Sightseeing in Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena
We often say: Liguria is not just sea. Even though Summer is our favourite season, we’ll never cease of advising you to have a visit all year round and enjoy the beauties of our territory. Autumn festivals and culinary events are a tempting opportunity to discover the Ligurian inland. But if you are charmed by the Middle Ages and would like to dive into history, this time we’ll take you to one among the most impressive borghi (hamlets) in the Savona province: Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena.
Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena History
Set in a strategic area in the Neva Valley, 1100 meters above sea level , this old town was founded by the marquises of Clavesana in the 12th century. The importance of the center faded during the rise of Del Carretto family and the foundation of the nearby feud of Zuccarello in the 14th century. The hamlet of the Clavesana lost its indipendence this way, and was annexed to the territories of the powerful Del Carretto family.
Between the 1623 and 1624 the Savoia bought the town, and they held it in their Dukedom until 1672, when following a long siege they lost it to the Republic of Genoa. In 1815 Castelvecchio became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and then of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
Among the most beautiful borghi in Italy
Nowadays the little ligurian inland town is known as one among the most beautiful borghi d’Italia, preserving its medieval heritage almost pristine. The houses, gripping onto the hill circling the castle, are arranged in narrow alleys and old pathways. While hiking, if you look upwards you can’t miss the evocative buttresses that connect more buildings together, or the typical “gobbe” (humps). These are an ingenius building workaround of the locals: it is in fact an external oven, so that space is saved inside the building.
The visit starts from Piazza della Torre. Long ago, in this square the executions took place, and that is why it is also known as Piazza della Forca (Gallows plaza). On one side stands a medieval tower, while on the other side we find the Oratorio (Oratory) di Santa Maria Maddalena. This building, from which a lovely bell gable stands out, is characterized by a lunette, where the saint icon is portrayed. In the Baroque interiors several local school paintings are preserved, and it is home to a brotherhood.
If we continue in the lower part of the town we get into the Chiesa parrocchiale (Parish Church) di Nostra Signora Assunta. Most probably built during the 15th century, it has been renewed several times during the Baroque period.
Following the path to the graveyard we then find the Santuario (Sanctuary) di Nostra Signora delle Grazie. This chapel represent an ex vow the popular devotion offered to the Virgin as gratitude offering for having spared the village from the plague in the 17th Century.
The castle of the Clavesana family
The most representative building in Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena is, without doubts, the castle. Its awe-inspiring presence towers on top of the stone village, already bisible from the panoramic parking area. The original square fortification was commisioned, as previously told, by the marquises of Clavesana and was severely damaged during the sieges that followed during the centuries.
Nowadays the fortress is private and not accessible, but we would like to suggest, nevertheless, a walk to the castle. From the hill it is possible to have an outstanding look at the surrounding panorama, indeed.
If you are planning a vacation in our village, we are waiting for you here at the reception desk for any information you may need regarding the Ligurian inland escursions!