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Torton-a  (Piedmontese)
Comune di Tortona
Coat of arms of Tortona
Location of Tortona
Tortona is located in Italy
Location of Tortona in Italy
Tortona is located in Piedmont
Tortona (Piedmont)
Coordinates: 44°53′39″N 08°51′56″E / 44.89417°N 8.86556°E / 44.89417; 8.86556
ProvinceAlessandria (AL)
FrazioniTorre Garofoli, Rivalta Scrivia, Vho, Mombisaggio, Castellar Ponzano, Bettole di Tortona, Torre Calderai
 • MayorFederico Chiodi (Lega)
 • Total99.66 km2 (38.48 sq mi)
122 m (400 ft)
 (1 January 2019)[3]
 • Total27,291
 • Density270/km2 (710/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0131
ISTAT code006174 
Patron saintSt. Marcian of Tortona
Saint day6 March
WebsiteOfficial website

Tortona (Italian: [torˈtoːna]; Piedmontese: Torton-a [tʊrˈtʊŋa], locally [tʊrˈtɔŋa]; Latin: Dhertona) is a comune of Piemonte, in the Province of Alessandria, Italy. Tortona is sited on the right bank of the Scrivia between the plain of Marengo and the foothills of the Ligurian Apennines.


Tortona Cathedral (postcard from c. 1890)
Tortona Cathedral (postcard from c. 1890)
Piazza Duomo, with the cathedral and on the right the bishops' palace
Piazza Duomo, with the cathedral and on the right the bishops' palace

Known in ancient times as Dertona, the city was probably the oldest colony under Roman rule in the westernmost section of the Valley of the Po, on the road leading from Genua (Genoa) to Placentia (Piacenza). The city was founded c. 123–118 BC at the junction of the great roads; the Via Postumia and the Via Aemilia Scauri which merged to become the Via Julia Augusta. The site made Dertona an important military station under the Romans. Strabo speaks of it as one of the most considerable towns in this part of Italy, and from Pliny wrote that it was a Roman colony. Velleius mentions it among those founded under the Republic, it appears to have been recolonised under Augustus, from whence we find it bearing in inscriptions the title of Julia Dertona.[4] The assassin of Caesar, Brutus, encamped at Dertona on his march in pursuit of Mark Antony, after the Battle of Mutina,[5] and it was one of the places where a body of troops was usually stationed during the later ages of the empire.[6]

A bishopric was founded at Tortona early, but its first bishops are purely legendary, like Saint Marcianus of Tortona, called the first bishop of Piedmont and a disciple of Barnabas, the companion of Paul. Until the 9th century, the city was under the rule of its bishop; in 1090 it became a free commune with the name of Terdona. In 1133 the diocese was separated from the archbishopric of Milan to the new archdiocese of Genoa (CE "Lombardy").

In 1155 Frederick Barbarossa besieged, captured and leveled Tortona to the ground, leaving not one stone upon another.[7]

During the Middle Ages, Tortona was a faithful ally of the Guelphs and was destroyed several times, notably by Frederick Barbarossa.[8] From 1260 to 1347 the city was dominated by a series of different Italian noble families and adventurers. In 1347, Tortona was decisively incorporated into the territories of the Duchy of Milan, under which remained until 1735. One of the rulers in this period was Facino Cane, who in the unsettled affairs of Lombardy had assembled a string of lordships and great wealth which he bequeathed to his wife, Beatrice, and arranged with his friends that a marriage should be effected between her and Filippo Maria Visconti. According to Machiavelli[9] "By this union Filippo became powerful, and reacquired Milan and the whole of Lombardy. By way of being grateful for these numerous favors, as princes commonly are, he accused Beatrice of adultery and caused her to be put to death".[10] Then following the vicissitudes of the War of the Polish Succession, the city was occupied by the King of Sardinia, and "count of Tortona" was added to the titles of the House of Savoy.

Colli Tortonesi

Tortona is the capital of an area known as Colli Tortonesi, which stretches from the town to the border with Liguria. The area is known for the variety and of its products and for the intensive wine production, including Barbera, Dolcetto, Moscato and Timorasso, the autochthonous wine of the region which traces its origin back to the 14th century. Truffles are another important fruit of this land and the Colli Tortonesi is the only place in Piedmont to have three varieties of truffle: White truffle, Black Truffle and scorzone.

Main sights


People born in Tortona, or with close links to the town, include:

Twin towns

See also


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ Population data from Istat
  4. ^ Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Dertona". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray; Vell. Pat., Historiae, i. 15; Plin., H.N., iii. 5. s. 7.
  5. ^ Cic. ad Fam. xi. 1. 0
  6. ^ Not. Dign. ii. p. 121.
  7. ^ Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Decline and Fall (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996) p. 108
  8. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Tortona" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 71–72.
  9. ^ History of Florence, ch. 7
  10. ^ "History of Florence by Niccolo Machiavelli: Chapter 7".

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Dertona". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.


  • The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (eds. Richard Stillwell, William L. MacDonald, Marian Holland McAllister)
  • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Missing or empty |title= (help)

This page was last edited on 21 September 2021, at 19:56
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