Discovering the village of Giustenice
Giustenice is a hilltop village just above Pietra Ligure, about 15 minutes from Loano. Visiting it is truly an opportunity to get to know an ancient peasant reality. The landscape, in fact, is the most characteristic that can be found in Liguria: rich olive groves protected by terraces and long walls of dry stone walls. Further north, however, the vegetation thickens with oaks and ash trees, until it reaches the woods of Monte Carmo.
Once in Giustenice the castle of the Del Carretto family dominated. Today, however, this territory is the home of oil and numerous sports activities, such as E-bike excursions.
But there are several surprises that this ancient village has to offer: read on to find out more!
The history of Giustenice
The sound of his name is curious and represents a true tongue twister for foreigners, who pronounce it in a thousand nice ways. The origin, of course, is Latin (jus tenens) and derives from the fact that justice was administered in this village since Roman times. Probably already in the Byzantine period, where the ruins of the medieval castle now stand, there was a fortified village, later conquered by the Lombards. The news of the medieval village is, however, successive: for the first time in 1248 Giustenice appears in an act signed by Bonifacio di Clavesana.
Subsequently, the dominion of this territory was disputed by the bishops of Albenga and by the Marquis Del Carretto (XIII – XIV century). But it was with a papal bull issued by Urban VI that Giustenice came under the control of the Republic of Genoa (1385).
Conquered again by the powerful Del Carretto, in 1448 the village was the scene of a terrible armed clash between the noble family and the Republic of Genoa. Numerous Genoese troops besieged the castle, which fell ruinously under the attacks of the generals of the Superba. The Del Doria family was then replaced by the Doria family in 1470, under the Podesta office of Pietra.
The years that followed were characterized by the political events that united the rest of Liguria. With Napoleon Giustenice he returned to the interior of the Ligurian Republic (1797) and the First French Empire (1805-1814). In 1815 it was incorporated, however, in the Kingdom of Sardinia and, finally, in the Kingdom of Italy (1861).
From Giustenice to Uruguay
Few people know that Josè Serrato’s father was born in Giustenice in the first half of the 19th century, who was president of Uruguay from 1923 to 1927. Like many Italians in those years, Domenico Serrato also left the small Ligurian village to try his luck in South America. He settled in Montevideo, where a few years later Giuseppe (Josè), the future president of Uruguay was born. Josè studied engineering at the University of the Republic and was a professor of mathematics. He became an important member of the Colorado party and held important positions: he was deputy minister of Development (1913), Finance (1904-1906) and interior (1911), until he was elected president, first in the history of Uruguay, thanks to the vote universal (1923).
Justinians can be proud of the achievements of the South American cousin: Serrato was in fact responsible for the establishment of the electoral court; inaugurated the Legislative Palace and created funds for pensioners, civil pensions and those of the employees of the pension bank.
The villages of Giustenice
Giustenice does not have a real center, but is made up of hamlets, or hamlets, which each take their name from their own church. Going up from Pietra Ligure, we leave the torrent Val Maremola on the right and take the second exit from the small roundabout that leads us to Giustenice. Going straight we find the first district: Santa Libera. We are at the beginning of the village, between the Serrati Inferiore and Serrati Superiori streets (this is where the house where Josè Serrato’s father was born) is located. To appear first is the eighteenth-century chapel of Santa Liberata, with its salmon-colored facade.
Continuing straight ahead we find ourselves in San Lorenzo with the homonymous baroque church. Here is the seat of the municipality and, under the archivolt in Piazza del Costino, a stone seat testifies to the activity of the judge-podestà of the Stone, who administered justice in medieval times.
San Michele develops around the ancient Del Carretto castle. Its ruins suggest the grandeur of the fortification that dominated the entire valley from that height.
To get to the district of San Martino you have to reach the woods of the Valsorda hamlet. It is the oldest township. Its stone chapel, in fact, is a beautiful example of an early Christian church.
Finally, the Cappelletta, in the Foresto hamlet. This district was born from devotion to the Madonna of Lourdes, as evidenced by the gracious cave where the altar dedicated to the apparition is kept.
What to see in Giustenice
Let’s summarize what you can visit in Giustenice:
• Parish church of San Michele Arcangelo (16th century)
• Oratorio dei Disciplinanti – Our Lady of the Snow (San Michele)
• Chapel of San Martino
• Church of San Lorenzo
• Oratory of the Immaculate Conception (San Lorenzo)
• Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes
• Column of the Madonna dei Poveri
• Stone seat of medieval origin (in front of the Town Hall)
• Chapel of Santa Libera
• Giustenice Castle
Giustenice is a village of just over 900 inhabitants, near Loano. Its territory offers a multiplicity of landscapes, mysterious and ancient places, which are just waiting to be discovered!