Village of Cisano sul Neva
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Comune di Cisano sul Neva: via Colombo, 53 - Cisano sul Neva (SV)
Telefono: 0182 59 50 26
Fax: 0182 59 54 00
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Cisano sul Neva, in other words the reply of the Municipality of Albenga to the foundation of Zuccarello by the Clavesana lineage, has always suffered the pressure created in Savona by the conflicts between the Municipality of Albenga and the noble houses of the area. But does its story begin in the 13th century? Listen to the Liguria Heritage audio-guides to find the answer!

The origins of Cisano

Finds from the Stone Age discovered in the nearby Pennavaira Valley suggest that the region in which the village of Cisano arose was frequented by people from that extremely remote period who transited on the valley floor.
Cisano is on the convergence of the rivers Neva and Arroscia, and in the pre-Roman era it was the boundary area between the Ligurian Ingauni and Montani tribes, populations that alternated periods of peace with periods of wild retaliation.

The absence of documents and archaeological finds in the area complicates the task of tracing the region’s history over the next period, and of establishing the origins of Cisano, for which there are various hypotheses.
According to the first supposition, still held as being the most valid in spite of the lack of confirming material data, the name Cisano derives from the Roman family of Caesii which may have been allocated to Liguria during the Roman colonization, and more specifically to that area because of its suitability for agriculture and sheep rearing, activities to which the family was devoted.

The alternative to the Latin proposal considers the origin of the place name Cisano from the term chiusanum, indicating its role as a Byzantine sluice; even in this case there is no archaeological evidence to confirm this hypothesis, and even from a linguistic point of view it was demonstrated that Cisano and chiusanum have nothing in common. From a historical and geographical point of view, however, it remains possible that the site represented a Byzantine dam against the Lombard advance.

In a land where took place the meeting, and even the clash of ancient ligurian tribes, in a crucial point that probably fostered its role of “wall” against Lombardic invasion, is precisely set Cisano sul Neva. Listen the audioguide 1 to discover this village’s history, a town born for the wishes of Albenga’s commune

The Middle Ages

The tradition that sees Cisano as a property of the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria and San Martino della Gallinara must not be underestimated: tradition, in fact, hands down the story that a sparse settlement with a Benedictine cell or a barn was created around the Church of San Calocero, established by monks in that region. The aim was to add value to the territory and make it productive. This complex was then developed into the sparse living area acquired by the Municipality of Albenga for building the village of Cisano.

Exactly as occurred with Villanova, established in the mid-13th century, even Cisano was planned by the Municipality of Albenga from a political, strategic and urban point of view. The objectives of that decision were multiple: from the viewpoint of controlling one of the oldest roads leading to Piedmont and constraining the expansion aims of the Clavesana family, the establishment of a series of new villages blocked entry to the valleys of the area, gave the Municipality control of the whole plain and, with the excuse of offering land and protection to the peasants who lived in the villages strewn around the area, subtracted human resources from the enemy.

We have sure news of village construction from a first document dated 29th April 1272, in which a certain Rubeus Nipitella, an unknown magistrate from Albenga, and with reference to a “superstans ville Cixani”, paid 8 Genoa Lire to Guglielmo De Turlata for works in progress in the new village, the perimeter ditch of which was being marked in that era. Construction continued for about 16 years, from 1272 to 1288, and we know that the military base did not yet have defensive walls in that period, an element that was added later on.
The walls, however, were not the only element added over time. Given the difficulty in populating the village even though the general structure is of the rigid orthogonal planning type that is typical of new towns, there are many atypical stretches, as if the initial project had been notably reshaped while work was being carried out.

Even today the village maintains its walled structure, the rectangular form of its oldest house is still visible and the best preserved section is to the east, where the surrounding wall is delimited on the sides by two of the three remaining square-section towers crowned by Guelph merlons. The tower to the north-east, the Sperone Tower, has received funds for restoration from Priority Axis IV of POR FESR 2007_2013. We are lucky to still have the three towers, because in addition to the wars they saw and also took part in, reconstruction was carried out in 1409 following the flooding of the Neva the year before, and they were seriously damaged two centuries later by Savoy troops.

Towards the Modern Period

The story of Cisano is almost entirely conditioned by external events, such as the fight between Albenga and the Clavesanas, Genoa and the Del Carrettos, Guelphs and Ghibellines or involvement in the military fighting that followed.
The first siege that the city underwent was during the Guelph advance in Liguria, supported by Pope Sinibaldo Fieschi and by Genoa. On this occasion, the Albenga-Guelph faction managed to gain control of all the eastern part of the Municipality up to Giustenice, including Cisano therefore.

A few decades later? The siege of Cisano, dated 1320, ended with the surrender of the Guelphs and the victory of the Ghibellines, with Enrico Del Carretto being elected to the position of podesta of Albenga as a result.
The wearing conflicts between Albenga or Genoa against the Del Carretto family began at this point, followed by Savoy occupation and the Franco-Hungarian battle. The city was damaged and restored again during these events, until it became French in the 18th century and it developed into an independent Municipality as to Albenga.

The intervention

This town was, generally speaking, in fairly good condition, except for its civic tower and the church square, the area of Piazza Gollo where a palace of that name and the town’s public gardens are located.
Apart from the lack of ordinary maintenance work, this decline is also due to the improper use of these areas, where unsuitable lighting fixtures and street furniture had been installed.

As part of the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of Por Fesr 2007-2013), this restoration project envisages the total renovation of Palazzo Gollo, with the creation of a multi-purpose room, work to make the inside of the civic tower accessible (providing a scenic view of the fortified town and creating a small exhibition room inside), as well as the renovation of the flooring, lighting and furnishings of public areas worth restoring, so as to end up with a complete enhancement of the town’s defensive buildings.

The renovation project intends to enhance Cisano’s defensive buildings (which are of significant historical importance and consist of a curtain wall with corner towers that surrounds the four sides of the old town centre).
The final aim is to enhance the network of castles and fortresses built by the noble families of the Clavesana and Del Carretto marquisates, descended from Aleram.

Mappa
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