Castle of Calizzano
Comune di Calizzano: via S. Rosalia 4 - 17057 Calizzano (SV)
Telefono: 019 79 06 91
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The castle, the village

Our visit to Calizzano begins on the bridge in the town centre, to let those who are on the point of going up to the castle enjoy the view of it from below, leaving to our imagination the effect its dominant position would have had when seen from the village. It was certainly a safe place for the people to hide should the town be attacked.

It dominates the road that still leads to Bardineto, the Melogno pass and the Giovetti pass. Great strength is not needed to go up to the castle, you can easily reach it by following a path that starts from the historical centre of Calizzano and leads to the high ground in about twenty minutes. Different routes for those who enjoy excursions also begin at the castle, winding through a land that is particularly loved by those who enjoy walking in the open air.

Once reached the hilltop it is not difficult to imagine how the military base was structured because the perimeter wall is still well marked. Inside you can see an underground tank, useful for collecting rainwater, fundamental for supplying water to those who lived in the castle and for facing dangerous periods when it was not possible to leave the walls for a long time.
In the western area you can see the ruins of the circular tower and it is easy to understand the direction of the surrounding wall which, coming from the high ground and with towers at intervals, embraced and protected the Medieval dwellings.

In the Marquisate of Finale

In spite of the fact that news of another Caliciana in this area reached us, there are no remains of a Roman military base. The first news of the existence of Calizzano dates back to Medieval times, with the “Chronicle of S. Pietro in Varatella” from 1077 informing us that it was one of the lands given to the Abbey of Ferrania in the territory of Cairo Montenotte.
Dependent on the Aleramic march, the Marquise del Vasto had the power to make decisions and judgements in the area, which in 1142 became part of the dominion of Enrico del Carretto. At that moment in time Carretto possessed the vastest terrain in Savona, including even the boundary areas for controlling viability towards Piedmont. In this way he could increase the prospect of trading and above all control over the access routes to his own property, which would avoid possible interference from northern Italy.

Calizzano therefore became part of the Marquisate of Finale, remaining unfortunately involved in the conflicts that its Lord started against Genoa, which had always aspired to Savoy. The conflict worsened during the 15th century, during which Marco Del Carretto, Lord of Calizzano, was damaged by his betrayal of the Marquis Galeotto Del Carretto. Marco gave refuge to the Marquis’ enemies and stipulated a kind of act of non-belligerence with Genoa. Revenge came soon after and Calizzano suffered a terrible attack in which the castle was destroyed, the village raided and those inhabitants who were safe and still alive had to medicate the injured. The only possibility of survival for the Lord of Calizzano was to escape. Following the coming to power of Galeotto and after having found a kind of tranquillity, the village grew, the Dominican Convent was built and the Marquis church of San Lorenzo was increased in size, at the expense of the barbican walls which were demolished.

In the meantime, from a political point of view, the Marquisate continued being tightly tied to France, an element that quickly drew enough hostility to cause occupation of the Marquisate of Finale by the Spanish troops of Philip III, who acquired the whole territory. During the Spanish domination, which was tolerated badly by the people of Calizzano, the population was forced to give food and board to the moving troops, constrictions that lasted until 1713 when Calizzano passed to the Republic of Genoa. With this move, however, the events involving Calizzano negatively did not end.

Far from giving up the project to reconquer their property, the Del Carretto family continued creating disorder in the area and, as the land was perfect for creating the opening in the coast that the King of Sardinia openly desired, halfway through the 18th century Calizzano was again occupied, lasting until the Aquisgrana treaty of 1795. The treaty definitively ratified the Genoese dominion but it was not enough during the Frank-Austrian war to prevent the guerrilla warfare that caused the destruction of various monuments in the town, among which the church of Santa Maria, the church of the Annunziata and the Dominican convent.

The intervention

Destroyed by the French in c. 1450, the remains of this castle were left abandoned up until modern times.
Weeds ended up covering and engulfing almost all the ruins. However, the imposing stone walls that remain, particularly the fortified tower on the uphill side, now and then emerge to remind us of the impressiveness of the original building.

One can still see an old footpath outside the castle running along the western edge of the walls, with cobblestone paving that has deteriorated and is no longer visible in several places.

There is no doubt that the castle’s deterioration is mainly due to its abandonment over the years and the growth of weeds, with trees whose roots have completely invaded and damaged its perimeter walls.

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) mainly consists of salvaging and restoring what remains of the walls, strengthening the unstable parts with protective iron frames to make them safe, clearing and cleaning the entire area to improve the view of the building and laying and repairing the existing pavement.

The project also envisages the construction of an access road, which is essential to ensure that visitors can reach the site, and the installation of technological systems that will allow full use of the area, particularly suitable lighting to improve the building’s visibility and its appearance, highlighting the castle walls.

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