... Very short history (third part)...

"of the Piedmont and its language"

indice casa
indietro


Notice to be read (in case you didn't)



Still war against France
Victor Amadeus II reaches the full age in 1680, but he is compelled by the situation of the moment to ask his mother to continue the Regency, and in the meanwhile he plans of breaking the dependence from France. In Piedmont the France is badly tolerated due to its heavy influence. In 1684 Victor Amadeus takes the power in the Dukedom, and immediately neutralizes his mother, by isolating her, and dismissing her counsellors. The politcs of Victor Amadeus II is then to take distance from France (which in Piedmont still occupies Pienerolo) and to go toward the Great Alliance, that is constituted with an anti-French purpose. He acts very carefully, always kept under control by Louis XIV. This latter, on the pretext of a fight against Waldesians, send the general Catinat to occupying some territories of the Duke. At this point the Duke organizes Turin for defence and signs an alliance with Spain and Emperor, and then with Holland and England, with the target of having back Pinerolo, that in the meanwhile has become a strong french fortess.
In that moment (year 1690) the French consider not so relevant the military power of Piedmont. The situation makes it unavoidable the war and, at the beginning the French are in advantage. Together with Victor Amadeus II there is the cousin Eugene, who militates in austriac field. At the end of the campaign of 1690 the French have occupied also Susa. During the next year Catinat still obtains some success, but fails in the attempt of occupying Cuneo. In 1692 Catinat is compelled to withdraw in defence, but the Allied are not able to profit of the moment, and after an attak toward Provence, they have to withdraw. The war goes on without a final solution. The french general Catinat, in the winter between 1692 and 1693 brings his troops to camp over Fenestrelle and the place has taken the name (still used nowadays) of "PrÓ Catinat".
The subtle politics of Victor Amadeus II brings him to form again a secret alliance with France, which is trying to divide the Alliance, and exits the Great Alliance with the official pretext of being compelled to ask France for a truce, since he has not enough support by allies. In this way Victor Amadeus II manages to follow the interest of the Dukedom and to have back Pinerolo, which becomes savoyard. Also Casale, which now has no more importance, is given back to the Duke of Savoy.
But situation changes again with the death, without heirs, of the King of Spain Charles II in the yeat 1700. As usual there are many claimants (all more or less relatives with some rights) and there is a worry for future equilibrium in Europe. Immediately in Europe an anti-French alliance is formed, and the war begins. In this moment the Piedmonteses are allied with France, but this alliance is wavering. In fact the French did not respected the agreements, they don't trust in the Duke and at the same time accuse the Duke of doing double-cross. But, on his turn, the Duke knows that the French are plotting against him and don't want to respect the agreements signed (the stake on the table is always Milan). Indeed the Duke, always ready to find the most profitable alliance, is effectively double-crossing, and keeps relationship with opponents. Again secret agreements and again the Duke changes alliance and again the war starts against France. This war is, therefore, the spanish War of Succession, and the Piedmont is in the anti-French coalition.
In the year 1704 a war starts that, at the beginning, is disastrous for the Piedmont and for its Coalition. The French floods and, in 1705 they stop on Adda river the Prince Eugene who tries to bring help, and point directly toward Turin trying its siege. French troops are everywhere in Piedmont and keep it, in practice, nearly all under control. Only the fall of Turin is missed.
The french general La Feuillade finds, anyway, a non supposed opposition, and notices that the city can resist much more than he expected. Besides the French has lack of siege's artillery, and so the general asks for deferring the siege and the conquest of the city after the winter. French troops are quartered in the environment of Turin (Montanaro, Chivasso), in Ivrea, in the environment of Asti. In the winter they the French have still some success.
The Duke Victor Amadeus II supposes that the French know the position and consistency of the defensive works (and that is true) and so he takes advantage of the winter for re-organizing and changing all the defensive apparatus of Turin.

Siege of Turin (1706)
In the spring of 1706 new french troops are added to the ones already in Piedmont, coming from Moncenisio and Monginevro. The French arrive easily to Turin. The day May 11th the first vanguards reach Venaria, on May 13th the french army starts the array around the city. The french forces are huge, 44'000 soldiers supported by 110 guns, 60 mortars and 62 campaign guns. On the other side Victor Amadeus II, who in the winter has added new defensive-works and modified the existing ones, has about 6'600 regular piedmontese soldiers, 1'500 allied soldiers, 1'500 cavalrymen (whose only 500 with an horse), and less than 4'500 men of the citizen army. Artillery is based on 226 guns and 28 mortars. The Duke has equipped the city for the siege, by introducing provisions and alive cattle (hosted in courts) for butchering, but he has not a large store of gun-powder
At the beginning of the siege, the farmers of the hills can, with a certain risk, make it arrive in the city some provisions. The hills are still under the piedmontese control and some passage remains still open. But early the situation becomes precarious, and the piedmontese troops are called back in the city. The ciry prepares to the french bombing with some measures (for example, the street are unpaved in order to reduce the probability of dangerous splinters, and are put in secure places, for psychological reasons, the copper bull symbol of the city (Taurus, in latin is "bull" and Turin derived from the latin Taurus), the commune's bells and clock. From the day June 9th the bombing starts on the defensive works and on the built-up area (at the end one out of three houses of Turin will be destroyed).
Some units of the piedmontese army are spread in piedmontese garrisons and they are not so many. The cavalry is in Carmagnola. The Duke Victor Amadeus has asked for help at his cousin Eugene, who has to arrive from Austria, opening his way toward the North of Italy, before the city can fall. Victor Amadeus II manages to exit Turin and to escape to the pursuit of the French, and tries to collect as many soldiers as possible for manoeuvring from outside against besiegers mainly he relies on cavalry and Waldesian volunteers). The command of the city is left to the Count Daun, who demonstrates extreme skill in management of the situation. The Duke collects in Carmagnola some cavalry units, and confronts and wins the french pursuers, then he finds Waldesian voluteers in Pellice valleys. The race is against time, since Turin is without any provisions coming from outside, in spite of the ingenious expedients of the inhabitants and of the farmers around. At the defence of the city actively participate all the inhabitants women included. These latter receive a direct appreciation also by the French themselves: "VoilÓ des femmes capables de faire la guerre aux diables" ("here there are womens able to the war to the devil"). Also the farmers outside the city give rise to a sort of guerilla for producing troubles to beseigers, in spite of the retaliations operated by the French.
In the 117 days of the siege on the city fall about 150'000 gunshots. Splinters of the french gunshots are collected by population and melted again to build shells to send back to the French. But in the city, starting from the beginning of August, there is lack of food and also of gun powder.
Piedmontese army has a corps specialized in the so called "mine war" (in this period is a war technique very practiced by all the armies). Starting from the srtonghold of Turin, hundreds of galleries branches out toward the french lines on two levels of deep. Used for observation (or better listening) of what happens on the surface, they can be mined and destroy enemies installations, and allows to exit from secret passes for observation. All the galleries are protected by mines, that can go off and block branches possibly discovered by enemies, with sentry ready to work them. Also the French try to arrive by gallery under the defenses of the city. An underground war that is classical in this time.
On 26th August the French lauch an attack that could resolve the war, and they manage to take the so called "Mezzaluna di Soccorso (Mesalun-a 'd socors) which is an important defensive point. The Piedmonteses counterattack, repel the French and after 12 hours of fight take back the Mezzaluna with a bayonet attack. The french commander La Feuillade, who has already sent the news of the victory toward Paris, is compelled to rectify precipitately.
In the night between 29th and 30th of August, a group of French discover one of the piedmontese galleries and enter it. The group is little and probably it is not able to produce heavy damages, and besides the action is not programmed, but the sentries who hear the French to arrive, cannot know that. The order is to block the gallery with the mine. There are on guard a young soldier and an expert "miner" called Peter Micca. The old miner discovers that the fuse is too short, but there is no time to act in a differnt way, he sends away the young soldier and relies in his expertise to make the mine go off and save himself. The possibility of not executing the order is not even taken into consideration. We don't know what exactly has happened, the gallery goes off and Peter Micca loses his life in the explosion. His body is found quite far away from the mine place. He nearly made it. Maybe he is wounded and deads due to the poison of the explosion's gas. The galleries can still nowadays be visited and are part of the museum "Pietro Micca".
On August 31st the French makes a breach with artillery and mines and try to attack. The Piedmontese repel them and manage to derange them with their mines. The counterattack produces the capture of a french gun.
In the meanwhile Victor Amadeus II, after having collected as many soldiers as possible converges to Turin. Also his cousin Eugene arrives with his soldiers and from the hill of Superga, on September 2nd they study the attack plane. The choosen attack point is a dangerous one, but probably not considered by the French as a possibility, in order to profit by surprise. Here, on the Superga's hill, Victor Amadeus promises to build a Basilica in case of victory. In the night between 3rd and 4th of September some bonfires communicates to Count Daun that the attack is coming. The French have decided a strategy based on their numerical superiority, convicted that they can not be defeated and that they can repel any piedmontese attack very easily. Besides they suppose that the city is falling, and have deduced it from the thinning out of firing due to lack of gun powder. The Piedmonteses reach the starting positions in the days 5th and 6th of September along a risky way, close to the french lines. On September 5th there is the episode involving Mary Bricca (who, together with Peter Micca, has a streed dedicated in Turin). Her true name was Mary Chiaberge, who has married a man named Bricco and so she is then called Bricca (like a feminine of Bricco). During the march along the river Dora for getting the starting positions the Duke is informed that a french supplying convoy is coming, and the Duke decides of attacking it. He sends the Prince of Anhalt to do the job. The convoy is compelled to take refuge in the castle of Pianezza, where it entrenches itself. In the castle Mary Bricca has worked for some years and she knows the way for entering in secret the castle itself. She guides inside the castle the Prince of Anhalt and his soldiers who destroy the convoy.
The French continue to wait, sure of themselves. On September 7th, early in the morning the Piedmontese troops move in an absolute silence up to they are very close to French and then the attack from outside starts, leaded by Victor Amadeus and Eugene. Probably in the French camp the frighten rises of being blocked in theit own entrenchmnts, so they very quicky starts to withdraw. From inside the city a sortie is prepared and done as a support of the external attack (a cavalry squadron toward the Stura river and 2000 men of the citized army from the Susa's door, leaded by the Count Daun and the Marquis of Caraglio. The French are defeated and compelled to a quick retreat. The surprise has worked. Immediately after midday the commanders La Feuillade and the Duke of Orleans were on the way to France, in the evening the last rearguard left the environs of Turin, leaving on the ground a lot of weapons and ammunitions. Just on time, since in the arsenals of the city more or less 200 pound of gun powder were left, not even enough for salutation' salvoes to the Duke. The Basilica of Superga is now impressive on the Turin's hills.

