What To Do In Alessandria?

You find Alessandria in the Po-Valley. It is between the Tanaro River, which runs straight through the city, and the Bormida River. Both rivers feed the Po River. The city is surrounded by the hills of Monferrato and Tortonese. There are vast vineyards, fertile agricultural land, and beautiful hamlets.

Alessandria is positioned in the geographical center of the capital cities of Lombardy (Milan), Piedmont (Turin) and Liguria (Genoa) and has almost 94,000 inhabitants. Due to this strategic location on the river, the area was already populated in the third century BC and was conquered by the Romans.

Strolling through the alleys of Alessandria with its numerous shops and cozy restaurants and bars is great. Then you can try the specialty of Alessandria, Bacio di Dama. It is a small, bite-size, chocolate cookie sandwich with a hazelnut chocolate cream in between.

What To See In Alessandria?

In the Liberation Square (Piazza della Libertà) you can see some impressive Palazzo. Construction of the “Palatium Vetus” began as early as 1170, when the city was founded. It served as the political and legal administrative center of Alessandria. The construction of other palaces in Piazza della Libertà dragged on for over a century and was repeatedly interrupted. There is the town hall and the Palazzo Ghilini, seat of the office of the provincial government and prefecture.

After Napoleon conquered Alessandria from the Austrians in 1800, the Piazza della Libertà was converted into a place for the armed forces. For this, the former cathedral, which was previously there, was demolished. Alessandria became the capital of the Napoleonic Département of Marengo.

The original cathedral of Alessandria from 1170 was dedicated to Saint Peter and was in today’s Piazza della Libertà. When it became too small for the growing population, a new cathedral was built in the same place at the end of the 13th century. However, Napoleon decided to destroy the cathedral to make room for his army in the piazza.  Napoleon issued a decree in 1810 to build a new cathedral. For this purpose, the church of San Marco with the convent was converted and consecrated to Saint Peter in the same year. Today’s Alessandria Cathedral is in Piazza Giovanni XXIII.

The Gallery Guerci is located between Via San Giacomo della Vittoria and Via San Lorenzo. Guerci was an entrepreneur and master builder from Alessandria and had the covered passage built around 1895. During World War II, the Galleria Guerci was destroyed by a bomb, but later rebuilt. The Galleria Guerci is privately owned and is closed by wrought iron gates. There are shops in the gallery that are open to the public. Inside the Galleria there is a Borsalino shop where you can buy a nice hat from the oldest luxury Italian brand from Alessandria.

If your travel takes you to Alessandria then why not buy a hat? Yes, the famous Borsalino originates from Alessandria. The factory started in 1857. It is now the oldest Italian luxury brand in Italy. The hats for men and women are beautiful, timeless, elegant. Some are iconic classics. Think Humphrey Bogart and Laurel Beical in the Casablanca movie. There is the Museo del Cappello Borsalino in Via Camillo Cavour 84, but it is currently closed for renovation.

If you are in Alessandria you can head to the Borsalino store in the Galleria Guerci.

The citadel is one of the largest military buildings. It was built in 1728 under the king Vittorio Amedeo II. The Citadel with its hexagonal fortress ring and ramparts extends for over 3 km. The Citadel was a fortress for the Italian armed forces since 1732 and subsequently as a logistic base. In 2007 the Italian army left the citadel. Now it must be re-enacted as a historical monument and venue for events and exhibitions.

The heart of the city lies in the pedestrian zone between the large Piazza della Libertà and the banks of the Tanaro. Two bridges cross the Tanaro. The most important bridge Cittadella connected the city with the Cittadella and was of strategic importance in history. It was demolished in 2009 and replaced by a new, modern bridge in 2016. The new and beautiful Richard Meier bridge was named after its famous American architect, but still retains the name Ponte Cittadella. It replaced the historic bridge, which had its origins in 1455 when it was built at the request of the Duke of Milan Francesco Sforza. The second bridge over the Tanaro is the Tiziano bridge, which was completed in 2001.

The cultural facilities of Alessandria are housed in a reconstructed building at Via Tripoli 8. Among other things, you find paintings of Pelizza da Volpedo here. He lived in Volpedo near Tortona. He devoted his talent to the people and landscapes around Volpedo. His main work “Il Quarto Stato” is exhibited in the Brera art gallery in Milan.
There is also a mineral collection in the museum.

When strolling through the cozy pedestrian zone of the city center, you will encounter small panels next to beautiful facades that refer to buildings worth seeing. Particularly striking are the “pasticcerie” with its delicious displays, which are inviting to try. Alessandria is known e.g. with its sweet specialties, the best known are “Bacio di Dama”, small hemispheres made from with chocolate biscuits.

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