Diamante Fort 1756-1758

At the height of 670 meters, on the peak of the Mount called Diamante, overlooking the hills around Genoa and from which the communication roads between the Polcevera and Bisagno Valleys with the city are dominated, according to the design of engineer Giacomo De Sicre, a post was built to be a fortified site and a lookout position to explore the enemy’s moves in the valleys below. The entity of those first defensive preparations did not correspond, however, to the importance of that strategic position, considered as an outpost of the Spur. It was only in 1756 that the engineers De Sicre and De Cotte and Marshal Flobert, invited by the Magistrate of Fortifications of the Republic and encouraged by the Marquis Giacomo Filippo Durazzo, agreed on the opportunity to build on the top of the Mount a real Fort, according to the plans that De Cotte himself had prepared. Flobert was inclined to the idea that a construction of such characteristics should be erected in Bocca d’Asino (Boccadasse; as Bocca d’Asino was the ancient name of Boccadasse), however, in front of the insistence of Durazzo who had offered a generous contribution of 50. Accepted by the Government the financial contribution of Durazzo and approved the drawings of De Cotte, on June 2, 1756 the work began, but due to disputes arising in the expropriation of private land, the work was suspended.

At the completion of the work, the Government of the Republic decided to affix to the entrance of the Fort at its own expense, a plaque now disappeared bearing the following inscription: PROPUGNACULUM D. D. JACOBO ET PHILIPPO DURAZZO SACRUM JACOBI PHILIPPI DURATIT PATRIAE AMANTISSIMI SUMPTIBUS ERECTUM ANNO MDCCLVIII (Translation: “Fort dedicated to the Divi Giacomo and Filippo Durazzo, built the year 1758 at the expense of Giacomo and Filippo Durazzo who are very fond of their country”).

The plan of the Fortress shows two concentric polygonal belts in a star shape, the outer one, in its north-eastern vertex, shows a pentagonal rampart facing the road halfway up the hillside which, passing through Porta delle Chiappe, connected Genoa to Torrazza and continued towards the Po Valley.
From a drawing dated 1796 and kept in the “Mappe e Disegni” collection of the Genoa State Archives, the frontal representation of the Fortress with the display of the troop quarters on three floors, shows the sloping roof covering. This roofing was not suitable for the exposure of the Fort subject to the intensity of the north wind, and in the Napoleonic period was abolished to obtain a terrace floor with machicolations along the inner perimeter, used as a further defensive element. During the epic siege of 1800 the defense of the Diamond was entrusted to Bertrand; the Austrians in the bitter fight of April 30, after having taken possession, with a sudden assault on the positions, of the Two Brothers, placed the block of the Fort and their Commander, Lieutenant General Count Hohenzollem, intimated the surrender to Bertrand in these terms; “I enjoin you, Commander, to surrender your Fort at once, otherwise all is ready and I shall storm you and pass you by the edge of the sword. You can still obtain an honorable capitulation. In front of the Diamond at 4 o’clock in the evening. Count of Hohenzollem.”

The answer given by General Bertrand expressed his conscious determination to resist: “Herr General, honour, which is the most cherished value for true soldiers, imperiously forbids the good garrison which I command to surrender the Fort of which I am entrusted with the command, so that it may consent to surrender by a simple intimation, and it is too dear to my heart, Herr General, to deserve your esteem to declare that the mere form and impossibility of defending myself any longer, may determine me to capitulate. Bertrand”. The small French garrison in fact did not surrender and with the intervention of Soult’s battalions the Austrians were driven back to their starting positions. After the 1814 to the Fort they were brought new reinforcements to cure of the Sardinian Government; skirmishes around the Fort they were had during the Moti Genovesi of March-April 1849, but draft of actions of little relief. In June 1857 a group of adherents to the movement headed by Giuseppe Mazzini and Pisacane, tried to occupy the fort by means of a night action and during this action a sergeant who had resisted was killed; the failure of the riots that were to take place in the city at the same time, induced the insurgents to abandon the position. Despite the fact that the building is included in the list of buildings of historical and artistic relevance, the prolonged abandonment has led to the progressive deterioration of its internal and external structures.Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version).
(Taken from “Mura e fortificazioni di Genova” Riccardo Dellepiane, Nuova Editrice Genovese)

Mappa Diamante
Piantina Forte Diamante

(Cartina tratto da “I forti di Genova” Sagep Editice)