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Middle Ages and Renaissance in Canavese

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Canavese became part of a Lombard duchy and a Frankish county in the 8th century. During this period, the territory gained considerable importance during the reign of Arduino, the King of Italy between 1000 and 1015. Various noble dynasties vied for control of the region, many of which claimed descent from Arduino. Among the most influential families were the Valperga, Biandrate, Mazzé, San Martino, and Castellamonte. These families contested the territory for centuries, sometimes fighting each other, sometimes aligning themselves with the Marquises of Monferrato and the House of Savoy. The San Martino and Castellamonte, Guelfs and allies of the Savoy, opposed the Masino and Valperga, Ghibellines and supporters of Monferrato.

In the 14th century, the Canavese witnessed the uprisings of the Tuchini, inhabitants of small rural communities who rebelled against the oppressive power of feudal lords. In the Late Middle Ages, the territory was fragmented between the rule of the bishops of Ivrea, the Marquises of Monferrato, the Princes of Achaia, and the Savoy, with the latter gaining control from the 14th century onward. During the transition period between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Canavese experienced a certain political stability under the rule of the Savoy state. This facilitated moderate economic growth, evidenced by the construction of numerous castles and monasteries starting in the 15th century. An important project was the Naviglio di Ivrea, a navigable canal initiated by Amedeo VIII based on a design by Leonardo da Vinci, connecting the city of Ivrea to Vercelli.

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Image of Pont Canavese with its splendid stone churches and towers, founded at the entrance of the Orco and Soana Valleys