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Mini-history of the birth of ALESSANDRIA 

The town of Alessandria was born from the union of some pacific communities of the area to protect itself better from the raids and the abuse of the power of the Marquis of Monferrato Guglielmo the Old who, even without being the lord of that land, wanted to keep their freedom and independence, moved there after leaving their houses. Some laws were passed that regulated, in a univocal way, an heterogenons community made up of people with different experiences and thoughts and, in order to keep the traditions of every single group, the town was divided into quarters. The common wish of many people, converging to the new town, was the independence, their ideal wasn’t to defend the town, but to reach some agreement in order to live with honour in freedom and in peace with the neighbour people. A document dated 3rd May 1168 indicates the official existence of the new town Alessandria in the congress of Lodi with the support of the League of Lombardy.The name Alessandria was chosen after the name of Pope Alessandro III who from the very first establishment of the town recognized and defended it politically against the Emperor himself.
It wasn’t so simple to obtain the such yearned freedom; William the Old, who was eager for revenge put pressure on the Emperor in order to have the town destroyed and separated inhabitants came back to their villages of origin.
In the autumn 1174 Emperor Frederic I, called “the Barbarossa”, who had already subjected other important towns of the present Piedmont such as Turin and Asti, besieged the town of Alessandria, with the support of the Marquis of .Monferrato. The inhabitants fought with honour, and not only men, but also women defended the town with all means and stratagems.
However some legends about the siege of Alessandria flourished. The most well-known may be one of Gagliaudo, in which a common man called Gagliaudo drove his cow, stuffed with wheat, in the enemy camp, making Barbarossa believe that the town didn’t suffer from any shortage of food or provisions.
After many months of privations and battles, the inhabitants got their own way and in April 1175 the enemy troops, disheartened by so much resistance, stopped the siege.
Emperor Frederic I, who considered the inhabitants of Alessandria rebels, because they had constituted a new centre without his consent, during the reconciliation imposed the town the name of “Cesarea”, however the inhabitants and the near communities never wanted to use such a name and “Alessandria” prevailed as years went by until the consolidation.