What to see in Pietra Ligure
Five minutes from Loano is the pretty town of Pietra Ligure. With its promenade and its rich historic center, it is confirmed as one of the most sought after tourist destinations. The shops in the center, the hinterland and the beaches are certainly valid reasons to visit this resort on the Riviera delle Palme, as well as the numerous sports activities that can be carried out in the area.
Today, however, we want to offer you a journey through the history of Pietra Ligure, which will help you to appreciate even a simple walk through its alleys.
The history of Pietra Ligure
Castrum et Oppidum Petrae, or “the stone castle”: so it was called in ancient times Pietra Ligure. The defensive fortress from which it takes its name stands on a limestone cliff, located in the eastern part of the historic center. On it the Romans built their castro, while the bishops of Albenga made it their summer residence during the medieval period.
The antiquity and dominion of Rome
The first human settlements obviously date back to earlier times, even to the Neolithic period, to what the various finds found in the caves of Mount Trabocchetto attest. A few thousand years later, the Romans met the local populations, the Ligurian Ingauni, who had no intention of being part of the domains of Rome. They then allied with the Carthaginians in the second Punic war but, as we know, the resistance ended in failure. In 181 BC the battle of Caprazoppa in Finale Ligure marked the defeat of the Carthaginians, and the ancient Ligurians had to surrender to Rome.
To this period, we owe the construction of the via Aurelia and the via Julia Augusta, created to connect the territories of Rome to nearby southern Gaul.
The middle Ages
During the Lombard age, the medieval village developed around the ancient castle. In the 11th century the important economic resources of the area made the village an easy conquest for the Del Carretto family ˗ who integrated it between their fiefdoms ˗ and the bishop of Albenga. However, the latter was responsible for the reconstruction of the castle and the village. In this period the town began to expand towards the west, giving life to the Borgo Nuovo.
In the fourteenth century Pope Urban VI repaid the help offered by Genoa, during the siege of Nocera, giving the town of Pietra Ligure and its territory to the Superba, which then included Toirano, Boissano, Giustenice, Verzi, Ranzi and Borgio Verezzi .
The modern age
With the fall of Genoa, Pietra Ligure came under Napoleonic rule. Its territory officially returned to the Letimbro Department (1797), within the Ligurian Republic, following the fate of France. Pietra returned to the orbit of the peninsula in 1815, with the annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia, to then share the Italian adventure from 1861.
What to visit in Pietra Ligure
Now that we have a general smattering of the history of Pietra Ligure, we can walk through its streets with greater awareness, appreciate the ancient alleys and historic buildings. This town has gone through centuries of history, between wars and plagues. If you pay attention, among the washed out walls of its historic center, you will see traces of its past.
The Basilica of San Nicolò
But what are the monuments and places of interest not to be missed? We certainly recommend you take some time for a visit to the Basilica of San Nicolò. This church, built in Baroque style on a project by Giovanni Battista Montaldo, was commissioned by the community as a vow to San Nicola di Bari for freeing the population from the plague (1525).
The works began in 1750 and stopped several times, due to the French invasion. The appearance of its facade is of elegant grandeur. But it is the interior that holds the most beautiful spectacle for us: a single, wide nave that leads us towards a triumph of paintings, stuccos and decorations.
The Oratory of the Whites
Another prestigious religious building is the Oratorio dei Bianchi, also in the historic center. This is the ancient parish church of Pietra Ligure, built in 885 and enlarged in Romanesque style in 1384. For a certain period it was abandoned and replaced by the more modern Basilica of San Nicolò, to be granted as an oratory to the brotherhood of the Disciplinati. Stop for a moment to admire its graceful facade, with its stuccos and elegant decorations.
The Oratory of the Santissima Annunziata
Another jewel that can be found during a tour of the historic center of Pietra Ligure is the Oratory of the Santissima Annunziata of the Confraternity of Santa Caterina. The church is really small and graceful: a single nave with a polychrome facade and a beautiful decorated portal. It was obtained as a gift from the Dominicans, who built and expanded it starting from 1519.
If it is true that Christian art has given us some of the most beautiful testimonies