town, Piemonte (Piedmont) regione, northwestern Italy. It lies at the entrance to the Valle del Chisone, at the foot of the Alps, southwest of Turin. First mentioned in 996 as a possession of Turin, it belonged to the nearby Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria in 1078. Under the house of Savoy from 1246, it was the capital (1295-1418) of the princes of Acaia, a subsidiary line. The town was occupied by the French in 1536-74, 1631-96, and 1801-14, and its fortress was used during the 17th century as a state prison for such political prisoners as the Duke de Lauzun, enemy of Louis XIV's mistress Mme de Montespan; Nicolas Fouquet, Louis's embezzling finance minister; and the mysterious "Man in the Iron Mask," whose story is best known from one of the novels of Alexandre Dumas pere. Pinerolo became a bishop's see in 1748.
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