The city of the Acaja has a rich and compelling history behind it, documented by the Neolithic and Roman finds discovered in the surrounding archaeological sites. The most remote origins are uncertain, while the toponym “Fossano” appears in an inscription of 1236. As soon as it was born, the Municipality began to understand what it means to survive: it tried to do it through leagues and alliances that could help it in the fight against the powerful of era, Saluzzo and Monferrato, until, in 1314, he performed the act of dedication to the princes of Achaia. Entered the following century in the Savoy orbit, it went through a period of difficulty: the plague and the looting inflicted by the French occupied part of the sixteenth century, until the definitive affirmation of the Savoy. In 1566 Fossano obtained the title of city from Emanuele Filiberto and, in 1592, it was erected in the diocese. In the seventeenth century the city, despite the dynastic struggles, lived its “golden century”: demographic and economic expansion, artistic and cultural development in which Giovenale Boetto and Emanuele Tesauro operate. Once again occupied by the French, the city resumed its growth in the eighteenth century, when it became the provincial capital. The new cathedral, the hospital, the churches of San Filippo and Sant’Antonio Abate were erected; an Academy of remarkable cultural importance operated in the city; the silk industry was definitively consolidated and the town extended beyond the walls. In 1796 they arrived again, but it will be the last time, the French, entered the city peacefully. Also in Fossano the beginning of the nineteenth century led to the demolition of the walls and an urban reorganization of the concentric.
IThe symbol of Fossano is the castle, an imposing building built between 1324 and 1332 by the will of Prince Filippo d’Acaja, with whom the prince rewarded the city for the act of dedication of 1314. The effort to build the work was not indifferent and at the end it was constituted by four majestic towers placed at the corners of a quadrilateral, embattled walls, a moat and other fortifications. The castle, passed to the Savoy in the following century, will then be transformed into a noble palace, complete with an internal porticoed courtyard, halls, lounges and external windows. For a few months, in the sixteenth century, it will also host the ducal court of Emanuele Filiberto. At the end of the seventeenth century, the castle began its descending parabola: prison, barracks, new prison, new barracks. A decline interrupted only in the Sixties, when the building underwent restoration and reorganization interventions taking into account the sixteenth-century structures. After the restoration, the manor currently houses the Civic Library and is a space where the city is found for exhibitions, congresses and cultural activities. Fossano is also rich in churches and palaces, evident witnesses of its historical and artistic importance.
The city currently has 24,561 inhabitants and has about fifteen hamlets that can be easily reached: Sant’Albano Stura, Trinità and Bene Vagienna, a town characterised by ancient arcades and rich in valuable civil and religious buildings, such as the church of San Francesco. Walking along the Reale road one quickly reaches Marene, with the Salza castle and, in the inhabited center, that of the Marquis of Saluzzo, radically transformed in the nineteenth century.
On the horizon the very close Alps, a spectacle of grandeur and beauty that conquers, especially in winter when everything is covered with snow.
But in the plain it is not just about beauty: snow is indeed indispensable to protect the precious ones gathered under a sky that has few noises.
S. Martino castles
Several fortifications were built in the vicinity of Fossano. In the hamlet of S. Martino the castles of Motta, Mottellino and Perosine were located, which, belonging to the families of S. Giulia, later became baronies of the descendants of the Celebrini, already counts of Predosa.
In the hamlet of S. Vittore a beautiful tower was erected, which is still present fairly well preserved and incorporated into a rural house. Called Torre del Garbino, it was built around 1400, modified in 1675, restored in 1900 by F. Sacco: this is what we read on the tombstone.
In the hamlet of Murazzo a castle was erected which, owned by the Amintoni, passed to the Dionisy who, having moved to Fossano in 1240, recently founded, abandoned it. Construction went on like this and nothing remains today.
A tower, in the hamlet of S. Sebastiano, is the only remnant of a fortification. Formerly owned by the Olivola counts of Turin and then by the Bava-Beccaris, it is incorporated into a building called “Cascina Palazzo” and also “Villa Bianca”.
The Rinaldo castle was built on the left of the Stura stream. Owned by the Pasero family, in 1242 they abandoned it and moved to the new municipality of Fossano. Over time it was transformed into a rural dwelling.
Along the road that leads from Fossano to Marene, there once existed the castle of Villamirana, of which no traces remain. The scarce historical information only relates that it was endowed with a high tower and that the Operti were its lords.
Today, in the region of S. Lorenzo, there are three ancient towers and a central building known as the “Cascina del Castello”. It was built by the Bava family in the early 16th century and according to some by Antonio Bava who was ambassador of the Duke of Savoy to the French court and had to acquire some merit. It is certain that some of the family distinguished themselves against the community, if they were granted the privilege of raising a castle. In fact the Fossano statutes forbade nobles, who had sworn allegiance to the municipality, to build towers and castles.