The Kingdom of Sardinia
In the years 1706 and 1707 Victor Amadeus II, with the help of his cousin Eugene, re-conqueres all the territory, and then attacks the french lands of the high Susa and Chisone valleys. In the following years there is a big diplomatic work in order to find a satisfactory arrangement for Europe, after this war of Spanish succession (we recall the reason of this war, which seems a far reason with respect the events that we've seen). With the peace done in Casale, in 1713, the Duke Victor Amadeus II obtains all the Monferrato, Alessadria, Valenza, the Lomelline, the Sesia valley, and the piedmontese alpine valleys already belonged to Delphinate.
Following this victory, Victor Amadeus II becomes also King of Sicily. This Kingdom lasts very short with an evident hostility of the Sicilians. Victor Amadeus realizes of not having suitable tools for giving unity to the Dukedom and the Sicily. But in the meanwhile there are problems before a final peace can be reached, and the Austria, no more allied, is organizing for invade the territories which are passed to Piedmont.
In 1718 a spanish fleet set ashore an expedition corps in Sicily and the Sicilians receive the Spanish as liberators. In the same year the complete Europe (England, France, Holland and Empire) settles in favour of an excange of Sicily with Sardinia. In this way the heir of Savoy House becomes King of Sardinia (and Duke of Savoy and Prince of Piedmont, etc.) This title will be hold by the Savoy till 1861, when they will become King of Italy. Now we are in the year 1718.

The reforms of Victor Amadeus II
The Duke (and then King) starts to work at reforms, which certainly are not revolutionary, but which re-organize the various matters, and bring the State to be bureaucratized but efficient, may be the most efficient in Europe. The King claims that nothing (but God) can condition his will, and he elimitates all those functions which, in some way, can interfere with his power. This is valid also about Church and religious institutions. The King claims the control of the State over education, but he puts severe limits to ideas that can be not orthodox of the laical teachers. So, we are in front of an absolutism spreade everywhere. The King plans everything and all has to run according to his directives, economy included.
He eliminates the figure of Chef Secretary of State, and makes three Secretariats which are true ministries : of the Interior, of the Foreign, of the War, meticulously organized. A figure of Great Chancellor remains, but with limited political importance.
Problems are the ones of always, and first of all the poverty. There are many unemployed people, and mainly farm labourers. Also in this case the King intervenes and organizes charitable institutions. Hospices are founded, in which the Clergy often assumes a directive part, and the King does not like this. Also hospitals are improved.
The culture needs to grow. Piedmontese Nobility and Middle Class are, indeed, quite rude (in Piedmontese "grotol¨"). Care is put in improving Schools and University. Victor Amadeus II is engaged in a revision of the fiscal system, and in reducing feudal advantage of Nobility and Clergy, and this causes quita a number of conflicts between Turin and Rome. Besides Victor Amadeus wants to maintain the right of censuring what comes from Rome, and of proposing the appointment of Bishops (which Rome always repels). It is not a question of religious problems, that there are not at the moment, but a question of power, and the King wants to get the control of the complete State, without areas or feuds with particular privileges. The fiscal pressure begins to reduce, thanks to the progressive elimination of extraordinary contributions, and the fiscal load is distributed in a more efficient and controlled way. In this way the fiscal load is reduced from direct taxes, and increases the income from indirect taxes, sign of a good prosperity of the nation.
In 1715 the King, with declared fiscal purposes, orders a census of all the feuds, and imposes to nobles the exhibition of titles assigning them the related rights. The operation is concluded with many distresses and the emersion of properties declared as feuds for not paying taxes. This produces very good incomes to the State.
Another reform put into effect by Victor Amadeus II is, in the legislative field, the reordering, updating and unification of codes, in which appears a greater tutorship of the accused person, but there is not a mitigation of penalties or a their graduality connected with the gravity of crime.
Particular care is devoted to the empowerment and organization of the army. In this period arises the idea that the Piedmont is the only italian State in the position of supporting its politics by means of its army, and the idea that the Piedmonteses have a particular military vocation. The army on duty in time of peace, rises to 25'000 men. The military expenses, also in time of peace, become heavy. Now the army is built, in large majority, by subjects instead of by mercenaries.

The completion of piedmontese territory
In the year 1730 Victor Amadeus II retires from government to Chambery and leaves the throne to his son Charles Emanuel III, who is the second born, since the first, Victor Amadeus Philip, is dead. Victor Amadeus II maintains a connection with Turin, from where he receives reports and to where sends advices. Afrerwars there will be strong conflicts between father and son, Victor Amadeus will try to have back the power, since he will not approve the son's politics, but he will end in prison , where he will dead.
Charles Emanuel III re-organize and improves the army and strengthens the alpine defensive works. In 1733 the question arises of the Polish succession. The war is approaching, and Charles Emanuel III does again an alliance with France (and Spain), with in mind the usual attempt of expansion toward Milan. The treaty of alliance is not so much clear, and is against Austria. Charles Emanuel III occupies quickly the Lombardy. In the first months of 1734 the King takes possession of Milan, declaring this action not a conquest but an expansion of his territory. He tries to give a new political arrangement to the city, but he has to face with the opposition of Lombards, and in particular of Nobles. Also the Middle Class is against him since, due to the needs of war, he has to put new taxes. Besides, in general, the Piedmonteses are disliked in Lombardy.
The war is won, but the European politics leaves very few to the King of Sardinia, in fact the Piedmont only acquires Novara and Tortona, with the treaty of 1738. Charles Emanuel has to leave again Milan to Austria, with great satisfaction of the Milanese, who claim Austrians as "liberators".
Immediately after a new succession problem arise in Austria, and again the Piedmont finds itself in between the two blocks of contenders.Charles VI of Hasbourg, without male sons, issues the "Pragmatic Sanction" which abrogates the Salic law about succession and makes his daughter Mary Therese heir to throne of Austria. He deads in 1740 and, due to usual claims, and the usual worry about the balance of powers, it is war again. Piedmont is allied now with Austria, but it is a strange alliance, which supposes the possibility of making agreements with the enemy. Charles Emmanuel continue to hope of obtaining Milan, and he does not understand that in any case the Austria will not leave Milan. On the other side the French and the Spanish are allied against Austria. The war begins with the occupation, made by the French, of the french Savoy, and then also Nice is lost. The Piedmont, at this point, completes the alliance with Austria in 1743.
The French - Spanish (from here on "the French") attack the South of Piedmont menacing Cuneo. The city's defence (year 1744) is entrusted to the Baron Leutrum, who manages the job wey well and becomes a popular hero, very appreciated by people (at the end of the war it is offered him the government of the city for all the life, and he is remembered in popular songs with the "piemontesized" name of Baron Litron). In 1754 Genoa starts its war against Piedmont. The war continues with advantages for the French first (who occupy Asti and sieges Alessandria) and then for the Piedmontese - Austrian (from here on "the Piedmontese"), who take back Asti and free Alessandria. In 1746 Genoa is occupied by Austrian, but there is a revolt (episode "Balilla") and the Austrian leave the city which is sieged, while the Piedmontese withdraw rom some valleys but occupy Savona.
In the next year 1747 the France, that in the meanwhile occupied Fanders, plans to invade Holland and Piedmont, but in Piedmont is definitely defeated. Above we will give information about the Battle of Assietta, one of the basical steps of the french defeat. In Aquisgrana the peace is done in 1748, and with this treaty the Piedmont brings its border to the river Ticino, obtaining its territorial integrity, under the sovereignty of the Savoy House. Not all the lands outside the region are re-obtained. Still once the Piedmont is penalized by agreements among great european powers, and the deam of the Savoy House of obtaining Milan fades again.

