Among the miners, who helped the soldiers assigned to the defence of the underground tunnels of the Turin fortress, there was a certain Pietro Micca, born in Sagliano d’Andorno (now called Sagliano Micca) near Biella on 5th March 1677. So at the time of the event he was 29. He was called, like many people in those times, with a nickname, his was: “Passapertutt” (Going through everything).
During the siege the French had several times tried to break into the fortress. In the night between the the 29th and the 30th of August he was standing with a fellow soldier behind the door that blocked the staircase, leading from the upper tunnels down into the lower ones and from them into the citadel.
Everything happened in a flash.
Some French soldiers had succeeded in entering the upper tunnel, after overwhelming the men guarding the entrance and were trying to break down the door opening on the staircase that reached the lower tunnel.
The door was going to give way when Pietro Micca realised that his mate could not set the fuse because it was too short. Without delay he told him to leave and set fire to the fuse, knowing perfectly well that the explosion would be almost immediate. Infact the vault of the staircase fell and crushed the French but also killed the brave miner, whose body was flung forty meters away.
Although the episode did not play a decisive role in saving the fortress and the town, it was evidence of the heroic deed of a soldier and has become the symbol of the sacrifice of all the people that defended the citadel in those never-to-be-forgotten days