The Eighteenth Century
The decline: dominated by the Republic of Genoa
When Charles II – the last of the Habsburgs on the Spanish throne – died in 1700, his succession opened a lengthy European conflict, which marked both the rise of the House of Borbone and the decline of Spanish rule over Italy, which consequently fell under the influence of the Austrian Empire.
In actual fact, Finale was first occupied by the French in 1707 and later by Austrian imperial troops.
THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY – 1713-1815 CE
Under the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 – which put an end to the Spanish War of Succession – the Marquisate of Finale was sold by Emperor Charles VI of Austria to the Republic of Genoa for the exorbitant sum of 2,400,000 guilders. Genova “La Superba” (Italian: Genoa, the Proud) had finally won over the Western Riviera, or Riviera di Ponente, and brought the area under its control. Two years later, Castel Gavone– symbol of the Del Carretto power – was torn to the ground as were many ramparts built by the Spanish over the previous century.
This loss of freedom meant that any privileges previously enjoyed no longer stood, and trade and manufacturing were strongly affected. Moreover, the Ponente fell prey to Savoia expansionism, as they were looking to extend its rule to the coast. Indeed, the Austrian War of Succession (1740-1748) meant that Piedmontese troops under the command of the House of Savoia briefly occupied Finale, until the area returned under Genoese rule at the end of the conflict.
Napoleonic warfare in Western Liguria, which ended with the Battle of Loano in 1795, finally put paid to Genoese rule, which was held by a class of aristocrats who were no longer able to embrace change or move forward. Power was eventually taken over by the Revolutionary Republic of Liguria in 1798.
In 1805, the whole of Liguria became part of the French Empire, until the fall of Napoleon in 1814 marked the end of the Republic of Genoa and the annexation of the entire region to Piedmont and the House of Savoia.