The battle of Assietta - NoiÓutri i bogioma nen (we don't move)
As we've seen above, (short summary) we are in the context of the Austrian Succession War. As far as our history is concerned, the French and the Spanish Are allied against the Piedmontese and the Austrian. We are in 1747, and Charles Emanuel III is duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia, hr is the son of Victor Amadeus II (the Savoy Duke during the Turin siege in 1706).
In the spring the Piedmontese and the Austrian (in the following "the Piedmonteses") are sieging Genoa, and the French and the Spanish (in the following "the French") attack from South on June 4th, heading toward Genoa, but after having occupied Nice and Villefranche, they are stopped by the Piedmontese, leaded by the Baron Leutrum (the defender of Cuneo three years before).
The French decide then a second attack, to solve the situation, and around middle of June they begin to concentrate many troops in an area (Mont Dauphin) from which they can arrive various alpine passes for entering Piedmont, each one more or less at the same distance. So the attack can happen from the valley of Stura of Demonte (over Cuneo) up to the Montgenevre (in Susa valley). It is then difficult for the Piedmontese to suppose the point of the attack. Piedmontese troops not engaged in the South have to be spread over a large part of mountains.
Piedmomtese information services communicate, on July 11th, that french troops are moving toward Brianšon, and therefore toward Montgeneve. From the Montgeneve (90 km far from Turin) there are two "normal" ways to Turin. The first is the Susa valley, but this is barred at Exilles by the homonymous powerful fortess. The second is the Chisone valley, but even more this is barred at Fenestrelle by a system of forts extending for six hundred meters in height on the slope of mountain.
An alternative is to climb on the ridge between the two valleys, where after crossing the pass of Assietta, the crest became large and can be easily run and, for example, go down into Sangone valley, and from there straight to Turin . The general Belle-Isle, commander of the french expedition, thinks it impossible, or at least extremely dangerous, to confront the forts, and so he decides to pass through the Assietta. He know that on the Assietta there are piedmontese soldiers who are about to fortify the pass, but he also know that they are few and fortifications approximated and not complete (mainly dry walls and trenches). He supposes to be easy to dislodge the Piedmonteses without they can force the french army to pass lower, under the fire of the forts. So Belle-Isle very quickly moves his army, in order not to give time to the Piedmontese to move in turn other soldiers into the sector.
On the crest going from Sestrieres up to Assietta there are in total 7400 piedmontese soldiers (9 piedmontese battalions, 4 austrian - swiss battalions and some hundreds of Waldesians volunteers). The total piedmontese artillery is of 6 guns and 4 light mortars. These latter are the only pieces easily transportable on this ground. The Piedmonteses have a strong lack of ammunitions. The piedmontese commander is the general Count of Bricherasio, and among his subaltern commanders there are the general Alciati and the general Count of Saint Sebastian (whose we will speak about).
The French who have passed the Montgeneve are, maybe, 50'000 (this is not sure for the writer, but certainly not all of them participate to the battle), they are subdivided into three columns, climbing from Pragelato, from SouchŔres Basses and from Sauze d'Oulx. Two of the columns are heading toward the Head of Assietta and Pass of Assietta respectively. The third one, with an outflanking novement heads toward the Head of Gran Seren. These are the three cornerstones of the piedmontese defence.
On July 19th at four o'clock in the morning, the French move toward the pass, which is at 2478 meters in height. The attacking french army is made of 40 (not sure) infantry battalions, 5 cavalry squadrons, and 13 guns, for a total of about 24'000 soldiers (or more, according to other sources). Only at 11 in the morning the first column arrives in front to the piedmontese lines, and the French discover immediately that the Piedmontese have lack of ammunitions, since they don't open fire even if the distance is very short (less than 250 meters). Then the French stop and wait for the arrival of the second and third column, in order to attack together.
After a while, at the arrival of the second column the French start to fire with artillery, but they give time to the third column (non in sight) to approach its target. Up to 4 p. m. there are not violent fights, but in the meanwhile also the third column arrives and the main attack starts, with extreme determination.
The defenders of the Pass leave the French to approach up to contact and then finally they open fire. Two battalions are firing in front and a third manages to fire on the side of the French, obliging them to retreat and re-organize for coming again. The attack at the Head of Assietta, at the beginning superates some outpost, but immediately after is stopped. Here a defensive work has been quickly built, held by the grenadiers of the Count of Saint Sebastian.
General Belle-Isle, who has joined his soldiers thinking that the battle is nearly won, is killed. For the Piedmontese the ammunition are over, and they continue to fight with bayonets and rocks (who knows the mountain knows also that falling rocks, in mountain, are extremely dangerous). The last piedmontese reserve, the battalion Casale, is launched in the fight. The attack at the Head of Gran Seren is extremely violent. Defenders behave well but after each wave rejected another follows more violent, and the general Count of Bricherasio, who has reached the top of the mountain, is afraid that the French can pass on Gran Seren. This would cause the surrounding and the loss of the units on the Pass. It is 7 p. m. The Bricherasio sends to the general Alciati (engaged on the Head of Assietta), the order of conversion on the Head of Gran Seren. Alciati moves only a part of his troops and some reserves. The same order is sent to the Count of Saint Sebastian, engaged also at the Head of Assietta. It is told that the Saint Sebastian sends back the messenger with the answer "NoiÓutri i bogioma nen" ("we don't move"). We dont'have historical confirmation of this answer, what is sure is that the Saint Sebastian, engaged in a furious defense with steel weapons, doesn't obey the order. The Bricherasio insists with the order, and for the second time the Saint Sebastian doesn't obey it, answering that he can defend but not move (indeed he should move soldiers on an open ground under the french fire). The Bricherasio doesn't believe in the answer, and insists with the order. This would mean a possible defence in a rear position and less favourable, and some commentators affirm that in reality the Bricherasio is organizing a retreat, considering the battle as lost. Also a third order arrives but this time there is not any need of answering, since the Saint Sebastian, standing on the walls with his grenadiers is rejecting the last french attack. The last attack is reyected also on the Pass and on the Gran Seren. It is late in the evening and the dark is coming. French army have lost the majority of its officers and the soldiers are going back lower and lower, without any poissibility of attacking again. Also Waldesian volunteers, who have also assured the information service, have reject the French in their sector. Now is dark, the battle is won.
The French are not in the position of re-organizing themselves, but this cannot be known by the Count Bricherasio, who discards the idea to pursue the French, due to the lack of ammunitions, and he thinks at the need of re organizing the defence in case of new attack on next day. But on next day the French are already on the way to France and go toward Montgeneve, with many units without commanders. From the answer of Saint Sebastian to the Bricherasio become legend, derived the appellation "Bogia nen" referred to the Piedmonteses.
The victory has a very important weight for the end of the war, since doesn't allow the French to operate the attack through the Piedmont that they have palnned. In the battle the french losses are 5300 men (other sources speak about 6000 men) including the general Belle-Isle and many other high officers. The Piedmontese have lost 192 men, the Austrian 27 (other sources speak about 300 losses as a total). A dreadful scene appears to valley-dwellerd who, the day after, go on the pass to collect deaded and wounders: corps, blood and weapons spread all around.
The battle is celebrated each year on July 19th on the Pass of Assietta. The day is still nowadays, assumed as the holyday of Piedmont.
Historians are (nearly) concordant in asserting that if the Saint Sebastian had obeyed the order of Bricherasio the battle wuold have been lost, since the order itself was part of a disengagement and retreat strategy. The writer is not so skilled in military strategy of '700 for giving an opinion. According to some historians happened that all the desert of the victory was assigned to the Bricherasio, forgetting the Saint Sebastian, since the latter was the son of the marquise of Spigno. The story of this woman is not part of our history, but it could explain the assertion (at the time of the battle the marquise was in a convent, put in there by the King). According to other historians also the Sait Sebastian had his good deal of glory.

