PIGNONE | LIGURIA REGION
Located a few km from the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, Pignone is about 90 km from Genoa and 80 from Pisa. The Castellaro, on the hill facing the village, is an important site of the Bronze Age, related to the "people of the Swan", the ancient Ligurians. The legendary Cycnus, King of the Ligurian, was a friend of Phaeton, a son of Apollo, and for this reason was changed by Jupiter into a swan and placed among the stars, forming the Cygnus constellation.
Today Castellaro, accessible through two easy paths, is an area of great interest, subject to environmental protection for its delicate, complex karst system. On the site there are traces of dry stone walls from prehistory.
The medieval settlement rose on pre-existing Roman pagus, situated at the crossroads of two ancient roads, the former lading to Segesta, today's Sestri Levante, the other to Velleia in the province of Piacenza.
The history of the village of Pignone is connected to the Romanesque church of Santa Maria Assunta, surrounded by a fascinating maze of "carruggi" (=narrow alleys). The name appears in a bull by Eugene III in 1149; in 1252 Guglielmo, the bishop of Luni, gave Pignone to the powerful Fieschi di Lavagna family. Cardinal Luca Fieschi in February 1312 accompanied the young emperor Arrigo VII of Luxembourg, traveling to Rome to be crowned emperor, ant they stopped at Pignone.
During the Renaissance some remarkable buildings were erected, as those of the noble families Bordigoni and De Lucchini, and the loggia overlooking Piazza Marconi, under which in April 1465 the inhabitants of Pignone swore allegiance to the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza.
During the 16th century the original structure of the fortified village was changed with the creation of three access ways, of which today only one is extant, the door at the entrance of Ponte Vecchio, an unusual structure with a single stone arch, going back, according to some scholars, to the Roman age.
During the Napoleonic period the municipal seat was transferred to the nearby village of Casale, but with the advent of the Kingdom of Savoy in 1815 it was reinstated in Pignone.