The city we see today has medieval origins, with a name that is said to derive from an ancient lord of the town, known as ‘Cambarius’. Built next to a former defensive fort around the tenth century, Chambéry then passed to the Italian Dukes of Savoy in the late thirteenth century, who made it their capital until the second half of the sixteenth century, at which time the capital was transferred to Turin. At that time the city was called ‘Ciamberì’ in Italian.
For the Dukes of Savoy, Chambéry was a city of great importance – for example, when the Savoy family became the ‘Duchy of Savoy’ under Amadeus VIII in 1416 the festivities were held n Chambery.
Moving forwards the city had quite a troubled history, and changed hands several times between France and Italy: iIt passed to the French in 1536 and then, with the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis in August 1559 it returned to the Dukes of Savoy under Emanuele Filiberto. The French occupied Chambéry again in 1630 and then returned it to the Savoy with the Peace of Cherasco in 1631. Yet again, Chambéry was under French rule at the time of Louis XIV and returned in 1713 with the Treaty of Utrecht.
But the troubles of Chambéry do not end here, and in 1742 the city was occupied by the Spaniards. The castle was destroyed in the first half of the 18th century, rebuilt, then devastated again by a fire in December 1798.
Chambéry in the Napoleonic age was again incorporated in the French territory (as was much of Italy), but was returned to the Savoy in 1815 following the Treaty of Paris.
Chambéry was then part of the the Savoy until 1861, when it was ceded permanently to France.