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Cuneo (Coni in Piedmontese) is a city in Piedmont, northern Italy, the capital of the province of Cuneo, the third largest of Italy’s provinces by area. It is located at the foot of the Maritime Alps, on the Stura di Demonte river where it emerges from the Valle Stura, and neighbours the communes of Boves, Cervasca, Vignolo, Beinette, Peveragno, Castelletto Stura, Caraglio and Tarantasca.
Cuneo was founded in 1198 by the local population, who declared it an independent commune, freeing themselves from the authority of the bishops of Asti and the marquisses of Montferrat and Saluzzo. In 1210 the latter occupied it, and in 1231 the Cuneesi rebelled. In 1238 they were recognized as free commune by Emperor Frederick II.
In 1259 the independence of Cuneo ceased forever, as it gave itself, also to take protection against its more powerful neighbours, to Charles I of Anjou, who was then King of Naples and Count of Provence. Together with Alba, it was the main Angevine possession in northern Italy; their rule (in fact interrupted by periods under Saluzzo, Savoy, the Visconti of Milan) ended in 1382 when Cuneo was acquired by the Duchy of Savoy.
Cuneo became an important stronghold of the expanding Savoy state, and was thus besieged by France several times: first in 1515 by Swiss troops of Francis I of France, then again in 1542, 1557, 1639, 1641, 1691 and, during the War of Austrian Succession, in 1741. In all the sieges Cuneo resisted successfully. Cuneo was conquered by France only during the Napoleonic Wars, when it was made the capital of the Stura dèpartment. After the restoration of the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the unification of Italy, Cuneo became the capital of its namesake province in 1859.
During World War II, from 1943 to 1945, it was one of the main centre of partisan resistance against the German occupation of Italy.
Cuisine and food
Cuneo's specialty is Cuneesi al rhum, chocolates with a unique rum-based filling. The most famous brand is Arione, located in Galimberti's Place (the city's principal square). Arione, founded in 1923, has kept its traditional furniture and old world appearance to this day, projecting a feeling of timeless old-fashioned elegance. Many famous people have stopped by to taste the famous Cuneesi al rhum, including the famous writer Ernest Hemingway, who tasted the traditional delicacy in 1954.