Alexandria – whose name derives from Pope Alexander III – has for centuries been an important agricultural and commercial center, as well as a strategic military outpost.
Established in 1168 by the Lega Lombarda, its territorial expansion lasts up to ‘300, when subjected to the Visconti. By the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis passes to the Spanish, in eighteenth century becomes property of the Savoy that reinforce the role of the military. It is then conquered by Napoleon in 1802 (Battle of Marengo) and annexed to France along with the entire region. In 1814 the Austrians are to conquer it and return it to the Savoy in the same year. During the Renaissance, the city had a very active role in the liberal movements and independence, and was also the first city on whose walls began to wave the flag of Italy.
The first decades of the ‘900 is a period of great urban expansion, industrial and commercial property: its location – in the center of the triangle represented by Turin, Milan and Genoa – make it an important point of connection. Among the many companies of national importance include the Borsalino, a manufacturer of hats exported all over the world and also celebrated by the great cinema.
The city center is represented by the Piazza della Libertà. The “Plaza de Armas” by Napoleon, was obtained with the demolition of the ancient cathedral of the XIII century by Ruffino Bottino. Among the buildings to visit are the Palatium Vetus, totally restored, the Town Hall of the eighteenth century and also called “Palazzo Rosso”, the Palace Ghilini, an excellent example of Baroque architecture and Palazzo Guasco. Important is the Church of Santa Maria di Castello, the city’s oldest (XV century), which has styles from different eras including the late Romanesque building.