The Piedmont's situation in the second half of '700
Starting from the victory of Turin in 1706, obtained not just by the army but also by the engagement and bravery of the people, the "wish of piedmontese nation" revives in Piedmont with a greater force than what has happened with Emanuel Philibert and Charles Emanuel I. The victory of Assietta and the consequent end of the war, even if does not bring to Piedmont large territories, certainly produces in the Piedmontese the awareness of being part indeed of a nation whose to be proud. With the exploits of Assietta, but also Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo, the piedmontese army is confirmed, not only for the Piedmontese, a first order army, able to support with weapons the politics of the King. But all has to be re-built.
Charles Emanuel III begins to take measures in favour of industry. Metallurgical industry and mining are of particular interest, also for production of weapons. The industry of silk is very protected by laws, and nothing of the piedmontese technology can be exported. The piedmontese silk maintains a supremacy of quality in Europe. The industry of wool is well developed, even if its product is not of very high quality. This industry starts to concentrate around Biella. Also flax and hemp are spreaded in particular as little home working, for integration of family earnings produced by the agricultural main work. In the town of Chieri starts again the industry of cotton.
Commerce is still obstacled by bad communication ways and by taxes and rights to be payed. Agriculture continues to be the weak point of the piedmontese economy. Indeed agriculture is slowly changing, but in a way not homogeneous. There are areas in which the agriculture is just of subsistence and for self use, as it happens in alpine territories, and other areas where there is a large production organized in capitalistic sense and for the export.
The year 1734 brings a dreadful famine produced by dryness (along more than 12 months on the whole Piedmont doesn't fall a drop of rain). The yeld of the fields is very poor, and the life in the country becomes very difficult, and for that, many farmers have to emigrate.
There are many farmers, during the winter,move toward cities looking for work, but in spite of all this, the piedmontese agriculture is described as prosperous, and foreign observers admire the thick sysrem of canals for watering the lowland.
Still at the end of '700 some forms of slavery of glebe survived, and against this situation some laws are issued about, but the problem is not solved. Agricultural techniques are old, and the yield of fields is lower than the one in other parts of Europe. There is a migration also toward the cities, where not always there is work for all, so a class of marginalized people arises, confined in the poor degraded suburbs.
In this century a working class begins to form in Piedmont, which is source of some worry in the areas in which the density of workers starts to be high. The worker's class is able to obtain results in its claims, for examples about houses for workers. Of course we are still far from what will happen in the next century.In any case the society demonstrates a remarkable vitality, and in general the society is running straight into the road of renewal. A class of undertakers is forming in particular in the field of silk, which offers many opportunities.
The army continues to be enlarged and improved, at least for some years after the war.
Already in the '600, but in particular in the '700, Turin is enlarged and embellished with monuments, palaces, gardens and churchs. Celebrated architects there work, like Guarini and Juvarra, (who has been brought from Sicily by Victor Amadeus II), and then Benedict Alfieri. The theaters Regio and Carignano are built togeter with others. In Turin there is not a large interest in literature, while the Nobles and the Middle Class like very much music and theater. Enlightenment ideas are censored and severely kept away by censorship. Piedmontese enlightenment is only present in scientific field, where gives very good results. At the end of the century the city of Turin is going toward 100'000 inhabitants.
In the '700 some literary clubs arise, which have not a great vitality, due to the censorship always present toward the new ideas and Enlightenment. Some dissident do prefer emigrate, and who stays is quite persecuted. Victor Alfieri, piedmontese writer, prefer to migrate in Florence. In scientific field, instead, there is a great liveliness. Mathematics, Phisics, Chemistry are studied with big success, and also Military Art with the associated engineering discipline. A name among all : Lagrange. In the year 1757 a philosophical and mathematical society is founded whose are part Lagrange, Cigna, etc. In 1780 this society is recognized by Victor Amadeus III as " SocietÚ Royale des Sciences de Turin ", that in 1783 becomes the Royal Academy of Sciences.

And what about language?
We do a little summary of the main steps of piedmontese language up to this century. A rudimentary Piedmontese, with good probability, is already spoken around the year 1000. Some years later some piedmontese words are present in mosaics. The first big document written in this language is made in some year between 1150 and 1200. The written Piedmontese is mature in the '300, and in the following centuries the literary piedmontese production continues, not massive but continue. Beyond prose we have poetry, theater, essayist and even judge's sentences. In the '600 the Piedmontese reaches the form that is nowadays used in speaking and writing. The language is stable, except the ususl evolutions in the time related to all spoken languages, and is spread over all the region. In each area then inside the basis of the same language some local differences are present, like what happens to all languages.
Victor Alfieri, piedmontese and writer in Italian, gone to Florence for subtracting himself to the censure, criticizes the Piedmontese like a "rude dialect", but he himsef writes something in Piedmontese, and keeps notebooks on which he records Piedmontese idiomatic sentences and terms, with the italian and french translation.
With the events of the XVIIIth century, there is an actual explosion of literature in Piedmontese. About the end of the century someone begins to think at a Piedmontese as the official language of the State, or at least at giving to Piedmontese some more official character. In fact the Piedmontese is spoken by all the population, by the Nobles as well as by the Farmers, while the Italian and the French, tongues used for official acts, are just known by not so many people (or better, by very few persons). In the year 1783 the first Piedmontese Grammar is published (see literature). The Piedmontese are aware of being a nation and they are proud of it.
There is a project for introducing a school made in Piedmontese, but the Napoleonic invasion prevents this project to be further discussed. Instead, there is the attempt of introducing step by step the French as the official language, but we will see this below. Indeed, according to what is noticed by Maurice Pipino, the author of the first grammar, the Piedmontese is the language used for discussions in government meetings, by people living at Court, while also Bishops encourage the priests of preaching in Piedmontese, being the only language understood by all. Charles Denina, abbot and literate, writes in 1804 that if Piedmontese had received a bit more attention and if the historical events were been different, it would have become an "distinguished language". On this point also Louis Capello, Count of Sanfranco, agrees. In the following years many piedmontese vocabularies are edited (already Pipino does a vocabulaty connected with his grammar, then Capello publishes a dictionary piedmontese - french, and Zalli writes a quadrilingual dictionary piedmontese - french - italian - latin, the the works of Ponza, Sant'Albino, and so on).
Rousseau, coming in Turin notes how he can easily find a inn since he knows alreay well the Piedmontese, while a Burgundy's counsellor of the parliament notes that in Turin they spoke both Italian and French, but these ones are not the local language, and that this local natural language can not be understood only by knowing Italian and French.

The influence of French Revolution - The piedmontese Jacobins
Victor Amadeus III ascends the throne in 1773. He is a mediocre sovereign, who surrounds himself of people non particularly skilled, courtiers more than statesmen. Soon the administration decays, and the expenses rise. Also the military spirit is falling off, in spite of the large amount of money spent for the army. The new ideas, even if very moderate, are seen with suspect and refused, and s˛ the best spirits of the nation emigrate or conspire. The Enlightenment is very underevaluated about its implications, and kept away by censorship.
As the whole Europe, also Piedmont is involved ran over by French Revolution and following napoleonic wars. Revolutionary ideas finds a fertile ground in some groups of piedmontese intellectuals and this was also reflected in piedmontese literature, but were rejected by the large majority of the population, always very tied to the monarchy. The Savoy is in geografically french territory, and the fight will be unavoidable.
But in Piedmont, at the beginning of the French Revolution, the King is Victor Amadeus III who, as we have seen, is not so skilled in government. In Piedmont the Enlightenment ideas are not diffused (they are prohibited, and therefore secret) and the French Revolution is not understood in all the implications, on the contrary, it is considered a negligible fact that would estinguish naturally.
The Piedmont gives refuge to many french Nobles, and from their narrations it is possible to better understand the importance of the Revolution. While the french Nobles spread hate against the revolutionaries, their servants, who accompained them, spread the rivolutionary ideas among people. Victor Amadeus III, without political or diplomatic ability, prepares the Piedmont in an anti-French perspective. Unluckily the army is no more the one of fifty years before, and is not ready for managing the situation. After the victories of fifty years before, big innovations have not been made, in spite of the money spent, and the army is also old as mentality. It is not clear that the neutrality could be an effective solution, at least in this initial period. Also due to this few clearness, the Kingdom of Sardinia is not properly supported by the european powers which, in reality, are not yet thinking at a war. Mistakes are made which bring Piedmont to lose the Savoy and Nice, in the year 1792. At this point the Kingdom of Sardinia enter the first anti-French coalition.
The war restarts, but there is not cooperation among the allies. Victor Amadeus III wants to take back Savoy and Nice, while Austria is only interested in the defence of Milan. After various events, the French prevail. Victor Amadeus III signs a separate peace in which there is a first partial french occupation of the territory. The Piedmonteses have to experience that the French are quite rude and violent. All this stimulates the revoluctionry Jacobins, who in Piedmont give rise to a sort of guerrilla without any order, in the countries, hoping that some support will come from french troops on the territory.
The Jacobins of Alba declare the Republic in the city (May 1st 1796) and ask for french protection. The Republic of Alba is quite a strange Jacobin's republic, since the inhabuitants are anyway very tied to their traditions, to the monarchy and to the clergy. The life of this republic is very short since the peace made after between the French and the Piedmontese takes another direction. In fact, in order to keep the Piedmont outside the anti-French coalition, the France proposes a sort of cooperation to the King, and the republican experiment finishes since it have become a trouble also for the French.
In the October 1796 Charles Emanuel IV becomes the King, but he has not skilled at all in politics and, as his father, he is not able to manage the situation. So the French starts to behave as true occupants, and the King have to leave them the stronghold of Turin, even if the Piedmont is formally allied of the French. The poverty in the countries is growing and the Jacobins try to take advantage of the situation for obtaining a popular revolution. Some insurrectional attempts are immediately stopped by the King's army. Insurrection supposed by Jacobins, in this phase, can not be realized. Also a Jacobin invasion attempt from Maggiore lake is unsuccessful. In that moment the French have other problems to bother, and population demonstrates of not being Jacobin.
The sign of Jacobin is, in this period, the orange cockarde. Nowadays the orange cockarde is part of the piedmontese drap˛ (flag), in order to recall all the piedmontese history.

