Sperone Fort 1815/1827

It is the northernmost fort of those existing along the “Mura Nuove”. Its dominant site allowed it to control both val Bisagno and val Polcevera and the ridge towards the Due Fratelli. Already in 1319 in this area stood a Ghibelline redoubt, in 1478 there is mention of a tower; but the position of these two is very vague. The print of the second half of the fifteenth century “Genua Urbs Maritima” represents an isolated tower to the west of Castellaccio. Only in 1530 is Mount Peralto mentioned as a location suitable for the construction of a fortress. The view of Genoa by Cristoforo Grassi in 1597 and other prints of the beginning of 1600 show us a large tower on the top of the mountain. With the construction of the “Mura Nuove” (New Walls) this work became part of the perimeter of the wall, and the shape of the ramparts up here is very complex due to both the adaptation of the walls to the previous fortress and to the uneven morphology of the land. It does not appear to have been carried out any particular work, the position was simply an embankment that leveled largely the ancient and useless castle.
In 1747 under the direction of the patrician Lazzaro Viganego was placed on the terraces a cavalier, or embankment raised above the parapet of the walls, to place the artillery in a dominant position and can also hit the ground below opening fire in depression.
The works of the cavalier in gabions, prepared in a few days, were followed by the works to give hospitality to a small garrison. In September 1747 the construction of a small barracks began. The contractors employed 200 workers daily, but in 1748 the collapse of a vault occurred because of the bad quality of the materials, with the consequent obligation to the contractors to redo the work at their expense and in a workmanlike manner.

In the siege of 1747 there was never occasion to fight at Sperone. The only mention is in an edict of the Senate according to which “all the livery people were regimented and went to take their quarters, part of the Spur, part of Granarolo.
The new shape of the Sperone is shown in the drawings of Michele Codeviola made in 1788. In the meantime other interventions had been carried out by the engineer Giacomo Brusco. The parapets of the bastions are considerably reinforced, the cavalier now in masonry can accommodate four pieces. A steeply sloping ramp on vaults allows the transport of howitzers up to the cavalier level; the barracks is located behind the ramp and protected by it. It was a three-storey building, about 25 meters long and 8 meters deep; three other small buildings are located along the lateral bastions on which two sorties open onto the covered path, and from here along the advanced trench that winds towards the Due Fratelli.
The armament of the fort was made up of twelve mouths of various calibers. During the Napoleonic period, it underwent changes, but it was only during the Savoy period, between 1815 and 1827, that it took on that imposing and threatening form.
In 1815 a wall was raised towards the city in order to close the barracks in a bastioned triangle. Between 1821 and 1826 the complex underwent substantial additions. A new bastioned barracks was built parallel to the southern curtain, with a long access ramp parallel to the facade; the roof of the barracks connected with the embankment behind formed a large parade ground; a single sortie is embarked on the western bastion; on the Bisagno side there is a powder magazine protected all around by a high wall.
A few years later the cavalier on the northern bastion was dismantled and a new building was grafted to the ancient eighteenth-century barracks, forming with it an obtuse angle. The whole is enriched by three cylindrical towers, of which the central one houses a helicoidal staircase, the two extreme ones are on the edge of the “New Walls” so as to completely close the northern bastion and create a rhomboidal fort within the largest fort.
Currently the fort is in total abandonment.

Mappa Sperone
Piantina Forte Sperone

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