Fort Puin

The long ridge between the Sperone and the Due Fratelli is surrounded by shallow drills, zigzagging for hundreds of metres; these drills were excavated by the Genoese and Austrians in 1747 and represent the sole and unclear evidence of field fortifications, the defensive trenches from which many of our Forts derive. Starting from the Sperone, the second major redoubt with gabions was placed where today stands the Fort Puin.

Already the French, in 1806, had decided for the construction of the Fort Puin and of the Due Fratelli, with the aim of improving the defences on the ridge between Sperone and Diamante. The continuous research and comparison of archival documents and project drawings suggest that the construction of the Due Fratelli and the Puin was carried out by the Piedmontese, who were most likely inspired by the aforementioned French “model towers”. The work was undertaken only in 1815 by order of the Provisional Government.
In the Forte Puin, the tower was built first. The ramparts were built at a later time, in two stages (1818 and 1826).
By 1830, the whole Fort had been completed. However, it was abandoned in the last decade of the 19th century, and excluded by the military lists in 1908.
In 1924, it appeared in the list of monumental buildings. In 1963, it was taken under concession and restored by Professor Fausto Parodi, an imaginative painter who lived there for fifteen years.
After the access slope, a bridge – originally a drawbridge – leads into the walls. The loopholes of the ground floor overlooking the back of the tower were bricked up after 1820, with the construction of the ramparts; their traces are still visible only from the outside. Their position confirms that the construction of the walls was decided when the Tower was already being built.

Until a few years ago, on the tower façade, a plaque by Professor Parodi commemorated the 1800 wounding of Foscolo as part of the French army. This statement, though, is certainly fallacious. In fact, in 1800 the Puin did not exist; therefore, the plaque was clearly designed by the tenant to give the fort a picturesque tone. According to some scholars, Foscolo was wounded twice: first, in his leg, on the slopes of the Due Fratelli; second, a few days later, during a retreat in Coronata.

As for the name of the fort, it allegedly comes from the “Ridotta dei Pani” (or, better, “Baracca dei Pani”: literally, a bread redoubt or shed), which only appeared in the description of Genoa dated 1818 by an anonymous author.
Actually, the Fort owes its name to the underlying shed, called Puin. In Genoese dialect, the term puin means “Godfather”. The fort was also called Puino, perhaps to make it sound more Italian. In old books, it is thus stated that the name “…appears to result from the protection that this Fort may exert on the Due Fratelli…“.
All things considered, it can be assumed that the exact name could be “Baracca del Padrino” (the Godfather’s shed), probably referring to its owner, from whom the Fort must have taken its name.

  • Fort Puin
  • Fort Puin - old photo
  • Fort Puin - planimetry