Village of Taggia
Comune di Taggia: via San Francesco, 441 - 18018 Taggia (IM)
Telefono: 0184 47 62 22
Fax: 0184 47 72 00
Il borgo e il castello Il borgo e il castello Le facciate dal Vallone di Santa Lucia Le facciate dal Vallone di Santa Lucia Taggia vista dal castello Taggia vista dal castello I portici del Pantan I portici del Pantan Palazzo Lercari Palazzo Lercari L'ingresso del centro storico dal sagrato della Basilica L'ingresso del centro storico dal sagrato della Basilica La fontana del Brakï La fontana del Brakï Portale in ardesia Portale in ardesia

How was Taggia established? Its origins are lost in time, when history mixed with legend. It is certain, however, that during the operations for conquering Liguria the Romans used this region to create a settlement for troops during transferral. Thanks to the Liguria Heritage audio-guides you can find out about it, and more...

Taggia, remote origins

Going back to the origins of Taggia means rediscovering the story of a territory where the presence of man is confirmed by the prehistoric remains in the Grotta dell’Arma or the legend according to which Greek navigators on our coasts identified this valley and gave it the name of “Taleia”, a name that is quite similar to Taggia and which means “blooming”.
All this obviously has nothing to do with the historical data on which reconstruction of the origins of today’s Taggia is based, but they indicate that the richness of this land was known even in ancient times.

The first important episode goes back to 192 BC, when Minuccio, a Roman general who became consul the previous year, was sent to Liguria to start a rebellion. In a single moment Rome obtained a double success; on the one hand the surrender of the Ligurians extinguished a spark of rebellion that was always ready to burst into a flame, and on the other hand Rome grabbed a strategic area for the safety of its roads and a bridge for dominating Gaul and Iberia.

In view of the military operations needed to reach these objectives, the Romans built the military mansio (or stopping place) of Costa Bellene, the term used in the Tabula Peutingeriana, the Medieval copy of an antique Roman map from the first Imperial era.
But what is a “mansio”? It is a permanent military camp that very often expanded up to the point of being considered a true town where armies could stop and obtain supplies. The Roman ships had been frequenting this camp for centuries to supply the mansio with provisions.

This situation continued until the organisation structures of Roman society remained solid, but when in the 5th century the Ostrogoths of Theodoric entered Italy to oppose the Franks, the mansio was progressively abandoned in favour of a site in the valley hinterland. The Romans settled in Campo Marzio, a naturally more shielded stronghold and then built a village ex novo in a position that was even easier to defend. The village, named Tabia, was then equipped with a defensive tower.

Costa Bellene, Campo Marzio, Tabia...all these places contributed in developing the territory that became today’s Taggia. Listen to audioguide 1 to savour the story of each of these extremely interesting settlements!

Taggia, a monastic outpost

The 7th century saw Taggia turn into an important productive settlement. Upon the merit of whom? It was 625 AD when the Benedictine monks of Cuneo headed towards the sea and decided to build a convent.
Only twenty years after their arrival in the village did they see additional human resources coming from the coast, where the devastation carried out by the Rothari had caused all the inhabitants to flee.

With the right resources and means, the monks gave life to a period of notable industriousness, reclaiming and cultivating the land, transforming the steep sides of the valley into terraces; in this manner they started the traditional and quite famous cultivation of olives.
But the economic recovery that the monks had started did not enjoy a long period of peace. The Saracens destroyed the monastery and massacred the monks in the 9th century, while the population was saved because it found refuge beyond the walls of its own city.

Taggia in the High Middle Ages

The invasion of 891 was certainly not the only one that Taggia, in the same manner as the whole Ligurian riviera without any distinction, had to face. In spite of a period when cultivation declined and was abandoned, not much time was needed to reconstruct what had been destroyed, expand the living area towards the low part of the valley and above all enclose the houses in a surrounding wall.
Following the concession of bishop Teodolfo to manage the land, the village was finally able to manage itself as a free commune until the aim of Genoa on the nearby and important Ventimiglia brought dominion also over Taggia, which then became a feudal dominion under Anselmo De Quadraginta upon the will of Bishop Siro.
The move from De Quadraginta to Bonifacio di Clavesana occurred in the 12th century by way of an alliance. They decided to furnish the village with a castle, which has been restored thanks to POR-FESR 2007-2013, the Regional Operational Programme (priority axis 4).

The castle, with two towers, controlled the area from both a jurisdictional and a defensive viewpoint, given that the memory of the Saracen extermination was still fresh in the minds of the population and its lords.
Being used to independence, the people of Taggia badly tolerated the feudal dominion that was imposed on them, above all following the fall of Barbarossa, and Genoa granted greater power to the feudatory with serious repercussions on the dominated population. The population rebelled in 1226, forcing Clavesana to abandon the fief, which was ceded only two years later to Genoa.

Under Genoese dominion, the living conditions in Taggia did not improve. The limit was the conflict against Pisa, and to face this war Genoa continued requesting its dominions to supply men and the fiscal pressure increased until it caused a new rebellion by the population.

Towards the Modern era

They were difficult years for Taggia, years of decline aggravated by the intervention of Baliano Doria, Captain of the Genoese. In 1270 Baliano acted against the Ghibelline family of Curlo, which had escaped to Taggia from Ventimiglia, where the Guelphs had obtained power and the podesteria.
The devastation carried out on the village and its rich hinterland convinced Genoa to nominate Taggia as the podesteria to remedy the injustices that had been suffered. A period of peace followed in which the production of olives and cultivation of vines increased and together with the wellbeing of the territory created also by some local families that distinguished themselves by constructing boats, creating and simplifying commercial bonds with Genoa, France, and Rome until they even reached England.
From an administrative point of view the city finally had by-laws with which to be governed in an independent and rigorous manner.

The modern era arrived. Taggia was managing itself even though under Genoese control, but the bad governing of the Doge Paolo Fregoso again made the people of Taggia decide on what was best for them, firstly with an approach to France, then unison with the Milanese dominion of Francesco Sforza.

The Milanese dominion, even though short, was not without importance. Understanding the strategic position of the castle and the possibility of using the settlement, restructuring and enlarging work was started, just in time for facing continuous attacks from pirates which, between the 15th and 16th centuries did not allow the Ligurian coasts to breathe. The small town was forced to continually fortify its protection with the addition of a third surrounding wall subsidised by Genoa, which in the meantime had welcomed Taggia back into its territory. Both places shared the same story until 1797, when Genoa became part of the Ligurian Republic, to then merge with the Empire of Napoleon I and finally the Kingdom of Sardinia.

Visiting today’s Taggia helps understand the nature of the settlement when it rose and during the Modern era. The walls that enclose part of the historical centre, the ramparts and the remains of the castle can be seen on the uplands reveal its defensive function for its inhabitants. Listen to the audioguide 2 to discover who the inhabitants of Taggia had to defend themselves from!

The intervention

This restoration project aims to create a mixed-use venue for recreational events in the old castle and to set up a historical itinerary focusing on the fortresses built against Barbary pirates and located in Taggia’s old town centre.

Once boasting two towers, the castle’s purpose was to monitor the area for its defence after the destruction caused by Saracen invasions. It was built by the Clavesana dynasty in the twelfth century with palisade walls and fortified outposts mainly facing the sea (the direction these dreaded incursions came from). The walls will be reinforced and the project will set up the open space in such a way as to create an amphitheatre.

The restoration work envisaged as part of the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of Por Fesr 2007-2013) also plans to create footpaths between bastions, restored using local stone, with repairs made to the paving, wooden floors and stainless steel fencing.

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