Castle of Neirone
Comune di Neirone: fraz. Neirone 16 - Neirone (GE)
Telefono: 0185 93 60 03
Fax: 0185 93 60 02
I resti del castello I resti del castello La frazione di Roccatagliata La frazione di Roccatagliata

Neirone between Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The story of Neirone begins in antiquity, when its land was occupied by the Tigullii tribe, probably drawn by the possibilities of its soil, which was fertile and with plenty of waterways, an element that made human frequentation simpler. It was, however, also rich in minerals, in particular copper used to produce objects and tools during the Metal ages.

The famous “Tomb of Roccatagliata”, in the hamlet of Corsiglia under Neirone confirms the existence of settlements in the area since the Iron Age. The tomb is a box made up of six sheets of stone containing the remains of an adult man, probably a warrior given the presence of the weapons he was equipped with.
The tomb demonstrates Ligurian elements that can be attributed to a Padan tradition, to witness how this land has always been an important meeting point. Roccatagliata was an important hamlet in Neirone, a fact confirmed even by the run of history.

In spite of the Roman conquest of Liguria that caused the ridge roads to be abandoned for a period in favour of roads in the valley bottom, which therefore excluded Neirone and its territory from the dynamics of the commercial exchanges, under the Lombards the old mule tracks became fundamental roads again towards the main business centres of Padan area.

The castle of Roccatagliata lies to the south-east, right in the middle of this intricate network of tracks that led to Bargagli, Torriglia and then through the valleys of Curone and Staffora to reach Lombardy or Piedmont; along the Trebbia Valley to the Padan-Emilian plain or from Fontanabuona to reach Chiavari-Lavagna and then Lunigiana, and its purpose was to control access to Fontanabuona from the valley bottom.

Neirone in the Middle Ages was a reality centred in its hamlet of Roccatagliata, where the living area was defended naturally on one side by a natural slope and its castle, in which the inhabitants could hide in case of danger.

The castle and commercial traffic

The Roccatagliata Castle-fortress, of which only a few traces remain that are waiting to be investigated by archaeological digs that have already begun, was not just for military purposes. It had an important economic role given that it was where taxes were paid and also an important strategic role because it guaranteed the Municipality, and then the Republic of Genoa, control over those who may have arrived from the east or the Apennine Oltregiogo, a historical region between Liguria and Piedmont.

Towards the end of the 12th century, it was the Caminus Genuae, the road that joined the Padan area to the Ligurian area, that was travelled along by merchants who transported material of every kind, food, spices, fabric. The processions heading towards Roccatagliata could have included up to 100 mules therefore the tolls to be paid were enough to guarantee a good income for the lords of the castle.

As occurred in many places in Liguria, even the region of Roccatagliata became part of the Milanese catholic clergy, which needed funds for support after having escaped from the Lombards. This is why the castle was still sought after by Rolando Avvocato (curator of the Milanese Curia) and the archbishop of Genoa in the 12th century. In 1259 it was sold to the Dorias who ceded it to the Fieschis in 1273. It remained in their property until 1547, excluding some periods of Genoese dominion which made the castle the seat of the Genoese magistrate of Roccatagliata-Neirone.

The intervention

An interpretive analysis led to the identification of the site’s geographical features, as well as signs of human intervention that are still visible today. These were then scientifically measured, along with the characteristics of the site’s vegetation.

This restoration project envisages the creation of a short path to the site, the systematic removal of earth that has accumulated over time on the clearing at the top of the cliff, the reinforcement of the stonework of an underground cistern with vaulted roof, grass cutting, the removal of forest ground cover, the installation of wooden railings in dangerous sections and the installation of suitable facilities in the areas set aside as car parks.

There are plans to put up signs indicating the original shape of the settlement’s grounds and information panels to be placed along the tourist itinerary and in parking areas.

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