The Fort of Exilles: a citadel in Piedmont

The entrance to the Fort of Exilles

As I have already mentioned in my detailed destination article about Turin, the area surrounding this city is particularly interesting. I would especially like to talk to you about the impressive Fort of Exilles. I would suggest you take half a day to visit this complex. In order to reach the Fort you need a car, since it is located outside the village of Exilles and no bus or train gets there. The Fortress is about 70 kilometres far from Turin.

The Fort of Exilles

History

The Fort was first mentioned in the seventh century archives as a primitive fortification destroyed by the Francs. After the year 1155, the Count of Albon became the owner of the fort, which was situated at the far eastern end of his dominion, on the road to Montgenèvre. It was used as a military and trading center. For a long period the Fort was kept under the French boundaries but in 1713 with the Treaty of Utrecht, the Savoy family annexed it to their possessions. The Fort was destroyed by the French after the Treaty of Paris in 1796 and it was eventually rebuilt as we see it today in the years from 1818 to 1829. In 1943 the fort was abandoned and fell in ruins, until the Piedmont region acquired it in 1978 and restored it. The fort and its museum opened to the public in 2000.

The path of stones

The Fort

As you approach the region from the main road, you look high and see this impressive structure dominating the area. It is an amazing sensation of power that pervades you. Then, as you reach the parking space just below the Fort, you can already admire it towering towards the sky. The path to go up is made of stones and leads up to the entrance. Once you pass the entrance to the fort, you still have to go up to a large square. Here, you can choose between two guided tours. One will lead you to the roofs, where you can closely observe how the roof was built; the visitor is accompanied by the voices and images of local people talking about their stories. The second tour will bring you to the lower fort, where the main front of fire was until the prison’s cells. Walk around the fort and take your time to imagine the soldiers living and fighting there.

After the visit, you may go back to the parking space crossing again the stone path turning downwards. If you forgot your bottle of water and you got thirsty by walking so long under the sun, just in front of the parking area, there is a fountain, whose water will definitely be refreshing!

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