Watchtower of Framura
Comune di Framura: loc. Setta 1 - 19014 Framura (SP)
Telefono: 0187 81 00 20
Fax: 0187 82 30 71
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Framura, a polycentric town

When speaking of Framura you cannot mention it alone, you must mention all five hamlets together. Each hamlet has a different characteristic from the others, like the green landscape given by the pine forests in Castagnola, the splendid ridge over the sea in Costa, the antique 15th century Genoese tower of Anzo, or the more lively Setta, Framura’s walking and shopping zone.

The main road does not pass through here, so you have to leave the motorway exit in the high grounds for the panorama of Framura to be slowly revealed to you.
The towers that peer out from the landscape immediately tempt our minds to travel back in time to the Middle Ages or the early Modern Age, but they are not the only historical traces present in the region, even if they are undoubtedly the most evident. Not having evident traces of history, however, does not mean that there are no stories to tell.

Proof of the first inhabitants of the area, the antique Ligurians, exists almost exclusively in popular tradition, and is supported by few and certainly vague traces. They lived in a castellaro, a term still used throughout Liguria that indicates the sparse villages that were occupied during the wars of independence against the Romans that began in 237 B.C.
These settlements, which are not only present in Framura but also in the nearby sites of Camogli, Uscio, Pignone, Vezzola and Zignago, had a certain importance because they were administrative territorial hubs based on rural and pastoral activity. Excluded from the true Roman colonisation because of its territorial isolation, Framura resisted for a long time thanks to the already-existing structures, still tied to the archaic Ligurian organisation.

In the case of sparse housing, the Medieval parish churches often settled in the place where the pre-Roman and Roman settlement was, with the place of pagan cult developing into the place of Christian cult.

Framura, between Charlemagne and Bobbio

In Framura it is very difficult to see the connection between the traces of the antique military bases and the parish church of San Martino, located in the hamlet of Costa, closely related to the Carolingian tower, object of the POR FESR 2007-2013 (Priority axis 4) intervention. This place, which was taken over by the Romans, was represented by a rustic villa in the late Imperial era, but it is more probable that the parish church arose as a natural evolution of a pagus, in other words a rural nucleus probably located in the valley of the river Deiva.

No matter how the parish church evolved, in other words whether it was preceded by an already-existing structure or not, tradition says that its origins were monastic, more precisely the work of the Monastery of San Colombano in Bobbio, which between the 10th and 11th centuries counted various properties in the area.
The documents referring to the church mention it for the first time in this role in 1128 and as a parish church that reported to the Genoa diocese towards the end of the 12th century. In this period its jurisdiction covered the area from Deiva to Carrodano and Carro, including the podesterias of Framura, shortly before it was reconstructed by the Benedictines.

The bulk of the tower in front of the church is in a position that is difficult to interpret. It is difficult to understand whether it arose independently from the church, to be used for defence and watching as its position suggests, or if it was built as a bell tower for the church, to which it would have been joined at one point from an architectural viewpoint. The tower is now isolated, and was restored precisely as a bell tower, to which was added the function of a place for organising small events by the Municipality or the Association that runs its opening.

The Middle Ages

The 12th century is fundamental for understanding the historical context in which Framura is involved. From an administrative viewpoint, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted the Municipality of Genoa control over the whole Ligurian coast, from Monaco to Porto Venere starting from 1162.
This Genoese predominance over the whole region brought out the rage of the other Houses, which competed against it for the power, from the large feudatories such as the Malaspinas, always interested in the Ligurian East, to the local families such as the Da Passanos or the Counts of Lavagna, which over time had managed to create small potentates. All this was on the basis of the war between Genoa and Pisa, which had created confusion and panic by attacking Vernazza, Portovenere and setting fire to the hamlet of Levanto.

The anxiety caused by this conflict, which was faced by Genoa using all its economic means and human resources, favoured the interests of the other feudal powers, which were often in conflict with each other, such as in the case of the controversy between the Counts of Lavagna and the Da Passanos for possession of the Frascario and Zerli castles, or bound together in convenient alliances such as that between Opizone Malaspina, the Da Passanos and the Counts of Lavagna for removing Sestri Levante and Chiavari from Genoa.

It was in 1173 when Genoa decided to end the Malaspina menace with a decisive military action that took as its starting point the siege of Opizone Malaspina on Monleone, near Cicagna. Caught unexpectedly by 1550 infantrymen and 365 knights, the Malaspinas fled, leaving their allies the Da Passano family to pay the price of the rebellion with the loss of their Passano castle.

Between the 12th and 13th centuries, the Da Passanos, like all the other Ligurian noble dynasties, were forced to gradually surrender all their property to the municipality of Genoa, in exchange for tax exemptions extended also to the territories of their jurisdiction, among which Framura.
If an exception is made for the dominion of this lineage on our hamlet of Framura, for the rest of its history it underwent the same events as the Municipality of Genoa, joining, after the French domination, the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1861.

The intervention

This is a tower made from local stone and featuring ramps of stairs inside, attached to the perimeter walls.
Recently subject to restoration work that aimed to allow its use as part of a programme of improving tourist attractions in the local area, it was in a fairly good state in terms of its structure; however small-scale maintenance of the stonework was necessary.

The exterior featured fixtures and finishings that were not in keeping with the site’s historical era, therefore it required different kinds of restoration work.

As part of the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of Por Fesr 2007-2013), the plans envisage the repair of the exterior paving in front of the tower and surrounding it, the creation of a footpath along the old inside passage, the replanting of trees and the installation of multimedia information services, with the fitting of touch, sound and light tables summarising and illustrating the site and its history, placed outside in the forecourt and on the tower’s roof so as to illustrate geographical features.

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