Alessandria (94,000 inhabitants) is located on the alluvial plain between the rivers Tanaro and Bormida, about 90 km (56 mi) south-east of Turin. It is a major railway and motorway hub. Its economy is prevalently derived from commerce and the public sector, although agriculture still plays an important role.
The city was founded in 1168 with a charter as a free commune upon a preexisting urban centre, to serve as a stronghold for the Lombard League. Later it fell into the hands of the Visconti family, passed to the Sforza family and then ceded to the house of Savoy. Afterwards, it fell under France and finally it followed the major 19th/20th century events of the rest of Italy.
You may visit many monuments: the Cittadella, Palazzo Ghilini, the churches of Santa Maria di Castello and Santa Maria del Carmine, the museum centre.
3,050 students pursue their activities in Alessandria, where two departments have their headquarters:
- Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza e Scienze politiche, economiche e sociali (DiGSPES) – Law and Political, Economic and Social Sciences;
- Dipartimento di Scienze e innovazione tecnologica (DiSIT). – Sciences and Technological Innovation.
The former is based at Palazzo Borsalino, once home to the famous hat factory; the latter occupies the new building in Viale Michel, on the site which used to host the “forum boarium” (oxen market) in ancient times.