Village of Cogorno
Comune di Cogorno: piazza Aldo Moro, 1 - Cogorno (GE)
Telefono: 0185 38 571/2
Fax: 0185 38 08 25
Il borgo Il borgo

Cogorno, a Genoese municipality located between Fontanabuona and Graveglia valleys, is one of the largest urban settlements along the banks of the river Entella and the reliefs that separate it from Genoa, which host a slate mine that was greatly used in the monuments that added prestige to this town. Thanks to the Liguria Heritage audio-guides, you can discover the story of this stronghold of the Fieschi power.

Cogorno and The Fieschis, an unbreakable bond

The name of Cogorno has always been associated with that of the Fieschi family, because it was a member of this lineage who constructed it. It was no other than Sinibaldo Fieschi himself who, the year after becoming Pope Innocent IV, gave the order in 1244 to construct both village and church inside the lands managed by his own family.
It was the period when the conflict between Frederick II, emperor and king of Sicily, and the papacy was at its worst. Gregory IX had already touched the peak of harshness during this conflict with the battle of Giglio Island (1241), in which the imperial and Pisan fleet captured an impressionable number of high priests that were going to Rome, and more specifically to a council that would have ex-communicated Frederick.

After the death of Gregory, and after the ephemeral papacy of Celestine IV (17 days, a few months after the battle of 1241), Frederick was happy with the election of Sinibaldo, after two years of the seat being empty. Soon however the emperor had to resign himself to a papacy that took up the Gregorian line again, but with more force, managing where Gregory had failed: Sinibaldo Fieschi, also named as Pope Innocent IV, outlawed Frederick with the Council of Lyon of 1245.
It was in that year, and because of this conflict, that the village and church were destroyed. They were rebuilt only seven years later, in 1252, together with the comital mansion and the buildings annexed to it. The emperor had been dead for two years, and nobody could have stopped the construction of the place that was a symbol of the great power of the Fieschis.

The pope in that year decided to entrust the land to his nephew, cardinal Ottobono Fieschi, who the year before had been nominated as cardinal deacon by the Pope himself, and who would later be elected as Pope Adrian V.

The Medieval village of Cogorno soon became a central pole for pilgrims who, travelling along the pre-existing Roman roads, reached via Francigena and continued to the places of cult that were their destination. In addition, the church itself became an important place of prayer in virtue of the relic of the Holy Cross, donated by Pope Innocent IV and now kept in the Diocesan Museum of Chiavari.

The village has two very prestigious monuments: the Church of San Salvatore and the Palazzo dei Conti. Just reaching the square that hosts the Church makes a visit to Cogorno worthwhile, such is the beauty of the monumental complex that presents itself to the eyes.
The Church is one of the tallest displays of Roman-Gothic style in the whole region; the local slate alternating with marble from Carrara create a play of white and black that is so dear to Liguria and Romanesque itself. To heighten the structure, the keep of which appears to be solidly anchored to the ground, the grafted tower rises from the transept, characterised by a double order of four-light windows and a top with cusps.

A facade, the simplicity of which does not stop our wonder at the artistic majesty with which it was designed. An internal space characterised by solemnity entrusted to diffused light, but this simplicity increases our wonder, if we think that decisions and ideas that would change history at the times of Frederick II were made in this village! Listen to the audioguide 1 to flavour the artistic beauty of this place and appreciate its story in a better way.

An elegant dwelling

Differently from the other buildings belonging to the Fieschi family that you will see if you continue with Liguria Heritage at Cogorno, we do not find a fortified structure for defence, as for example in the Apennine sites. Instead we find a city house, similar to the one that replaced the castle in the Main square of Savignone. The building, positioned on the hill and with the north side flanking the Roman Via Antica, is made of a squared block, rectangular in shape, on the first floor of which we can see a portico that looks onto the square through two arches framed by marbled lintels.

Even though over time its original structure was altered by interventions for dividing the spaces into living units before, and display spaces currently, its origins as a refined dwelling, even though from long ago, have certainly not been eliminated.

Documents and the building techniques used contribute to giving a date on its construction. We know that the original nucleus was constructed at the end of the 13th century, but thanks to a document informing of a meeting between members of the Fieschi line, which took place in the refectory of the San Salvatore church, it is impossible to date the construction or full conformity of the mansion before 1288, otherwise it is plausible to think that this meeting took place inside it.
Regarding instead the more recent part of the building, the southern section, the walls with tiles lead us to a date of not prior to the 16th century, the period in which this technique began being widely used in Liguria.

The intervention

The promotion and enhancement programme – put forward as part of the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of Por Fesr 2007-2013) – envisaged several different actions.
First and foremost, tourist information and promotional centres were set up using the public buildings already available, such as the museum located in a section of Palazzo Comitale and the room overlooking Piazzale Adriano V, built to mark the 2000 Jubilee.

Thanks to the funds made available to this project, the installation of multimedia, interactive, informative/educational signage is also envisaged, as is the presentation of information from a specially-designed map of tour itineraries that will be properly illustrated and will pertain to the network of itineraries and all their branches. A project that will certainly involve close contact with local attractions, making it possible to benefit from all the resources available, both as far as environmental assets and artistic and historical heritage are concerned, including local specialities in general.

In short, the primary aim of this initiative is the development of strong links with the various organisations involved at different levels, so as to optimise joint efforts to promote the mountain area.

As well as organising a specially developed marketing campaign focusing on the assets in question, an enormous amount of time and energy will be spent on a thorough presentation of alternative tourist itineraries of high environmental and landscape appeal in order to enhance and promote nearby sites and historic settlements using all the channels of communication available.

The work covers all bases, promoting the restoration project in several kinds of media and materials: from traditional print (used to produce brochures, leaflets and other informative material) to the Internet, with its extremely dynamic and flexible features.

Nota: Liguria Heritage freely offers services and technological tools but accepts no responsibility for entrance fees to the sites nor their direct management. Please refer to the individuals owners and managers regarding the implementation or changes to entry times, conditions of use and accessibility of the various sites.