GOTHS & LOMBARDS
The city during the roman barbarian kingdoms
In the 4th – 5th century, Augusta Taurinorum became Christian and known as simply Taurinum. The Western Roman Empire declined and fell, leaving the region on the Italian side of the Alps a ready prey for barbarian invaders: in 403 the battle between Alaric's Visigoths and the Roman army led by Stilicho took place at Pollenzo, while three years later the countryside around Turin was laid waste by the Gothic hordes commanded by Radagaisus. After the pillaging wrought by the Burgundians and the mass deportation of farmers to Gaul, life gradually returned to normal following the victory of Theodoric, king of the Goths, after the establishment of his kingdom in Italy. The settlement and aristocratic burial ground discovered at Collegno, on the edge of Turin, constitute rare material remnants of the presence of the Goths in Italy. Trade was renewed and Turin may have regained a certain of prosperity, as suggested by the development of the cathedral group.
In the 6th century it’s feared the arrivals of Franks, but in 570 the Lombards took over Turin and made it the centre of one of the region's four duchies along with Asti, Ivrea and San Giulio d’O rta. Dominant at Turin among the Lombards themselves were the Turingi, whose leader Agilulf, dux Turingorum de Taurini, was the first duke and rose to king in 591. He was followed by dukes Arioald, Garipald and Ragimpert , who all, except Garipald, became kings demonstrating the strategical importance of this duchy located on the sensitive frontier with the kingdom of the Franks. The discovery during excavations of the Basilica del Salvatore of a fragment of the gravestone of a hitherto unknown Duke Aubald has provided further evidence of the dukes of Turin and their burial near the cathedral.
The court resided in the city, but is now solely recalled by a reference to the church of St Peter “de curte ducis”, later San Pietro del Gallo, situated between Via Torquato Tasso, Via Palatina, and Piazza IV Marzo and demolished in 1728. Much more archaeological evidence, on the other hand, as illustrated on the map of the finds, has been gathered with regard to the settlements of Lombards around the centre of the town. The boundary of the Lombard kingdom along the main highways leading to the Alpine passes was fortified with chiuse, defensive ramparts set up on the floors of the Aosta and Susa Valleys at the narrows of Bard and San Michele respectively. It was at the Chiusa San Michele, in fact, that the Lombards failed to halt the invasion of Charlemagne's Franks in 773.