The French occupation and annexion to France
At the end of 1798 the piedmontese monarchy at least in Piedmont, falls. In Europe, with Napoleon who is in Egypt, a second coalition is in preparation against France. The French decide to invade the Piedmont before it can enter in that new alliance, they foment riots in order to make fall the Savoy monarchy. The king Charles Emanuel IV is compelled to leave Turin and find refuge in Sardinia. Piedmont is again occupied by the French. In a first time there is in Piedmont a revolutionary republic with a goverment imposed and controlled directly by France. At thist moment a new period of troubles and riots arises, in particular in the countries, and this time against the French and republicans. The situation of people, in fact, is going worse and worse. The French, in the year 1799, despoil the piedmontese palaces and destroj many documents of the State's archives. In the cities they attempt to make all french, while in the countries there is a violent opposition. Some cultural clubs try to demonstrate that the Piedmont is french in character.
In Turin remains the Prince Charles Emanuel of Carignano, with his son Charles Albert. In spite of his being a prince of the Savoy's house, Charles Emanuel has revolutionary ideas and he joins the National Guard. The Piedmontese vote on March 9th 1799, about the Piedmont's destiny, and the result, obviously forced, is the annexion of the Piedmont to France, except the Novara province that becomes part of the Cisalpine Republic. At the moment this thing remains without consequences. Farmer's insurrections restart and the guerrilla appears, which now is called brigandism. In the majority of the cases, indeed, the anti French guerrilla is leaded by adventurers. It is a fierce guerrilla, which takes place mainly in the areas of Asti, Langhe, Cuneo. The number of rebel fighters is very high. In the meanwhile the Russian - Austrian army obtains some success on the French, enters the Piedmont and manages to occupy Turin. We are at the end of 1799. Piedmont is now occupied by Cossack and Austrian soldiers. Cossack are rude and violent, Austrian are not better.
The quick intervention of Napoleon (in the second campaign of Italy, battle of Marengo, year 1800) repell the Russian - Austrian beyond the Ticino river. The PIedmont becomes actually a french territory. This operation starts in 1801 and ends the 11th september 1802 with the approval of the Senate. The decree is published on 22nd of the same month. Piedmontese army is organized in the french army and piedmontese soldiers are spreaded in the french units. The province of Novara is instead included in the Cisalpine Republic.
The french government attempts to make all french in Piedmont very quickly, (the Palace Madama, considered "reactionary" risks to be destroyed) and all is made in order to have the French as official tongue. But laws ruling Piedmont are not the same as the other french departments. The economical situation, instead of going better, is going worse and worse. University and Academy of Sciences are re-organized, and this brings some advantages. When Napoleon declares himself Emperor, Piedmont becomes part of the French Empire.
In the meanwhile Charles Emanuel IV, in Sardinia, leaves the title of King to his brother Victor Emanuel Duke of Aoste, who becomes the King Victor Emanuel I, (june 1802) in exile, anyway. In Piedmont revolts against France does not stop untill genuary 1801, with a last revolt in Aosta valley. Then a form of brigandism continues which is spreaded over all the Piedmont.
In this period the french Intelligence Service detects a spreaded ostility against France in Piedmont, also in the institutions. There is a monarchical opposition but also a republican opposition which is against the annexion. The central government behaves as in an occupation land, and establish a specia Intelligence Service devoted to control the Piedmont.
New ideas brought a development, but mainly in favour of the French and France. The large majority of the people speak Piedmontese. The French becomes the official language, even if it is still necessary the use of Italian. A "cultural opposition" arises, supported by a literature in Piedmontese, but also there are jacobin poets in this period. The french period brings new elements to piedmontese, but the duration is short and this contribution is not determinant.
Victor Emanuel I is recognized as King of Sardinia by the European powers fighting against France. He begins his reign in exile on 8th june 1802. In Turin arise anti-French intellectual clubs even if not manarchic. The France wants to isolate the King and order to whom has followed the King of coming back under penalty of forfeiture of goods. Someone come back but this just increases the hidden opposition. Beginning from the proclamation of the Empire, the opposition increases, including those Jacobins who see the revolutionary ideas to fade in the napoleonic absolutism.
Among the positive aspects of the period, beyond the reorganization and improvement of road conditions, there are interventions for improving watering in agriculture, and to prevent or reduce the damages of flooding, the foundation at Valentino (a park of Turin) of a school of veterinary science for oppose the zoological illness. Agricultural transformation is often to the advantage of Middle Class and Lords, who buy up the ecclesiastical goods put for sale. Piedmontese commerce is hindered by drawbacks to the commerce toward Italy, and a customs system favourable to France at expenses of Piedmont. Then the France has not interest in an independent development of piedmontese industry, but only the development of french interest is supported. The continental block of 1806 (now it is called "embargo") put by Europe against France, worsens the general conditions of Piedmont, though some activities have a benefit (like the rice cultivation).
At any rate Napoleon manages to form a loyal aristocracy and a middle class which begins to support him, since it is more appreciated than in the previous monarchic system. The opposition is strongly pursued and it has to hide, while administration od justice and security are going better. The school, if from one side tends to spread more the primary instruction, from the other side tends to make more exclusive the secondary instruction.
Piedmontese soldiers are very appreciated by Napoleon. As an example there is the case of Federico Campana who, with his brothers has become the symbol of the piedmontese military value. When Federico deads in battle the same Napoleon wants that the street in Turin where live his parents have his name.

