Cuneo legacy in San Colombano
largo Lavezzo, 4 - 16040 San Colombano Certenoli (GE)
Telefono: 0185 35 87 91
La villa La villa Il parco Il parco

Val Fontanabuona, directly behind the Eastern Riviera, winds between silent chestnut woods and stone hamlets from Carasco to Lumarzo in the Genoese hinterland, passing through San Colombano Certenoli, one of the main and largest municipalities in the area.

An industrial and agricultural centre, located around the fertile and narrow plain dug by the river Lavagna, it has ancient origins: it is mentioned in some documents from the 10th century, belonging to the monks from the Bobbio abbey, the monastery founded by the Irish San Colombano in the distant 614.
At the centre of the conflicts between the Fieschi and Malaspina families and the Republic of Genoa for control of the territory, in 1672 the Savoys instigated an attempt at revolt against Genoa in the hamlet of Calvari. The “Congiura della Torre” ended with the rebels being hanged.

Along B road no. 225, which runs along the whole valley, you can find Lascito Cuneo, the historical residence of the family with the same name.  Thanks to the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of the ROP ERDF 2007-2013), the aim is to reinforce and strengthen the cultural, tourist and social role of the structure, currently the only one in the whole of Fontanabuona that can answer cultural requirements and demands. The intervention will include restoration of the historical garden and its surrounding wall, with the annexed tower, and also adaptations that will allow access to disabled people.

A little bit of history

An ancient residence, the historical home of the Cuneo family, a school of every order and level, the residence of Domenico Cuneo, mayor of San Colombano in the mid-19th century, supporter of the “strada di Fondovalle” (Fondovalle Road), today’s B road no. 225. Lascito Cuneo, located in the hamlet of Calvari, has been municipal property since 1905 and was radically transformed during the second half of the 19th century, giving it its current neo Medieval aspect with a turret and internal courtyard limited by a long wall and a park area.

According to the wishes of the donator G.B. Cuneo, who wanted the building to be a place of instruction and culture open to the public, it has been used as a girls’ school, a nursery, a primary school and then a secondary school over the years.

Of great importance is the collection of literary works it contains, which preserves works that range from the second half of the 16th century to the end of the 19th century, among which Historie by Fernando Colombo from 1571, an extremely rare volume written by the son of Christopher Columbus.

The intervention

The aim of the intervention is to complete the structure of Lascito Cuneo, in order to guarantee its complete use and development for cultural, tourist and social purposes.
Following various interventions carried out at the start of the 2000s, the wall with single light windows, the turret and the wall of the green area still have to be renovated, and total accessibility still has to be guaranteed for the disabled.

The current intervention on the building involves the first and second levels of the garden, the antique surrounding wall that separates the garden from the underlying brook Rio Barbaresco, and the turret at the end.

Thanks to the interventions and removal of architectural barriers, the building and garden can be used for exhibitions and cultural moments, with outdoor presentations in particular during the summer.


Every year, the Giornata dell’Emigrante (Emigrant Day) is celebrated in the nearby small town Favale di Malvaro, which is wedged into a lateral valley of Fontanabuona. It is an event that remembers how, not just in Favale di Malvaro but in all of Fontanabuona and Liguria, emigration seriously depopulated these lands between the 19th and 20th centuries.

The migrants, however, who headed above all to California and South America, consistently contributed in creating the Italian community abroad, giving important contributions to the popular culture and economy of the host countries.
Natalina “Dolly” Garaventa, the mother of Frank Sinatra (born in Rossi di Lumarzo in 1896) and Amadeo Peter Giannini, the founder of the Bank of America (his parents were from Favale and he was born in San Jose, California, in 1870) originated from Fontanabuona.


According to a legend, it was from the village of Terrarossa, in the community of Moconesi, that, at the beginning of the 15th century, the Colombos left directed towards the sea, towards the village of Quinto.
They were wool makers, they went from Quinto to Genoa, and just in the Ligurian capital, in 1451, Cristoforo, the great navigator who first reached the Americas, was born.

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