Savona and its surroundings


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Savona and its surroundings: sand and surprises

On the Western edge of Liguria Savona stands out, it is featured by the Priamar stronghold, once a fortification and a citadel of art and culture nowadays. The scent of the sea crosses the narrow streets, “carruggi”, of the historical centre where the art shows the best of itself with the art gallery followed by the churches and the cathedral and the “little” Sistina, the chapel that was built by the will of the Pope Sixtus IV. .  

From the charm of the city you can immediately step on the hinterland that keeps one of the most important places dedicated to the devotion to the Virgin Mary, the sacred place of Nostra Signora di Misericordia. The hinterland is spotted with tiny villages such as Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena and its medieval features, Zuccarello that is crossed by the arcades and keeps the Church of S. Bartolomeo built together with the village in the XIIIth century and Borgio Verezzi with its colourful caves, eight-hundred metres of route inside big rooms rich of colours, white, yellow and red and thousands of different shades because of the many different types of minerals. Silent places that contrast with the noises of “riviera” and its famous towns like Varazze that is praised for an old tradition of shipbuilding in an area that has been inhabited since the ancient times as it is witnessed by the archaeological museum of Alpicella. On the Western side of the town a number of towers and remains of the ancient walls are still visible, they date back to the XIIth and XIVth century and were built to protect the town from the invasion of the Saracens who arrived from the sea. Not far from Varazze there is Celle Ligure, an old village of fishermen that takes its name from “celle”, the warehouses that were used to deposit the fish.

Then there are Spotorno and Noli: so near and so different. The former tends to be more attracted by the frivolous life of the coastline while the latter is more silent and keeps historical witnesses from the past and it is one of the best kept medieval tiny villages of Liguria, set in an inlet and surrounded by a castle and towers that dominate the village from the top. Memories from the past can be tasted in Loano as well, it looks out on the sea and features a long palms avenue and it is rich of buildings dating back to the XVIth century among which the Council House. The so-called Borgo castello of Loano is the medieval core and it is surrounded by the walls and there is an amazing park; it was built by the will of Giovanni Andrea Doria between the XVIth and the XVIIth century. From Borgo castello you can walk to the cloister of Monte Carmelo that dates back to the XVIth century, it is set on a hill and keeps the graves of the Doria’s until 1793. You can plunge into history if you visit the historical centre of Albenga. Alassio is a sparkling small town and it is famous for its “muretto” that used to welcome celebrities who left their autographs reproduced on the pottery in the sixties..  

Albissola Marina, once the destination of poets and writers like Ernest Hemingway; is famous for its handicraft pottery and there is a museum dedicated to that art. Varigotti deserves to be seen as well, it is an ancient Saracen tiny village. Along the coastline Pietra Ligure stands out, it takes its name from “Castrum petrae” because of a fortification set on a rocky spur where there are the remains of a castle dating back to the XIIth century. Finale Ligure must be mentioned too, it has three kilometres of seaside walk, big gardens and it is made of three different tiny villages that have been gathered and it is featured by a landscape that makes sea, the art and the nature come together as one..

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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