ALASSIO | LIGURIA REGION
The town of Alassio is located along the Italia Riviera in the Savona Province. Alassio is known for its natural and scenic views. The town centre is crossed by a pedestrianized cobbled road known as the Budello. The town has sandy beaches, blue sea, and many bars and restaurants on the sea front. Alassio has also a pier known as "Molo di Alassio" or "Pontile Bestoso" which offers views of the town. Alassio is situated on the Riviera di Ponente coast, and it has a small tourist port (porticciolo) named "Luca Ferrari". It is also a health resort in winter and a bathing place in summer and has many hotels.
Alassio is thought to have been founded in the 10th Century, in the area of "St Anna ai Monti Church" where a family nucleus first resided, then subsequent members moved in the hilly area of "Madonna delle Grazie" which is still known with the name "Caste'". Here one of the first Heraldic symbols of the town is still visible. Control of the town was eventually taken by the monks from the island of Gallinara and later by the commune of Albenga. In 1521 a series of defensive walls was built to defend the town from Barbary pirate raids. It was subsequently a possession of the Republic of Genoa and, from the early 19th century onwards, of the Kingdom of Sardinia. It became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Alassio became a tourist resort in the late 19th century, thanks to the presence of English tourists.
WHAT TO SEE IN ALASSIO
- Parish church of St. Ambrose.
- Palazzo Ferrero de Gubernatis Ventimiglia.
- Saracen Tower.
- The Muretto, a wall with 550 tiles signed by celebrities.
- English-language Library
ALBENGA | LIGURIA REGION
Albenga is an important seaside resort along the "Riviera di Ponente" (Western Riviera) is situated at the estuary of the Centa river. Albenga was strategically important since Roman times, being on the Via Aurelia, one of the main Roman roads.
The commune includes also the Natural Reserve of the island of Gallinara, where existed a monastery dedicated to St Martin from Tours. Albenga occupies one of the very few plain areas of Liguria, where an intensive agriculture is practised, as well as a rich production of flowers.
WHAT TO SEE IN ALBENGA
- The historical center, one of the best preserved in the Liguria region, still surrounded by walls, with many towers and medieval palaces.
- The octagonal Battistero, an early Christian building of the 5th century AD, where a basin for immersion baptism is contained, and mosaic decorations.
- The Museo Navale Romano, which preserves over 1000 items found on a shipwreck of the 1st century AD
- Archeological site at the estuary of the Centa - recently a tomb of a girl dating back to the earliest centuries of the Christian era were found; the girl had gold net covering her hair, which is almost a unique finding. Also remains of a spa are being excavated, with a pool of 15x20 meters, which is so far the largest thermal pool found in Italy.
- The Riserva Naturale Regionale Isola Gallinara, where Roman ships were found, is today a shelter for the Herring Gull, with one of the largest colonies of this bird in the Mediterranean, rare plant species and intact sea bottoms.
FINALE LIGURE | LIGURIA REGION
Finale Ligure is small commune of the Western Ligurian Riviera consists actually of 3 different centers. Finale Marina, along the sea with a fine seafront of palm trees, is the more recent tourist development; Finale Pia, higher on the coast which is the older part, Varigotti, an ancient Saracen settlement also along the sea; and Finalborgo (or Finale Borgo) the early medieval borough with the beautiful castles of Castlegovone and San Giovanni.
The territory of Finale is rich in caves, where traces of the presence of man in the Neolithic were found. The earliest historical mention of the town goes back to Roman times, when the center was called Ad Fines (=at the boundary) since it marked the border between two Ligurian tribes, the Sabatii and the Ingauni.
In 967 Holy Roman Emperor Otho I established the Aleramic Marquisate, granting the territory to his daughter and her descendants.
In 1091 the fiefdom passed to marquis Del Carretto, whose family became one of the most powerful in the Liguria region, often in competition in the following centuries with the Genoa Republic, until finally a war broke out in 1447, when Finalborgo was set on fire and the Del Carretto defeated, though later emperors Maximilian I and Charles V reconfirmed the fiefdom to the family.
In 1558 the bad government of Alfonso II Del Carretto led to the occupation by the Milan governor. In 1602 Finale passed under the Spaniards, who sold it to Genoa in 1713, Finally in 1815 it was granted by the Congress of Vienna to the Kingdom of Sardinia.
WHAT TO SEE IN FINALE LIGURIA
- A benedictine Abbey at Finale Pia, with a 13th century belltower
- The medieval borough of Finalborgo, included among the most beautiful boroughs in Italy, surrounded by 15th century walls and round towers, one of which was made into the belltower of the fine church of St Blaise.
- At Varigotti, specatacular cliffs called "rupi di Malpasso"
- 6 km north east of Finale is the Mànie plateau, with caves of special paleonthological significance, among them the Arma delle Mànie grotto, which can be visited.
SAVONA | LIGURIA REGION
Savona is a seaport in the Ligurian Riviera di Ponente on the Mediterranean Sea. It used to be one of the chief seats of the Italian iron industry, with iron-works and foundries, shipbuilding, railway workshops, engineering shops, brass foundry.
Savona is the Roman Savo of the Ingauni, where, according to Livy, Mago stored his booty in the Second Punic War. The place was outshone in importance in Roman times by the harbor at Vada Sabatia (Vado),from which a road diverged across the Apennines to Placentia. In 1191 the commune of Savona bought out the territorial claims of the feudal lords, the marchesi Del Carretto.
Its whole history is that of a long struggle against Genoa. As early as the 12th century the Savonese built themselves a sufficient harbour, but in the 16th century the Genoese, fearing that Francis I of France intended to make it a great seat of Mediterranean trade, rendered it useless by sinking at its mouth vessels filled with large stones. In 1746 Savona was captured by the king of Sardinia, but it was restored to Genoa by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
WHAT TO SEE IN SAVONA
- On the Rocca di San Giorgio stands the fortress named Priamar ("rock on the sea") built by the Genoese in 1542, on the area of the old cathedral and later used as a prison and military prison (italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini was imprisoned here).
- Near the Cathedral (built 1589 – 1604) is the Cappella Sistina containing the tomb erected by the Della Rovere Pope Sixtus IV to honor his parents, and
- Facing the cathedral is the Palazzo Della Rovere built by Cardinal Giulio della Rovere (Pope Julius II) from the plans of Giuliano da Sangallo as a university.