Richelieu Fort 1747-1815/1827

Situated on the eastern buttress of the Ratti is located at 415 meters above sea level. It rises above the town of Camaldoli and can be reached on foot a few minutes after leaving the bus terminus and following the road that leads to the quarry of Mount Ratti. Another itinerary can be followed by taking the steep climb from S. Martino to S. Tecla and via Camaldoli.
The last alternative route is the most impervious: from Borgoratti we go up via Copernico; leaving the carriage road at its upper end, we continue along a path, along the ridge we find some ditches and trenches dating back to 1747 near an aqueduct reservoir, we continue by sight until we reach the fort in about an hour.
The Duke Richelieu arrived in Genoa in September 1747, observing the defenses around the city, advised the Magistrate of Fortifications to equip with defensive works the hill above the Camaldoli.
Sicre based on this request prepared a project for an elongated fortress, beautiful in the clean lines and rationality of the defenses. It is the typical eighteenth-century redoubt, low on the ground and strong. In November 1747 the works began, and in the short span of seven months it was completed in the moat, in the basement of the walls and in the embankment for the artillery. The stronghold was named after the vaunted Richelieu.
In February 1748 the fort is in a condition to defend itself, but the ramparts are still in dry stone. In May 1748 Field Marshal Chauvelin asked to provide it with artillery, to build a cistern, to provide accommodation for at least 150 soldiers, warehouses, to raise a palisade around the moat,
and build two pylons in the middle of the curtain wall on the sea side in order to build the drawbridge. To do all this would require at least 400 workers. The disproportionate number of workers makes us understand the urgency to complete the work, dictated by the fear of an Austrian initiative on Genoa.
In fact, at the approach of the date established to put an end to the hostilities, the contenders would have tried to be found in a position of mutual advantage to establish more favorable conditions of peace.
After 1748 the fort was abandoned but will find honor in 1800.

Improvements were made by the Sardinian Military Engineers between 1815 and 1827; from a project of 1850 we can observe the state of the fort, and the proposals for subsequent changes. Compared to the project of 1747, the Genoa side was corrected; the central body was enlarged by moving the wall on the Sturla side downstream; the upstream part was modified by adding a new wall.
The upstream part was modified by adding a bastion and thus obtaining the opening of a new trunk. The prospectus to the sea was varied with the reduction of the ramparts to the advantage of the curtain. In front of the drawbridge was a small square, with a wall of first defense from the characteristic shape of an arrow, and connected to the covered walk. The height of the walls is remarkable, they are on average 10 meters from the parapet to the base. At the center of the fence stood a rectangular barracks of 8×13 meters high about 7 meters, for housing troops, two other barracks were behind the tower.
A new project of 1850 provided on the terraces other three thrones pointed upstream, the formation behind the curtain of guards with loopholes and thrones overlooking the moat, the arrangement of the powder magazine in the rampart to the east, the arcade and a barracks on two floors.
The coverage of the barracks, in the draft of 1850 was proposed with thick vaults plus a layer of earth to cushion the impact of the bombs. This solution required thick vertical structures on the floors below; it will be preferred to opt for a cover with thinner vaults to the advantage of internal habitability, especially since the advent of artillery rifled barrel would have frustrated the defenses placed in the thickness of the walls.
From the rear courtyard, an underground passageway was supposed to lead to a tower, which was not built, and to an underground walkway for the riflemen in the counterscarp wall to the north.
The tower was replaced by an appendage projecting at the center of the two bastions and equipped with loopholes at moat level.
A subsequent modification that gave it an unusual appearance, almost renaissance, was the pitched roof set on the ramparts and on the curtain of the sea front and on the barracks; to this end, masonry pillars were built along the parapets to support the trusses.
During the last war it was used as support for the anti-aircraft batteries located a hundred meters to the north.
The current state of abandonment is similar to that of other forts, the structure is essentially intact, are mostly the external parts that slowly crumble due to neglect and insensitivity.
Currently it is used by RAI that has mounted a repeater, so the fort is not visitable.

(Tratto da “Fortificazioni campali e permanenti di Genova” di R. Finocchio, Valentini Editore)

Richelieu Batteries

Mappa Forte Richelieu

The Fort is accessed from the original military road which, after an initial curtain wall, crosses a stone bridge and the drawbridge replaced by a concrete structure, leading to the entrance.
Beyond the rooms of the guardhouse, communicating on the left and right with the rooms incorporated in the two lateral bastions, one enters the central courtyard. The barracks, which overlooks the courtyard, has three floors. The first two have a structure defined by barrel vaults on lines perpendicular to the axis of the Fortress; the last floor, now uncovered, still has structural elements of the original truss. A small courtyard beyond the barracks opens onto a long, narrow walkway under the northern embankment and leads to the protruding casemate and two side rooms protecting the outer moat. The surface area of the land that refers to the fort is 21,202 square metres, while the building is registered in the land register as having 13 rooms to which the underground rooms must be added.

planimetry Richelieu Fort

(Taken from “I forti di Genova” Sagep Editice)