Forte Diamante

Castle in Genova

Forte Diamante
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Bbruno

Forte Diamante, situated at an elevation of 667 meters above sea level, stands on the heights between Val Polcevera and Val Bisagno. Constructed between 1756 and 1758, it owes its name to the mountain upon which it was erected. The fort was proposed by engineer Jacques De Sicre and served to guard the terminal position of the ridge extending north of the spur. Functioning in conjunction with forts like Fratello Maggiore, Fratello Minore, and Puin, Forte Diamante formed an advanced defense system designed to protect the Sperone, one of the vulnerable sectors of the New Walls. This strategy was part of the entrenched camp defense logic.

Records date back to 1395, indicating the presence of ancient military positions on Monte Diamante’s summit, including the “Bastia del Pino.” However, details about this were scarce. The site gained significance during the Austrian siege of 1747, leading to the construction of a star-shaped palisade redoubt to safeguard the valleys from potential Austrian incursions.

In 1756, the Magistrate of the Fortifications of the Republic, encouraged by Marquis Giacomo Filippo Durazzo, sought the expertise of Engineer Jacques De Sicre, Engineer Robert de Cotte, and Marshal Antonio Federico Flobert for the design and construction of Forte Diamante. Work began in 1756 but experienced interruptions due to land expropriation disagreements. However, the strategic importance and Durazzo’s determination, along with his generous contributions to the project, led to its completion in 1758.

The fort’s design has evolved over time, as shown in historical drawings. The structure initially featured a pitched roof with slate tiles and a semi-circular tower absent from the current layout. The roof’s maintenance challenges led to its replacement with a terrace during the Napoleonic period, adding to its defensive features.

In 1800, Forte Diamante played a pivotal role during a violent battle between the French and Austrians. The Austrians, under the leadership of Lieutenant General Count of Hohenzollern, besieged the fort, which was defended by the French. Despite a siege, the fort held its ground, and the Austrians were eventually repelled.

Forte Diamante underwent further alterations during the Kingdom of Sardinia’s annexation of Liguria in 1814. Additional machicolations were inserted, the central barracks expanded, and a semi-circular tower with a spiral staircase was added behind the barracks.

Over time, the fort faced skirmishes and uprisings, but it was definitively abandoned as a military property in 1914. Despite some efforts to preserve the structure, it has since fallen into disrepair. The interior of the fort is not accessible to the public, but the site still stands as a historical testament to Genoa’s strategic defenses.


The Forte Diamante appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Genova!

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Visiting Forte Diamante

Address: Forte Diamante, Sant'Olcese, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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