The Priamar fortress
Liberty style building
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy
Hints to the history of Savona
The history of Savona began in the Bronze Age on the Priamar hill and continued in medieval times with its merchants active in the whole mediterranian basin.
The pontiffs Sisto IV ( 1414 1484, promotor of the Sistine Chapel) and Giulio II (1443 1513, known as the Warrier Pope) brought Savona to its maximum splendour making it a centre of cultural attraction.
The Priamar fortress (1542), at the base of which some remains of the preRoman and Byzantine age have been found, has witnessed the defeat of Savona and the breakup of the marriage between art and economy by means of the rival Maritime Republic of Genoa.
Only around 1700 the seafering activities, commerce and arts reflourished and consolidated in 1800 with the arrival of the the railway which favoured the birth of the industrial structure until the 1980s.
The city was awarded a gold medal for military valour and for the courage of its citizens in the partisan resistence during world war II.
Currently Savona is the main gateway to tourist sites on the Riviera.
The historic centre of the city still preserves medieval winding narrow lanes, charming squares, palaces and elegant art nuveau buildings in contrast to the adjacent new part, the "glass district", with its bars, pubs and meeting places for young people and guests from the Riviera who can enjoy aperitifs and food from traditional or innovative menus while breathing the scent of the salty sea air.
Many musical and theatrical events are held in the old docks during the summer months but the peak is reached on the night of December 31st with the "Great New Year's Eve Celebration".
TESTIMONIALS OF OUR HISTORY:
THE TOWER (1392). Leon Pancaldo Tower is the symbol of the city. It stands in front of the port and is the last surviving piece of the 14th century walls. A statue of the Virgin of Mercy, patron of Savona, by Filippo Parodi (1662) is preserved in its niche.
THE CATHEDRAL (1589 1605) including the Dome, the Cloister, the Sistine Chapel and Pius VII's apartments. Among its works it houses the precious renaissance wooden choir.
THE SISTINE CHAPEL, carrying the same name as the Sistine Chapel in Rome, with frescoes by Michelangelo, was commissioned by Pope Sistus IV in 1481 as a mausoleum for his parents.
THE PRIAMAR FORTRESS built in 1542 by the Republic of Genoa to seal the victory over the free town of Savona, is a giant and articulated military structure which became a penal colony during the Risorgimento (period leading to unity of Italy) Giuseppe Mazzini, therein detained, conceived "La Giovane Italia" ( The Young Italy).
His cell can still be visited. Today its majestic beauty is the perfect background for weddings, conferences, art exhibitions, and in the summer months is an outdoor stage for concerts, plays, opera and movies. Its halls also host the Archeological Museum and the Sandro Pertini Art Collection.
THE CIVIC PICTURE GALLERY, which is inside Palazzo Gavotti, houses art collections paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings and prints from 1300 until 1900 among the most important of Liguria. It also house the ceramic museum.
CHIABRERA THEATRE, inaugurated October 1, 1853, is described as the most beautiful historic functioning theatre in Liguria. The opera singer Renata Scotto debuted there on Christmas eve 1952 as Violetta in Giuseppe Verdi's "Traviata".
VIA PALEOCAPA and CORSO ITALIA contain Liberty style buildings. Among the finest Palazzo delle Piane in Corso Italia and Palazzo dei Pavoni in via Paleocapa. Via Paleocapa and Corso Italia are the main streets for strolling and shopping.
VIA PIA is the main street of the medieval route. Its buildings are embellished by typical slate portals.
PIAZZA MAMELI Every day at 6 p.m. for the last 80 years the hole square stops while the Bell of the Monument of the War Dead sounds 21 strokes, like the letters of the alphabet, to remember the fallen from the two World Wars. It's a moving and touching experience even for the inhabitants of Savona.
THE SANCTUARY OF OUR LADY OF MERCY was built to celebrate the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Beato Botta on March 18, 1536.
THE GOOD FRIDAY PROCESSION is the most important religious event in the city, dating back to 1200, to the tradition of the flagellants. Every two years (even years), members of the brotherwoods of the many oratories of the city, parade through the streets carrying the precious heavy processional sculptures representing the Passion. Many of them are undisputed works of art from 1700, visible in the oratories of the city.