The State of Savoy toward Risorgimento
Once Napoleon and French Empire are defeated, Europe tries to restore the situation preceding the revolution. The Savoy House, with Victor Emanuel I, takes possession again of his State. The King arrives in Turin on May 20th 1814. Following the Congress of Wien the territories of the Kingdom of Sardinia are enlarged with the Liguria region, that is quite unhappy of such a decision, and indeed Ligurians are quite hostile, having often in the past fought against the Piedmontese.
So the State includes the Piedmont, the Aosta valley, the Liguria, the Sardinia, the french Savoy, the Nizza territory with the Roya valley. The Piedmont finds itself to be the buffer state between France and Austria. This latter attempts to strengthen its position in Italy, while England and Russia are in favour of a Piedmont strong enough and not influenced by Austria. The foreing politics of Victor Emanuel I is in this direction, and so there are reasons of friction with Austria in this new arrangement of Europe, where Austria controlled directly Lombardy and Veneto.
The internal politics of Victor Emanuel I is an heavy restoration. He abolishes all the french laws and reforms, and it seems he supposes that the Revolution, Napoleon and the related new ideas in every field can be simply wipped away. He is a convict absolutist and is not in favour of any liberalism. So the State is immediately backward, with a ruling class made up with nobles who have followed the King in Sardinia or who have isolated themselves during the Revolution period, and don't have compromised themselves with the French. They are outside the progress that has been made in all fields, disqualified for their job. Bureaucracy and legal limitations lowers the development, the purge of all the pro-french people produces big damages, in particular for the culture. Police's orders and censorship are particularly oppressive.
Piedmontese legislation and regulations very soon arrive to be the most backward in Europe. They arrive at the point of closing the new road of Montecis pass because it has been built by the French, and is put again in use the old uneasy road passing through Novalesa.
Some exception has to be done when it is necessary to rebuild the army. Indeed the very faithful persons who have followed the King never have commanded soldiers, and besides, they are all too old for that job. So the King is compelled to engage officiers who served under Napoleon, but they are seen with suspect and are organized with ranks much lower than the ones they had before.
Liberal ideas began to circulate among intellectuals, high degrees of army, rich middle-class families and undertakers. The difficulty is felt of operating inside a State "oppressive, bootish and suspicious" but, since political organizations are forbidden, secret societies begin to rise, which are, depending onthe case, of type Masonic or Carbonaro. Among the dissident there are also noble persons, personal friends of the Prince of Savoy-Carignano Charles Albert.
A revolt is planned which can compel the King to grant the Constitution and go to war against Austria in order to free the Lombardy. Indeed it seems clear that whatever project aimed at a liberal system or democratic will have to foresee a union or federation of italian States, under a constitutional monarchy. In the italian situation this monarchy can only be the savoyard one, which have a certain international weight and that is in the position of face to Austria in Italy also in a military terms.
Austria controls directly the north-eastern Italy, and interferes in the majority of the other italian States. The first step of liberals id therefore to obtain a Constitution in Piedmont. In this sense the liberals rely on the Prince Charles Albert of Savoy-Carignano, belonging at a cadet branch of Savoy House, who is the heir to throne due to lack of masculine sons of the King Victor Emanuel I and of his brother Charles Felice. For events in his family and for education Charles Albert has ideas quite liberal, and for this he is disliked by the King.
In 1820 an insurrection in Neaples obtains a success, and also in Spain they arrive to a Constitution. Charles Albert seems to support whom (Santorre of Santarosa), in Piedmont, are organizing for obtaining a Constitution, even if there are contrasts between who think at a democratic system (with a parliament elected by people) and who think at a system with a much more limited democracy (two Chambers whose one appointed by the King and one elected by few electors). Also the liberals worry a clearly democratic system. Following to fights between students and police, in 1821 a revolutionary motion takes place, which involves also a some units of the army which join the revolutionary movement, asking for a Constitution. Victor Emanuel I isn't the King who can make this change in liberal direction. He is not prepared in front of the new attitude involving important men, some nobles, but mainly the army itself. So he abdicates in favour of the brother Charles Felice, who is even more reactionary. Since Charles Felice is not in Turin and doesn't want to came, the Regent of the Kingdom is Charles Albert when he is only twenty.
Charles Albert moves in a liberal sense, but in a way very ambiguous, and issues a Constitution, but Charles Felice immediately removes him from Regency taking the power himself. Charles Felice abolishes all what has been done by Charles Albert, who is sent away from Turin (to Florence) and, with the austrian support, eliminates the revolt. For the next ten years the Kingdom of Sardinia have a dull government, adverse to any innovation, also in the administration, that is more and more tied to Austria. What mainly worries the King is the fact that he can not rely on army. therefore the King reduces the roll of army and put the officers under control. More and more he looks for support of ecclesiastics for education, since he does not trust any more in laical intellectuals, and entrusts to Bishops the supervision of primary and secondary schools.
If, from an institutional point of view, Charles Felice is the negation of any liberal sign, anyway he makes some good reforms. He establishes in each Municipality a school free for pupils, at which can access also women. Under his reign the Egyptian Museum is opened in Turin, and some works are made in the city (like Charles Felice square). The Ministry of Police is eliminated and the related competences pass to the Ministry of the Interior. He also makes some reform in judicial field and limits the jobs of Carabineers. He does not put obstacles to the industrial an commercial development that is characteristic in the period.
At the Charles Felice's death, in 1831, Charles Albert begins actually his reign, which is anyway made by meny ambiguities and uncertainties. He is not in favour of accepting the idea of secrets organizations, ant he thinks at a monarchy absolute but not despotic. He does not have any fancy for Austria, and represses resolutely revolutionary motions that are taking a republican character with Mazzini (in the years 1831 and 1833). In this period the poet in piedmontese tongue, the lawyer Angel Brofferio (whose we will speak in literature) publishes satires against Nobles, and is arrested. Caesar Balbo asserts that the Piedmontese id the less italian "dialect" of all, while someone points out that by now many dealers and artisans are able to speak and write italian, even if not in a very correct way from a grammar point of view, but anyway understandable. Some patriot asserts that "sooner or later also the Piedmontese have to convict themselver of being italian and not french". From their point of view the large majority of the Piedmontese do not feel himself italian or french but just piedmontese. The Nobles, in oeder to remark their level, speak french or piedmontese, but not italian.
Step by step Charles Albert resumes liberal ideas, and an Italy under the guide of Savoy and Piedmont. The republican, revolutionary ideas of Joseph Mazzini becomes no more followed, and is fading, substituted by a more moderate movement relying on the Savoy House for establishing a liberal State in expansion toward Italy to detriment of Austria. Indeed, the ideas of re-unification of Italy are not part of the cares of common people, who do not know the reasons of the revolutionary unrest that agitates the intellectuals or the interests that worry undertakers and financiers, and are not interested in these things. These people, in theory, could support the idea of a Republic, but in Piedmont the common people, in particular in the countries, is quite tied to Monarchy, while a working class does not still exist, although premises begin to rise.
A turn happens with the election of the Pope Pius XI in 1846. The Pope makes some reforms in a liberal sense, and kindles many enthusiasms. Charles Albert is first worried, since he is pressed more and more insistently to follow the example of the Pope. When a contention arises between the Pope and Austria about the city of Ferrara, Charles Albert supports the Pope (recognizing that Austria is anyway a problem for Piedmont without any other consideration on liberalism). The King begins a liberal way in the years 1847 and 1848, also under the influence of Maximus d'Azeglio and Caesar Balbo.
On March 4th 1848 the Statute was issued, and so the monarchy became a constitutional one. Charles Albert is persuaded that it would be better that Statute (the name of Piedmontese Constitution) appears as a King's concession instead of being imposed by popular revolts, hoping in this way of keeping the control of the situation.
With the issuing of Statute the passage is in any case made to a constitutional monarchy, even if the democracy is still quite limited (the right of vote for the Parliament is extended to less than the 2% of population, while it arrives at about 5% for the election of local administrations). This is the first step of the project of rebuilding Italy. The second phase foresees a gradual reduction of the Austrian occupation of Italy.
In March 1848 various revolts happens (Wien, Milan, Venice, Palermo). Charles Albert is seized by surprise. A unique guideline is missing, since somebody supposes an intervention on favour of the future Italy and some others suppose only an expansion of the Piedmont. Charles Albert is mainly supporting the idea of expanding the Piedmont up to Milan. The war is decided rashly, but the army is not ready. The Lombards prefer to continue discussions and demonstrations, but they don't enlist. Some success of rebels in Milan are not at once exploited. The campaign is carried on with extreme irresolution due to politics problems, and of the fear of republican tendencies that could become too strong, and also to the change in mind of the Pope, that seemed, at the beginning, to be in favour of a federation of italian States, but then He doesn't make successive actions. The military success is easy to grasp. It could help anyway in the next phases, but it is lost for the reasons above, and for lack of military strategy and clear targets.
The King, while in a proclamation asserts that the war is made in order to bring help to rebels, in an official way he communicates to ambassadors that the war is justified by avoiding that the revolution could propagate in Italy. In the meanwhile in Milan and in Venice many people is not in favour of a fusion with the Sardinia's Kingdom, and don't want to support the aims of Charles Albert, who is seen not as a liberator but as an invader. After the first success in the war there is a quick annexion of the Lombardy, and at once some Lombards propose the transfer of the capital city to Milan (Charles Albert is indignant of the proposal, of course). But after the first success, a dreadful defeat follows. There is a big political confusion and then the war restarts and ends worse than in the previous phase. After this defeat (in the year 1849) Charles Albert abdicates in favour of his son and goes in exile in Portugal. The Kingdom of Sardinia has to bear the weight of an heavy, bad defeat.
While in the remaining of Italy only a little minority of people is interested in ideas of Risorgimento, in Piedmont things are different. A war interests all the population, from soldiers that have to do it, and their families, up to the limitations in any activity sectors imposed by the war's economy. A defeat, then, is always payed by all, and the weaker classes have usually to bring the higher weight. In Piedmont, then, the situation and the related reasons are discussed by all, from the Parliament up to the taverns where, on sunday night, the workers of Turin meet to drink a glass of "Barbera" and do a game of cards. Piedmontese people is not in favour of the war.

Renewal in the reign of Charles Albert
In the year 1835 in the Sardinia Kingdom a smallpox epidemic goes off, which produces many victims. In this occasion there is an impulse in the activities of charity and assistance, put in act by the State and Nobility. We cannot yet speak about a social politics, but assistence institutions rise as the one of the Marquise Julia Falletti of Barolo, and the Little House of the Holy Providence of Father Joseph Cottolengo. In the quarters of suburbs of Turin, at Valdocco, begins to operate Father John Bosco (in Turin simply "Don B˛sch"), whose action is aimed not only at the religious education of youngs in low quarters, but also at their social promotion. We will speak below of these persons.
Charles Albert initiates to carry out an economical politics less protective and more oriented at free trade, reducing the fares for duties and customs. Corporations are suppressed connected with the various arts and crafts, and the mobility of manpower is liberalized. The associations of workers can operate with aims religious or of assistence, and in this wai arise the Mutual Benefit Societies.
In this period the economical development in all the sectors is remarkable. The silk industry, that had a reduction during the french occupation, begins to grow again, while the agriculture remains the carrying axis, and it is more and more oriented to commerce. Anyway the little agricultural property remains alive and spreaded, more than in the other oarts of Italy and in Europe. Agricultural machines begin to be used, as well as the fertilizers and the insecticides, while the watering systems are improved together with the production of fodder, for the cattle-breeding.
The Coutr of Appeal and the Coyation are established, while the trials become public. Censorship is reduced step by step, and two politic parties begin to form, a moderate Right and a moderate Left. The Ministry of Public Education is established, as well as the University department of letters and philosophy, and the one of Phisical and Mathematical Siences. The statal school generates a reaction of Jesuits, who see as menaced the catholic schools, and of the Bishop Fransoni.
With the issuing of Statute Waldesians and Hebrews are at last emancipated and obtain parity of rights. In waldesian territory, in Torre Pellice (la Tor), may be as unique exemple in the history, a monument is built "present of the King to population" (it is in front of the catholic church of Saint Martin). All this provocates a violent reaction of the Turin Bishop Fransoni, who is very reactionary. The first elected Parliament (they are elector in fonclion of the wealth, and also participation of the few having right is low) is made by 208 deputies, whose only 32 are nobles.
The city of Turin grows very quickly, and in 1848 reaches the number of 137'000 inhabitants. But in spite of the growing, certainly are not the workers to become rich. Indeed their salary is hardly enough for surviving. Already before, the King Charles Felice had observed as scandalous that undertakers accumulated huge richness while the workers had very poor salary. The same observation is made by the young Count of Cavout in 1834. In this year, anyway, there is the first workers struggle against a foreseen reduction of salary. This struggle obtains its goal. In this occasion it is clear that, at the moment, the State is not interested in suppress these labour troubles. Indeed the Police controls just the absence of political reasons and free the arrested workers.

