Quezzi Fort 1747/1830

The fort is situated on the western buttress of the Ratti, on a position dominating the Bisagno at an altitude of 290 m. above sea level. To get there, take via Bracelli and via Loria. A short walk in the middle of a coniferous wood after the district called “Biscione” leads us under the walls of the fort, but our excursion can continue always interesting and varied. Along the carriage road we will encounter field fortifications or trenches, the Quezzi tower, other trenches in Leamara. From here the road bifurcates; on the left you can go down to S. Eusebio in a quarter of an hour; on the right you can easily reach fort Ratti by following the road built by the prisoners of the 1915-18 war.
Fort Quezzi and Madonna del Monte were two vital positions for the protection of Genoa, since from these heights it was possible to beat the city walls with artillery and block the Bisagno valley. On June 12, 1747 the Austrians, under the command of Schulenburg, swept from Ratti to Quezzi, occupying the buttress without a shot and remaining stationary for almost a month on this line.
Behind Mount Quezzi they set up their camp, and to defend it better they built, in addition to the well-known trenches, a redoubt in a place called “Valle del Vento”, of which we have some representations on the maps of 1748, but in any case too vague. The plan was star-shaped and the complex was formed by a trench and palisade. The redoubt is mentioned on July 4, 1747 because it was held by 300 grenadiers who had to protect the rear of the retreating Austrian army.

Nothing has remained of the primitive redoubt because the new fort has practically superimposed itself on the previous one, but near the basement to the north there are still evident pieces of arrow-shaped trench that seem to want to slip out from under the foundations of the walls to show off again.
The first project is by Sicre, dated April 6, 1747, and like the other projects is unfeasible.
It is the usual compact fort and low on the ground, surrounded by a large moat and composed of warehouses and shelters for soldiers, to be built in masonry in the part inherent in the housing and dry stone and gabions for the walls. Cost Genoese Lire 62,000. Sicre presents another project on August 15, 1747. With the passage to the executive phase, De Cotte found himself unable to follow the drawings of Sicre because of the orography.
The resulting fortress is much more elongated, while retaining in principle the criteria for the distribution of masses, with four half-bullards at the corners. Soon after the beginning, the works were suspended.
Despite some minor changes made in 1799, in 1800 the redoubt was absolutely not usable. “The fourth fortress is that of Quezzi where a fort has been built, which would have been very useful. It would have seen the two overthrows of the counterfort of Madonna del Monte and would have prevented its occupation”.
A note taken from the “Giornale delle operazioni Militari e dell’assedio e del blocco di Genova” (Journal of Military Operations and of the siege and blockade of Genoa) also informs us about the condition of the work: “Quezzi had been chosen to build a fort there; the traces were marked, and its execution had begun. There were already some parts of the covering 40 feet high and others lower, but without earthen ramps and without parapets. Three large openings in the dead and inaccessible parts removed any idea of re-establishing that fort, and neither the Austrians nor the French had yet thought of extracting any party for the defense of this position.”
On the morning of April 30th the Austrians took possession of the position but for them, more than an ascent to a fort, it was a fight among unusable ruins. In the afternoon the French soldiers, in three columns, move to reconquer S. Martino and Quezzi.
The battle is very violent; Massena has to intervene in person to restore the situation. In the evening the Austrians were repulsed and abandoned the area. In the Napoleonic period other works were undertaken, as the plans testify. As it appears from the drawings, the previous precarious construction was supported by the new masonry, thus enlarging the redoubt of a few meters all around. The eastern bastion was enlarged, the door preceded by a moat was enhanced by a guardhouse and covered by a vault, a ramp leads to the terraces.
The barracks, on two floors, had a clean linearity, the defensive autonomy was ensured by two huge tanks and two warehouses. A marginal episode was experienced during an attempted coup in 1857 by insurgents followers of Mazzini.
Fallen into disuse the fort was used in the last conflict as a counter-aircraft post with the addition of some barracks. Currently it is abandoned and in ruins, the barracks has been demolished.

(Taken from “Fortificazioni campali e permanenti di Genova, Renato Finocchio, Valentini Editore)

Mappa Forte Quezzi