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Water, blue gold for the glory and delicacy of Napoleon

The French triumph at Marengo, emerged from the strategic supervision of Napoleon Bonaparte, was favored by the storm thrown by Jupiter on the plain of Fraschéta to stop the Habsburg troops. The Fontanone, a large canal with sloping banks and a depth of two metres, was running across the plain from Frugarolo (north) to Lobbi (south): on 14 June 1800, the riverbed swelled by the flood slowed the march from the Pederbona estate to the Marengo plain to 30,000 Austrian soldiers. Today it is impossible to see the bottom of the irrigation stream already restored at the dawn of 1900 but it is possible to define two traces unknown to the past centuries. The depression wide 4 meters and long 12 meters laid out on the park of Villa Delavo is a dry riverbed and in Lobbi, in Via Franchini 15, the pair of semi-basement arches adjacent to the Fontanone and still visible irrigation channels let imagine the ancient wash-house. Today the Fontanone is the irrigation channel near the village of Marengo and continues the course to Casteceriolo and Lobbi to flow almost at the intersection of Bormida and Tanaro: the topographical parallel reflects the original location. The fresh water, clear at the dawn of the XIX century was the mine of small crustaceans processed by the cook of the French high commands: the myth consecrates to the mastery of Dunand the Chicken Marengo, the unique dish -very rich and nutritious (river prawns, chicken, eggs, mushrooms)- preferred by the General to celebrate the victories after Marengo.