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We want to dedicate today’s article to one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, located in the province of Imperia, about 40 km from Loano: we are talking about Cervo, a balanced medieval village halfway between the blue sea and the green hills.


A bit of history

We begin to tell the story of this village, starting from the name: Cervo derives from “Servo“, which literally means “to offer services”, a word used in Roman times on signs of inns and other places that offered hospitality. In the 16th century it would later become a deer with the passage from the Latin to the vernacular.

In 181 BC with the overthrow of Liguria by the Romans, Cervo became an important point of reference thanks to its privileged position.

After 476 with the fall of the Roman Empire, Cervo underwent sacked by the barbarians but was later occupied by the Byzantines who began a social and economic recovery. They also built fortifications and other structures for defensive purposes, such as the tower still visible today.

Between the ninth and tenth centuries the area of ​​Cervo and the western Ligurian became the protagonist of attacks operated by the Saracens, which forced the inhabitants to seek refuge among the hill fortifications. Also, in this phase we witness the dismemberment of the Carolingian empire of which Cervo was a part, thus becoming part of the Albenga county.

In 1204 it was proclaimed a free commune, under the Republic of Genoa, which in 1330 assigned the fief to the Knights of Malta. In the following years the command of the village passed first to the Doria family, then to the Del Carretto family to then return under the Genoese jurisdiction.

In the sixteenth century it had to undergo heavy attacks by Saracen pirates, attracted by the traffic of the coral, to which the inhabitants of Cervo were accustomed.

With the fall of the Republic of Genoa, from 1797 Cervo passed under the command of the Ligurian Republic. It was then annexed in 1805 to the First French Empire.

In 1815 it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Sardinia and in 1861 into the Kingdom of Italy.

What to see and do in Cervo

The historic center is all to be explored on foot, crossing narrow streets that from the Via Aurelia, at sea level, reach the main square, where the Church of San Giovanni Battista stands out, here known as the “corallini” church, because it was built thanks to the contribution of the coral fishermen. The church was built thanks to the project of the architect Giobatta Marvaldi, between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, according to the baroque style, which is clearly visible on the facade and in the interior.

From here, going up on the right you reach up to Piazza Santa Caterina where you can see the castle of the Clavesana, built by the homonymous Marquis in the XIII century, which incorporates the tower of the Byzantine era. Now the structure houses the ethnographic museum.

Other buildings that deserve a visit are the former oratory of Santa Caterina, the church of San Nicola and Palazzo Morchio.

Cervo is also home to a very important international music event such as the Chamber Music Festival, which every year on the summer evenings enchants many spectators in the magical scenery of Piazza dei Corallini, in front of the church, a place with acoustics almost perfect.

In the summer months there is also the literary representation “Cervo ti strega” which sees the finalists of the Strega award as protagonists.

We suggest you get lost in the streets of the village: little houses with cheerful pastel colors, stone walls on which Bougainvillea climb and the magnificent views of the sea below will leave you astonished.