention of the second Lombard League, which besieged Mombaruzzo, convinced the marquis to surrender.

In the second half of the 13th century, the political equilibrium of Piedmont changed, due to the expansionist aims of the house of Anjou. Alexandria, together with many other municipalities, therefore decided to appoint William VII of Monferrato as captain of the city. In 1291, however, the citizens of Asti, also subjected to William VII, promised the Alexandrians 85,000 gold florins in exchange for the capture of the marquis. Lured to the city under a pretext, William VII was imprisoned and starved to death a few months later. His son Giovanni I waged war against Asti and subdued it, but died without heirs in 1303. Charles II of Anjou took the opportunity to occupy all the towns south of the Tanaro, establishing the county of Piedmont.

In 1345, following the battle of Gamenario, the army of Monferrato and that of the municipality of Milan divided the Angevin lands; Alexandria, therefore, passed under the protection of Luchino Visconti. The victory in the battle of Alessandria allowed Gian Galeazzo Visconti to unify his territories in the Duchy of Milan. The centralization of power in the hands of the duke, however, pushed the citizens of Alessandria to rise up in 1403. The revolt was quelled by the Casalese leader Facino Cane, who took advantage of it to return the bodies of the saints stolen two centuries earlier to Casale. The leader, who dreamed of creating his own state, made himself lord of Alexandria, but with his death in 1412, the city returned to full possession of the Visconti.

In 1447 the Visconti dynasty died out and the citizens of Milan proclaimed the Ambrosian republic. Charles of Valois, Duke of Orleans and lord of Asti boasted a right over the dukedom and, therefore, began the invasion of the Milanese lands by sacking and destroying the castles of Annone and Felizzano. The Alexandrians, led by Bartolomeo Colleoni, broke the siege of Bosco Marengo and defeated the Asti inhabitants, putting an end to the claim of the Orléans.

Modern Age
The Alessandria countryside, therefore, remained permanently in the Milanese lands and its fate followed: at first the Sforza family restored the duchy, which was then occupied several times by the French, guilty of sacking the city in September 1527, and finally it became a Spanish province. With the submission first to Milan and then to Spain, Alexandria lost the autonomy that had characterized it since its foundation, but the stability gained allowed it to develop and become an important commercial hub between Genoa and Lombardy. The bridge over the Tanaro, whose construction had begun in 1455 by the will of Francesco Sforza, was equipped with a new flooring and a roof during the seventeenth century.

The city was also affected by the Franco-Spanish war: the French army, led by Armando di Borbone and that of Modena, led by Francesco I d'Este, besieged the city in 1657, but were unsuccessful and Alexandria remained Spanish. .

In 1707, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Alexandria was occupied by the imperial army, commanded by Prince Eugene. At the end of the conflict, the Utrecht treaty sanctioned its annexation to the Duchy of Savoy. The strategic position of the city, bordering the Lombard provinces in the hands of Austria, prompted Vittorio Amedeo II to fortify it militarily, building an imposing star-shaped citadel, which took the place of Bergoglio. The defeat in the battle of Bassignana and the subsequent French siege of the new citadel seemed to mark the fate of the Savoy in the war of the Austrian succession, but the situation was reversed by the subsequent battle of Piacenza.

Contemporary Age
The Napoleonic period

The first campaign of Italy, due to the expansionist aims of revolutionary France, caused the French occupation of the citadel. The Russian army, a member of the second coalition and commanded by Aleksandr Vasil'evič Suvorov, drove out the French in 1799. With the French victory in the second campaign of Italy, concluded by the battle of Marengo, fought in the Alexandrian territory, the entire duchy of Savoy passed under the French occupation. The official annexation to France took place two years later, in 1802, and Alexandria became the capital of the department of Marengo. Napoleon decided on major architectural renovations for the city: the citadel was enlarged and fortified and the old gothic cathedral was demolished in favor of a new one, in neoclassical style. The brass rooster stolen from the Casalesi was moved to the town hall, while the angel disappeared. Subsequently, in 1814, the city was conquered by the Austrians and on May 30 of that same year, after the Treaty of Paris, it returned to be part of the Duchy of Savoy.

The Renaissance
The Piedmontese insurrection of March 1821, included in the context of the uprisings of 1820-1821, departed from Alessandria: the insurgents, led by Santorre di Santarosa, took control of the citadel and proclaimed the constitution, hoisting a tricolor flag for the first time in history of the Risorgimento (it is not clear whether green, white and red or other colors) The revolt, which failed, pushed Carlo Felice of Savoy to yield to the pressure of the Austrian empire, which had previously proposed a preventive occupation of the citadel to the king of Sardinia to fight a possible insurrection, aiming to move the western border of the empire in Alexandria. The citadel underwent foreign occupation for two years. Andrea Vochieri and five soldiers who had participated in the insurrection were later shot.

In 1834 the demolition of the walls began, which ended only in the sixties of the twentieth century.

In 1847 the city was incorporated into the kingdom of Sardinia. The Austrian victory in the first Italian war of independence led to the armistice of Vignale, with which Austria obtained, for the second time, permission to occupy the citadel. This time, however, for a few months, thanks to pressure from France and England, who considered the conditions imposed too severe. Furthermore, during the war, the Sardinian government, which feared an Austrian advance, decided to remove the cover of the bridge, so as to facilitate its eventual demolition. In October 1859 it was chosen as one of the first four Piedmontese provinces. In 1861 the kingdom of Sardinia became the kingdom of Italy.

Italian Alexandria
The birth of the railways and the increase in trade in Northern Italy at the end of the nineteenth century transformed Alessandria into one of the nerve centers for the Italian market. Due to its position, between Turin, Milan and Genoa, the city experienced a great demographic increase, which led to an expansion of the city territory, and to an important industrial development, testified by the success of companies such as Paglieri cosmetics, Gandini perfumes. and, above all, Borsalino, whose production of characteristic felt hats became famous all over the world. In 1891 the new bridge over the Tanaro was inaugurated, in brick and stone. On 25 July 1899 it became the first Italian provincial capital city to be governed by a majority socialist junta.

During the Second World War, the city suffered repeated and heavy aerial bombardments and its synagogue was sacked and partially destroyed.

After the war, Alessandria followed the fate of northern Italy, initially knowing that development and that form of well-being that spread to the north with the economic boom. The city was also shaken by the news events with a political background that bloodied Italy in the seventies: on 9 and 10 May 1974, a revolt inside the prison was tragically resolved, with 7 people dead and 14 injured: this episode was remembered as the "Massacre of Alexandria". Furthermore, it was in a farmhouse near the Piedmontese city that the first meetings of the Red Brigades group were held and the Gancia kidnapping took place.

On November 6, 1994, Alessandria was heavily hit by a severe flood, which hit large residential areas (especially the Orti, Rovereto, Borgoglio, Borgo Cittadella, Astuti and San Michele districts) and various hamlets, causing the death of eleven people.

In 1998 the city became the seat, together with Novara and Vercelli, of the University of Eastern Piedmont "Amedeo Avogadro". In 2001 a new bridge over the Tanaro was inaugurated, the Tiziano bridge; the Cittadella bridge was also rebuilt again in 2016.