Villa Cavagnari in Cicagna
piazza Cavagnari, 7 - 16044 Cicagna (GE)
Villa Cavagnari Villa Cavagnari

Cicagna appears midway on the long Val Fontanabuona route towards the inside of Liguria, between the first spurs of the Apennines.
It is the most populated municipality of the area, always a natural reference point for the social life and commercial exchanges of the whole district.

The historical centre, on a flat section around the ancient Fieschi bridge on the banks of the Lavagna river, is a centre with antique origins: the story of Cicagna coincides with the baptismal churches which were built around the 12th century. Cicagna was one of the twenty-eight churches on which the whole Genoa diocese was based.

It was a transit point on the fundamental route between the Ligurian Sea and the Padua plain, known as the salt and wheat road, and an agricultural area but also with a great tradition of weaving and spinning linen, cotton and silk, already present and extremely important in the 12th century.

The land had difficult soil that did not bear much. This is why many people from Cicagna, but also many other Ligurian municipalities and in particular those of the hinterland, emigrated to America, above all from the mid-19th century. 
Another vitally important activity for the local economy is the extraction and processing of slate. Here, just like in all the surrounding areas, there are quarries, mines and many artisan and industrial laboratories that extract, process and export all over the world.

The aim of the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of the Por Fesr 2007-2013) is to reinforce the appeal of the territory thanks to a historical and cultural type of itinerary of which the following are a part: villa Cavagnari, a residence with extremely prestigious architecture located in the very centre, on which the most important interventions are centred, the Museum pole with convention halls, the Bell Tower, the Fieschi bridge and the pre-Roman Necropolis of Chiavari.

A little bit of history

Villa Cavagnari, the headquarters of the Mountain Community of Fontanabuona for a long time, dates back to the 19th century.
Its annexed garden, now of Municipal property, has been turned into a play park for children. The bell tower, instead, is the last remaining trace of the antique Roman origins of the place. It was built in 1100 as a watch tower and was transformed into a bell tower during the 19th century.

The Fieschi bridge, with a single arch, is the oldest in the place and is a fundamental element of the profile of Cicagna, a village historically built near the Lavagna river; the bridge appears on the crest of the Municipality together with a tower.

The intervention

The project will improve the attractiveness of the territory by creating a circuit that winds across different fixed points: villa Cavagnari, where the indoor artwork will be consolidated and restored and a lift will be inserted; the Museum Pole with an annexed conference hall, which will unite the Slate Museum and the Historical Archaeological Museum; the Bell Tower; the Fieschi Bridge; the Pre-Roman Necropolis of Chiavari, where a reconstruction of the Necropolis, which goes back to the 8th- 7th century BC, has been created.

The intervention mainly involves villa Cavagnari and the Museum Pole. As the permanent and temporary museum activities could not be concentrated in a single building, it was chosen to divide and distribute them: the villa will host itinerary and temporary exhibitions, while the Museum Pole, always the premises of the Slate Museum, will complete the exhibition offer of the town, in this case for permanent exhibitions.

At villa Cavagnari the walls will be cleaned and painted, and the frescoed ceilings will be reinforced. To eliminate architectural barriers a lift will be inserted that connects all the floors, some passages will be widened to optimise pedestrian routes, and a bathroom for the disabled will be made.

To improve territorial reception and accommodation, the deposits and storehouses that are currently located on the ground floor will be moved to other premises, leaving space for the Proloco and the Italian Alpine Club office. The ex Town Hall offices will be used as display rooms.

In addition to this, the Archaeological Museum will be moved to the premises of the Slate Museum. A fire system will also be installed in the museum area, while the villa will be rewired completely and the air conditioning system expanded.


Just a short distance from Cicagna, heading internally, lies Moconesi, the other nodal centre of Fontanabuona. Moconesi is a village located in a hilly area covered mainly by chestnut woods, and is where we find mount Caucaso. This mount, which reaches a height of 1245 metres, is a meeting point of many trails, and you can enjoy an incomparable view from its summit; on clear days you can see the whole of Liguria and even glimpse Corsica.

Two long pedestrian routes of great cultural interest also start from Moconesi: the Fliscan Fief trail which, heading towards Torriglia, touches some of the fortresses that were part of the Fieschi property, and the Columbian trail, which begins at the house considered to be “of Columbus’ ancestors” and terminates in Quinto in Genoa.
The hypothesis believed by many researchers is that the Columbus family came from Fontanabouna: an antique country abode in Terrarossa di Moconesi is traditionally indicated as being their original home.


An oddity that is almost a tale. In 1922 a letter that was without doubt surprising came into the hands of the then manager of the Cicagna post office, Mara Colotto. The letter was in fact addressed to the Cicogna di via dei cieli (The Stork living in Sky road) and nobody knows if this letter addressed to the stork arrived in Cicagna by mistake, fate or simply luck.

Inside the envelope was a message from a boy called Gianni asking for a brother. Struck by the message, Mara decided to “become” the Cicogna di Cicagna (the Stork of Cicagna), and answered. Whether by luck or by chance, the boy’s wish was granted.

The news spread, and from then on letters to the Stork of Cicagna began arriving gradually from many parts of Italy and the rest of the world.

The Post Office manager retired in 1960, but the letters continued arriving. A statue representing a stork, which has become the symbol of the village, was made, and in 1962 it was positioned on the civil tower. The letters never stopped coming, and still come today, addressed to: La Cicogna - Via dei Cieli n.5 – 16044 Cicagna (GE) (The Stork – Sky road no. 5)

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