The first historically reliable references to Saluzzo date from the first years of the eleventh century: together with other places in the county of Saluzzo of Auriate, the city of Saluzzo is mentioned in a testimony by Olderico Manfredi, Marquis of Turin. From the second half of the twelfth century to 1495, the history of the city of Saluzzo was linked to the eponymous county of the powerful Ardunian family.
Its natural location at the foot of the Alpine valleys and the disagreement of its rivals allowed the small state to become strong, to defend itself and to survive the never-ending disputes between large and rich communities such as Asti and rulers like the Angioini. Around 1350, under the pressure of the growing threat from the Sabauda, the marquise had to lean more and more on the Duphin and then even on the French crown. In doing so, they received, of course, not selfless protection and increasingly came under French control. Under Ludovico I (1416-75) and Ludovico II (1475-1504) the county of Saluzzo reached its peak in economic expansion, wealth, social and political security, art and culture.
The subsequent demise began with Saluzzo’s close connection with the Valois monarchy after the unfortunate Sabauda war in 1487. The county of Saluzzo was in the last years of government by Ludovico II and among his sons and successors in the struggle between France and Spain. It was about the inheritance of the “Visconti” and “Angioini” and ended with the cruel struggle between Karl V and Franz I for supremacy in Europe.
In 1549, in a destroyed and deserted Piedmont, deserted by looting, the county of Saluzzo was annexed to the French Empire beyond the Alps. Foreign rule ended forty years later in 1589, and with the Treaty of Lyon in 1601 the country was annexed to the Duchy of Savoy, whose lot it shared from now on, for good and for bad. Even if negative aspects were not missing, such as the progressive disempowerment and the abolition of the local parliament “Congregazione dei Comuni”, such as religious persecution and minor wars, beneficial effects were noticeable through a continuous, orderly, calm government.
Saluzzo became the capital of the province – except for a few years around the turn of the 1800s during the French occupation – and remained so until 1875, when its territory was annexed to the province of Cuneo. Until 1927 Saluzzo remained the seat of the sub-prefecture. After that it became a simple Piedmontese city like many others.
The position that Saluzzo took in Piedmontese history and the important role it still plays for a wide and diverse hinterland are still visibly recognized and honored today by the significant presence of our coat of arms, alongside those of Cuneo, Alba and Mondovi ‘, in the coat of arms of the provincial administration of Cuneo.