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The Italian Campaign -- War of Austrian Succession

Fine manuscript map of the area between Alessandria, Asti, Valenza and the Val de Grana, illustrating the theater of war during the War of Austrian Succession.

The map illustrates the theater of war in Italy in December 1745, during the Italian Campaign.  The Convention of Turin of February 1742 between Austria and Sardinia caused  consternation in the Republic of Genoa. With the formalization of the relationship in the Treaty of Worms (1743), the government of Genoa became fearful. This fear of diplomatic isolation had caused the Genoese Republic to abandon its neutrality in the war and join the Bourbon cause. Consequently, the Genoese Republic signed a secret treaty with the Bourbon allies of France, Spain and Naples and in June 1745, Genoa declared war on Sardinia.

The Bourbon allies struck first in the spring of 1745. Accordingly, Count de Gages moved from Modena towards Lucca, the Gallispan army in the Alps under the new command of Marshal Maillebois advanced through the Italian Riviera to the Tanaro. In the middle of July 1745, the two armies were at last concentrated between the Scrivia and the Tanaro. A swift march on Piacenza drew the Austrian commander and in his absence the allies fell upon and completely defeated the Sardinians at Bassignano in September 1745, a victory which was quickly followed by the capture of Alessandria, Valenza and Casale Monferrato. Jomini calls the concentration of forces which effected the victory "Le plus remarquable de toute la Guerre".

The Citadel at Allesandria

The Citadel plan was commissioned by King Vittorio Amedeo II and effectively built, in 1732, by King Charles Emmanuel III. The project's architect was Ignazio Bertola. The fortress is a six-star hexagon shaped structure.

The Citadel was built entirely at the expense of the ancient quarter of Borgoglio (or Bergoglio) provoking strong urban revolution. It was completed in its main components in the forties of the 18th century while inside the fortified hexagon the buildings of the civilians were gradually demolished to make way for new military quarters and the inhabitants were forced to relocate, replaced by a garrison ever more numerous.

The Citadel was tested by fire the first time between 1745 and 1746 when it resisted the French-Spanish army for seven months, during the War of the Austrian Succession.