The Turin's "social" saints
At this point of the history of this century, we put this "insert" about the great Saints who operate in Turin in this period, contributing in a relevant way to give the character of the city. We have seen that the State begins to be intereste in charity and assistence institutions, but the spirit which stimulates these persons, sometimes of modest origin, is such to attact the persons whom they meet, persons who around them and with them give rise to institutions that nowadays are lively and great. These institutions are still driven by the some spirit of love in Christ, in which they have been founded, and which makes the difference with respect the institutions of the State.
Among them the two Saints with greater relevance, and certainy the most known, due to what they have done and left us, are the Cottolengo and Father Bosco (Don Bosco).
The Cottolengo (Joseph Benedict Cottolengo) bears in 1786 in a wealthy family of Bra (town in Cuneo province), and grows in the period of french Revolution and occupation in Piedmont. He studies for becoming priest, due to the period, in a clandestine way (the seminary in which he is studying is closed in 1805) and becomes priest in 1811. He is aware that his theological esucation is not complete and satisfactory, and then he obtains to continue his studied in Turin, where he is graduated in Theology in 1816. After a while he is appointed Canon of the Corpus Domini basilica in Turin. He devotes himself to preaching and Confession, he is near poors and sick persons, but he supposes that all this is not corresponding to his vocation. In the year 1827 an event happens which reveals him his true vocation. It happens to him of having to assist a pregnant french woman, in transit in Turin, affected with tuberculosis, who deads after being refused by the Hospital of tuberculars since she is pregnant and being refused by the Hospice of maternity since she is sick. The Cottolengo then decides to found a place in which nobody, in whatever condition, could be refused, since everybody maut always receive care and love. In 1828 he rents some rooms in a house of Turin and begins his work, accompained by the opposition of relatives and brothers. Very soon a doctor, a chemist and twelve "ladies of charity" (women who visit sick persons). A rich widow rules the "ladies". During the cholera of 1831, the house of Cottolengo is shut in order to avoid that it could become a spring of infection. So the Cottolengo moves outside the city (now the place is inside the grown city), with two sisters, a sick person and a little carriage drown by a donkey. The first buildings arise, and always thanks to benefactors, and to the unlimited trust in Divine Providence. Helaps arrive in spite of the fact that the Cottolengo never asks someone for something. In 1833 the Institution of the Cottolengo is recognized as Moral Institution by the King Charles Albert. The Cottolengo founds religious orders of sisters and brithers, subdivided in "families" according to their mandate, and an order of priests. His houses grow in number and importane outside the city, ans now they are spreaded all around the world. He deads in 1842. The Cottolengo, in this way is simply called by the Turinese his institution "Little House of Divine Providence", which now is become a city inside the city, still nowadays attracts a large number of turinese volunteers who devote a bit of their time in the sections near the guests. The Cottolengo has been proclaimed Saint in 1934.
Father Bosco (Don B˛sch), or better Dumb˛sk as it is usually pronounced, is the only name used in Turin for indicating this Saint. Never in Turin it is heard "San Gioan B˛sch" as it would be normal. He is the founder, among other, of those Salesian Oratories where at least half of the Turinese having a "given" age (and many of the younger Turinese) have been as children, boys and young men, someone discontinuously, and someone assiduously. John Bosco bears in the Becchi hamlet, commune of Castelnuovo of Asti (now Castelnuovo don Bosco) in a poor farmers family. He is two wher his father deads. In his christian education his mother Margareth plays an essential role. He becomes priest in spite of thousands difficulties, always having in mind to approach boys and youngs of the poor city quarters, where the moral and material poverty is large, and the exploitation of juvenile work is truly savage. Endowed with a particular ascendancy over boys, he is able to manage that everyone of them can feel that Don Bosco is personally interested in him and in his problems. In Turin there are many youngs who are arrived from country looking for, not luck, but just a way to survive, and who now are workless and live as stragglers, borderline, without even be able to read and understand a working contract, to be a prey of the worst venturers. Thgether with the moral promotion and the cognition of Christ of these boys, Don Bosco occupies also of their social and material promotion, through education and the learning of a work. In Valdocco (an area near the poor suburbs of Turin (now inside the city) he finds a stable place for his first Oratory. He himself has way of taking care of the work conditions of his boys, and intervenrs in order to obtain for them more "humane" working contracts. For the time he is a priest whom is considered absloutely revoluctionary, uneasy for many ans suspect, able to scandalize conventional persons. They try even to make him to be considere as mad (and indeed, aperson behaving like Don Bosco in this period is really evaluated as mad). His unlimited trust in Divine Providence allows him to overtake whatever difficulty. His Oratories and his Institutions grow in number. He founds the ordser of Salesians, priests, religious brothers and sisters, who now are spreaded in all the world. Beggar at the doos of the rich for his boys, he always finds someone who supports his work. He deads in 1888. Don Bosco has been proclaimed Saint in 1935. From 1958 on he is "parton of italian apprentices". As in '800 at the Oratory find a refuge, among the others, boys coming from outside Turin, still today other boys, among the others, find refuge, who come from so much more far away.
Among the other Saints and persond who, in this period have dedicated themselves for the good of neighbour in Turin we remember :
Saint Joseph Cafasso (1811 - 1860) who is devoted to the assistance of prisoners, and in particular of convicts to death (he is called the priest of gallows).
Saint Leonard Murialdo (1828 - 1900), collaborator of Don Bosco, he works at the St. Louis Otarory, the second founded by Don Bosco (it was MY Oratory), then he rules the Institute "Artigianelli" and founds the Company of Saint Joseph, devoted to education.
Blessed Joseph Allamano (1851 - 1926) rector of the Consolata Sanctuary, founds the of Missionaries of Consolata congregation.
Blessed Francis FaÓ of Bruno (1825 - 1888) officier in the piedmontese army, in 1858 he founds the Institution Saint Zita, devoted at social promotion and assistance of maids. Julia Colbert Marquise of Barolo, known as Julia of Barolo, descendant of the french minister Colbert, marries the very rich Tancredi Falletti of Barolo, and utilizes her colossal patrimony, and the revenues produced by it, for supporti her Institutions, in which there are initiatives anticipating what will be the prison reforms, devoted to women marginal in the society or excluded from this. She receives a gold medal of merit for her action during the cholera in Turin in 1835. In Turin she opens the first nursery school.

Victor Emanuel II
Victor Emanuel II succeedes to Charles Albert, in the year 1849. The new King is certaily more determined, and has the great merit of being able to find and employ the best political brains of the Kingdom in this time, and first of all Maximus d'Azeglio and Camillus Benso Count of Cavour, chosen one after the other as Prime Minister (it happens sometimes, anyway, that King and Prime Minister are not in agreement). First of all it is necessary to bring internal order in the State, and Victor Emanuel, with Maximus d'Azeglio, does not renounce some unbiassedness. Anyway the Statute remains into force, which is the on˛y constitution that remains into force in Italy.
In the year 1852 The Cavour becomes Prime Minister. The internal situation is not so much good and the relationship between State and Church is very critical, firstly for the laws about civil marriage and suppression of ecclesiastical Law-Courts, and then for the suppression of religious orders not having a social aims. This law is issued by Cavour in order to obtain the support of the Left party for the war in Crimea (which we will see). In this case there are also excommunications.
A lesson learned from the lost war is that it is necessary the support of some european power, which can be obtained by relying at leas on one common interest. A diplomatic action very intense of the Count of Cavour is preparing the next war to Austria, with the support oif France and England. On this purpose, the Piedmont takes part at the war of Crimea, with France and England, against Russia. For doing this the Count of Cavour signs a treaty with France and England without consulting the Parliament. The idea of a war against Russia, in fact, is not popular at all in Piedmont. Following this war, the Piedmont is considered among the european great powers, ant its funcion anti-Austrian, liberal and not revolutionary is recognized in Italy.
So the Piedmont becomes the point of reference of all the italian liberal organizations, overtaking all the regionalisms. The contacts between cavour and Napoleon III remain secret.. On January 1859 there is the occasion for defying Austria ( a speach of the King which provokes the arraying of the Austrian army on Ticino river (the eastern border of Piedmont). The preparation of the war is complex both from the diplomatic point of view as well as from the logistic point of view. It is necessary to provoke an aggression for justifying a french intervention, and besides some planned revolts in Tuscany do not take place, as if the Tuscan didn't want any more to be liberated. Volunteers are much less than what have been foreseen, but at any rate the game works.
With the second war against Austria, in 1859, and the following victory, the Austrian influence in Italy is reduced enough to allow the occupation of Lombardy. But now Mapoleon III is afraid that the Piedmont can become a too great power on the border of France, instead of a little state under the french influence, and so he does not complete the military operations. But in the regions of Emilia and Tuscany, the related governments are made fall by (influent) people and these regions ask for annexion to Piedmont, and obtain it. This annexion is justified with the need of giving an arrangement to these regions, in order to avoid taking further and worse risks. The Kingdom of Sardinia, according to the treaty signed by Cavour and Napoleon, gives to France the Savoy and Nice (territories beyond Alps).
Now there are problems in Sicily. The islands revolts against its King, and there are strong republican tendencies. Garibaldi starts his expedition of "Mille" in Sicily, and this generates the chrash of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies.
The Piedmontese control that the situation does not slip from hands, and decide an expedition, officially against papal volunteers arrived for defend the Pontifical State, but probably with the main goal of preventing a "coup de main" of Garibaldi on Rome, and the rising of a Republic in South Italy.
The international situation is very critical, France asks for stopping Garibaldi. The intervention od the Victor Emanuel army (on septhember 11th 1860) allows the Piedmontese to take back the control of the situation. The southern Italy is annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia.
In the year 1861 rises the Kingdom of Italy, ruled by Savoy House, whose the first King is Victor Emanuel II. Thee history of Piedmont flows together into the history of Italy. Annexions and Kindom of Italy are confirmed by plebiscites, but we note that to these "plebiscites" had right to participate, at those times, less than the 2% of the population, and that abstensionism was about 50%.

