PINEROLO [PIGNEROL], a city and episcopal see of Piedmont, Italy, in the province of Turin. Pop. (1901), 12,608 (town); 18,039 (commune). It is built on a hill-side just above the valleys of the Chisone and the Lemina, at a height of 1234 ft. above the sea, 24 m. by rail S.W. of Turin. The railway goes on to Torre Pellice; and steam tramways run from Pinerolo to Perosa, and to Cavour and Saluzzo. Till 1696 it was strongly' fortified with a citadel on Santa Brigida, a castle on S. Maurizio, and city walls constructed by Thomas I. of Savoy. It has a cathedral (St Donatus), the palace of the princes of Acaia and other buildings of some interest. Cotton, silk, wool and hemp are among the local manufactures.
Pinerolo was bestowed on the bishops of Turin by Otto III. in 996; but in 1078 the countess Adelaide made it over to the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria, in whose possession it remained till 1159. Thomas I. of Savoy captured the castle in 1188, and in 1246 the commune formally recognized the supremacy of Savoy. Passing in 1295 into the hands of Philip, son of Thomas III., Pinerolo became his residence and capital, a distinction which it retained under Amadeus VIII. of Savoy. Francis I. of France obtained possession of the town in his descent into Italy, but Emmanuel Philibert received it back from Henry III. in 1574. A second occupation by the French occurred under Cardinal Richelieu; the French language was imposed on the people, great fortifications were constructed, and the fortress (Pignerol) was used as a state prison for such men as Fouquet, De Caumont and the Man with the Iron Mask (see IRON MASK). Victor Amadeus bombarded the place in 1693, and ultimately compelled Louis XIV. to relinquish his hold on it; but before the withdrawal of the French troops the defences were demolished. In 1748 the town was made a bishop's see.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)