Fort Begato

According to some chroniclers, an early fortification on the site now occupied by the Fort Begato dates back to 1319.
It is to be noted, though, that such records could also refer to the Bastia of Peralto.
The area, known as Piano delle Fosse (Plain of the Holes), was in fact enclosed by the newly-constructed New Walls. A transversal battery was built on the site in the late 18th century.
In 1818, the elder Andreis proposed the construction of the barracks. The resulting building had the distinguishing feature of being one storey higher on the east side than on the side of the Polcevera. This was probably due to the architectural and functional purpose of increasing their receptivity and services. Their construction began around 1818 and ended around 1830 (in 1823 the barracks were “at about a third of the construction”). At the end of the work, the original plan was changed to add a pitched roof with slate tiles. Between 1832 and 1836, the complex was enclosed townwards with a bastioned wall.
On 28 March 1849, during the uprisings against the Piedmontese, the Fort Begato was occupied by the National Guard to defeat the Polcevera valley, road access to the enemies, represented by the Piedmontese soldiers of the Royal Army and the sharpshooters.
With the surrender of 10 April, the fort was returned to the Royal authorities. During WWI, many Austrian soldiers were imprisoned there, then used to reforest the Peralto area and for other works in the area. In 1922 it was planned to pave the Fort and the surrounding walls, so as to obtain a landing strip for small aircraft. Fortunately, the project was abandoned: difficult to reach, the area has always been particularly exposed to the winds, which would cause serious difficulties for landing.
Around 1940, anti-aircraft stations were located within the walls. The dismantling of the pitched roof began by 1937. Allegedly, one of the four bastions of the barracks was demolished in 1945 by the fleeing German soldiers, who had seized it in September 1943. It should be noted, though, that the commander of the German troops stationed in Genoa, General Meinhold, had signed the surrender, which had then been notified to all German garrisons, which eventually submitted to the decision. All the armaments in their possession were thrown into the tanks of the Fort (the soldiers refused to surrender their weapons to the partisans), and the garrison abandoned the Fort (the Germans were in a hurry to leave the city for fear of being kept as prisoners). In those dramatic moments, the destruction of artefacts was the last thing on their minds!
The collapse of the bastion was allegedly due to British bombings between 1941 and October 1942.

After being restored and then closed for a long time, the Municipality of Genoa is currently reopening several public spaces for visits and events, and considering projects for its use.

  • Fort Begato
  • Fort Begato -old photo
  • Forte Begato - planimetry