Economical and social situation in the '800
Economical conditions become better in a quicker way with politics of the years '50 of the century. There is a re-organization of agriculture and an extensive building of railways, which in short time pring the Piedmont to be largely the italian area with the highest number of railvay kilometers. The industry is quite favoured and is enhanced (Texile, Mining, Iron-metallurgy and Metallurgy), as well as the commerce, to which many bonds are removed. In fact Cavour is a strong supporter of commerce freedom.
Upgrading of the State runs quickly, and the rate of educated people rise at any level. In 1859 a law is issued which establish the primary education as mandatory for all. Parallel to the development of industry, a new proletariat is growing. The political debate moves from how to deal with the growing of beggars, to subjects like the salary of workers, the protection of health of women and childred who work in plants, about hygienic conditions on the working places, and so on. The working contracts that workers have to accept, are worse than what is practiced in the army and they foreseen dreadful sanctions for any stupidity. The knowledge of the working class is increasing, as well as the conflictuality devoted to reduce exploitation.
Around half of the century, thanks to the association freedom warranted by Statute, the first Workers Societies arise, which after will be organized into confederations. The first cooperative societies of consumptions and Workers Organizations arise, for the support in periods of illness, and for support of unemployed, like a sort of placement office. Masters (industrials) and government do not oppose these associations, provided that they don't have political or syndacal aims. The push at vindications of elementary rights is strong, while in Europe socialist and communist ideas begin to spread. The same Cavour has to admit that the only way for avoiding the social fight and the class struggle is to make them better the workers' conditions.
Indusrtial development, started in '700 from England, happens in all the Europe, and also in Turin, with a savage exploitation of the juvenile and wnomen work. Few indicative values are enough tho illustrate the situation. Up to 1844 there are laws that in some way protect young apprentice, but after, in the name of progress and freedom, those rules are cancelled by liberals. From that moment on there are children, which are 8 or 9, who have to work from 12 to 15 hours by day, in situations that sometimes are relly dereadful and in un healthy environments. Event the Cavour underlines that in England women annd children have to work so much less than in Piedmont, but the situation does not change, since ti is not possible to touch a certain "one way" freedom. The children, even if they work and produce income, are not payed during the first three years, with the excuse that "they only are learning".
In 1886 a law is issued, which should be a "protection" law for under-age persons, that asserts that for work in the night it is possible to employ only boys over 12 on, in mines it is forbidden to employ children less than 10, and in factories the lower limit of age is 9. The working day is from 12 to 14 hours (in spite of the mandatory primary education).

Disappointment about the unity, crisis and renewal
Still in the year 1861, in particular among piedmontese Nobles, there are many critics to italian unity. The Countess of Sambuy asserts that Italy can stay at its home, while also the d'Azeglio is grieved for the fact that the Piedmontese "have taken off their own skin at the profit of this race of deceivers". With the moving of the Capital city from Turin to Florence and then to Rome, the Piedmontese can notice that the freedom and the unity of Italy for which they had fighted stubbornly with so many sacrifices and so much heroism, more for sense of duty than for convincement, is not so appreciated by the Italians, who don't like the Piedmontese, their style, their rules, the military levying, and so on. The Piedmontese are seen not as liberators but as invaders (in Rome the Piedmontese are called "buzzurri", and this is not a compliment). Also an anti-Piedmontese guerrilla arises, which is euphemistically "brigandism", but that engages sixty bataillons of the piedmontese army. The guerrilla is brutally repressed, and brings, in the fights, the destruction od same villages. The same d'Azeglio writes that "... the Neapolitans must make us know if they want us or not..." since it would be a nonsense to stay on southern Italy as not desired.
Turin loses a big deal of its economical resources, and the city, together with the whole region, endures a strong economical crisis. The region tends to close itself in a certain isolation, also for the fact that now it is in a peripherical position inside the State. Piedmontese Nobles exit with dignity from the scene, maintaining anyway an absolute fidelity to the Savoy House. The same State, under the inspiration of the Savoy, who in turn are inspirated by the french model, take at one a character very centralized.
In Italy the antri-piedmontesism is quite spreaded. Already before the unity of Italy, among the italian patriots (very little percentage of the population) there are anti-piedmontese feelings, which are attributed to the arrogance of Nobles and militaries, btu which reflect also a deep distrust in technical and scientific culture, in which Piedmont is largely at the vanguard. In reality, in the period, a large piedmontese literature exists, often of social inspiration, but it is written in Piedmontese, and therefore completely hidden to italian intellectuals.
They say it is necessary to defend from piedmontesism, and that the region is ruled like a military barrack and a convent. After the unity the reasons of intolerance increase. They say that the Piedmontese think of aving conquered Italy, and that the mandatory ptimary education, introduced with piedmontese methods, does not fit to Italy.
The army which repress the guerrilla is certaily directed by officers who are mainly piedmontese, but it should be considered a fully italian army. The repression is very strong, people do not understand and attribute the thing to the Piedmontese. In the same way, the mandatory conscription and taxes are attributed to a piedmontese action (indeed they are the laws which were and are into force in Piedmont). The Piedmontese, together with the State, become the "enemies". In particular in Sicily there is the habit of calling "Piedmontese" the military and the functionaries of the new State.
In Turin remains, anyway, a fruitful ground for the development of science and technology, already started before the unity. Studies and experimentations prepare the ground to the rising of the large industry, which will rewrite the history of Turin and Italy. The social requests become strong, and the workers class organizes into syndacates. On this ground a new grow is prepared, which enhances strongly the duties of the city and of the region.

And ... the language?
A first note: the historians say that the Piedmontese were the only tongue well known by Victor Emanuel II, even if the official languages at the Court were Italian and French. With Italian the King had some difficulties, and he creaked bot as grammar and syntax, and his lexicon were very limited. Along all the '800 literary production in Piedmontese continues, accompained with studies on the language, and vocabularistic activities.
Some litereary magazines in Piedmontese are founded, and new grammars appear. This century is also the great season of theater in piedmontese tongue. In this period it is demonstrated that the Piedmontese arrives where the Italian find it difficult to arrive, since it can express things which, in Italian, the majority of piedmontese people are not able to express or understand. The piedmontese theatre is able to represent the political debate running, beyond all the other range of theatrical subjects, and gets a large success (it becomes a true mass-medium).
At the beginning of '900 the present piedmontese graphy is stabilized and unified, by assuming again the graphy used in the first grammar, which is also the most used by authors. Today more than 2,500,000 persons continue to speak Piedmontese as their main language, and Piedmontese is spoken, or at least known and understood by about 3,500,000 persons (many of them not coming from Piedmont). The litereature, also contemporary, is lively, and in some piedmontese schools the Piedmontese id teached as optional matter. Just in case it weren't known, Piedmontese is also the language of nomads piedmontese Sinti, who teach it to their sons. (The piedmontese Sinti are with us in Piedmont for 500 years and are among the most piedmontese inhabitants of Piedmont).
The piedmontese tongue, which has nothing to do with italian dialects (it belongs to another linguistic group), and which is independent from french, provenšal and french-provenšal, has been recognized by European Community as a minority language to be protected, the region Piedmont recognize it (so far) as regional tongue, Italy does not (democracy has always some illmess).
As if the Piedmontese (or the supported culture) still worries someone, or as if someone has not yet forgiven the Pidmontese of having done Italy.



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