For some historians the town's name derives from the Latin name of person "Faucius" or "fossato" ("moat" probably to the geographical characteristics of the area where the first settlement was built), whilst for others from "fons sana" (for the presence of an important fresh water source in the nearby).
Fossano is a municipality in the province of Cuneo, situated on a plateau overlooking the valley of the Stura di Demonte. Composed of fifteen villages, it is the fourth most populous town of the province. It preserves its original structure of a typical medieval city, rectangular blocks arranged in a regular lines and interrupted by parallel streets and roads, forming a square, that divides the town into three districts, known as terzieri, the oldest of which is known as Borgo Vecchio. The houses feature porches, loggias and courtyards with well and most of the buildings are the result of two combined architectural styles: Gothic and Baroque.
The recent discovery of pre-Roman artifacts suggests that the town was already inhabited around 800 B.C. The official foundation was in 1236 when the Guelph cities allied between themselves to fight against Asti; whilst in the early XIV century it became part of the dominion of the Marquis of Saluzzo. It was then occupied by the Anjou and in 1314 it was ceded to the Prince of Acaia until 1418, year when the last heir of this family died. During the rule of the Savoy, Fossano was devastated by a terrible plague and later it was occupied by the French. After the peace of Cateau-Cambresis, King Emanuele Filiberto moved his court here and granted Fossano the title of City. In 1690 the main center was sacked by French troops and then in 1797 it was besieged by Napoleon's troops.
Not to miss:
- the Church of Trinity designed by Francesco Gallo in the XVIII century. It presents a beautiful brick façade.
- the shrine of Our Lady of the Divine Providence.
- the Castle of the Princes of Acaia, located in the district of Romanisio, it features a square plan with corner towers located at each 45 degrees, linked by a fortified walkway, and surrounded by a wide moat around its perimeter. Built in brick between 1314 and 1332 on the orders of Philip I of Acaia, it looks compact and austere, whilst inside it features a Renaissance arcade-style that dates back to the second half of the XV century. The fortress was transformed into a private residence by Amadeus VIII of Savoy, it then became a prison at first and military barracks then, until it was restored and has become an exhibition centre and hosts important cultural activities.
- the Civil Hospital also designed by Gallo.
- the Thesauro Palace, a Gothic style structure, located in the square of St. George and restored in the Baroque period.
- the Palazzo Santa Giulia.
- the Town Hall
- the Commander's Palace.
- the Palace of the District Court.
- Palazzo Burgos.
- Palazzo Daviso of Charvensod.
- Palazzo Righini.