CHURCHES and BASILICAS

Paleochristian and Romanic buildings to renaissance churches and to majestic baroque churches: Places of worship with crypts, bell towers, paintings and grand altars.

IMPORTANT SITES

The church of Nostra Signora di Loreto (Our Lady of Loreto) also called “of the five bell towers” for its slender steeples, can be attributable to the Del Carretto family and consists in one of the most prestigious examples of renaissance architecture in Liguria.
The basilica of San Biagio in Finalborgo is one of the most beautiful baroque churches of western Ligura for the richness of its marbles and the pieces of art that it conserves, like the original white marble pulpit and the balustrade with angels.
The church of San Lorenzo in Varigotti dominates, from above, a natural harbour that is protected by the Crena promontory that overlooks the sea. This bay for centuries, currently known as the “baia dei Saraceni” (The Saracens Bay), offered shelter to the ships that sailed the Mediterranean routes.
The Basilica of San Giovanni in Finalmarina is one of the most prestigious 17th century religious buildings of western Liguria.
Il campanile medievale della chiesa di San Giovanni Battista a Bardino Vecchio fornisce uno dei più significativi esempi liguri di impiego decorativo nelle strutture architettoniche di forme ceramiche, denominate col termine generico di ‘bacini’.
Il Museo Dell’Orologio da Torre è il concretizzarsi del sogno di Giovanni, l’ultimo orologiaio della famiglia Bergallo, di donare la sua collezione al proprio paese Bardino Nuovo.
Set atop the promontory of Monte Lunante, the walls and the towers of the castle of Varigotti were meant to protect the natural harbour down below in the bay on the eastern side. It is known as the Baia dei Saraceni.
The Buraggi family that is originally from the Val Sciusa area had moved to Finalmarina and between the 17th and 18th century owned two prestigious palaces.
In Finalmarina the palace that belongs to the Counts of De Raymondi in Via Ghiglieri is an example of a 18th-19th century aristocratic home.
In Finalborgo the palace that once belonged to the Counts of Arnaldi closes on the western side Pizza del Tribunale.
A typical example of a porched area dedicated to commercial activities is that of the vaulted porch placed underneath the façades of the prestigious residences that are the background of todays Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in Finalmarina. The vaults are held by strong Finale stone square or hexagonal pillars; the blocks of Finale stone come from the quarries of the Val Sciusa valley.
In piazza San Bartolomeo in Gorra, following the road for Colle del Melogno, a suggestive medieval loggia opens on the ancient road. What it was used for remains uncertain: it may have been used as a public area destined to the community of Gorra, organised in Compagna at least from 1268, or it may have been linked to one of the medieval roads that went towards the Alta Val Maremola and Melogno hill.
In Finalborgo, in the current Piazza Aycardi, the so-called “loggia of Ramondo” opens on the ground floor of the tall façade of palazzo Brunengo, on which are preserved faint traces on an ancient heraldic decoration.
The medieval tower-house, called “of Belenda”, rises on the eastern slope of the San Bernardino hill, facing the Val Sciusa valley. This building, with walls made with squared Finale stone blocks, is a wonderful example of a 14th fortified house and still stands in its original shape. Unfortunately, it is currently in a worrying state of disrepair due to lack of restoration.
The castle of Orco is set on a small Finale stone hill that is defended naturally by vertical rock cliffs on the north, east and west sides, that had originated from the erosion of the original surfacing of Finale stone.
The Church of San Cipriano, with its medieval bell tower, rises on the western slope of the San Bernardino hill that overlooks the Sciusa valley and is close to the inhabited nucleus of Calvisio Vecchia, also known as “Lacremà” (its medieval name).
The medieval church of San Lorenzo in Orco, mentioned in documents for the first time in 1195, is set on a small hill in the inland of Finale where the “castrum Orche” once rose, that is the castle of Orco, remembered in a 1162 diploma of emperor Frederick
The city theatre house on Via Aurelia in Finalmarina is dedicated to Genoese violinist Camillo Sivori, a pupil of Nicolò Paganini’s.
In Finale there is the presence of megalithic structures that could be referred to the same cultures of the late prehistoric period that produced the series of cave etchings that are present on various rocky surfaces, locally called “ciappi” (Ciappu de Cunche, Ciappu del Sale, Ciappu dei Ceci).
The unusual medieval ribbed bell tower of the church of Saint Eusebio in Perti stands out against the rural surroundings of Finale Ligure.
The Bell Tower of the Church of Saint Biagio
Very much like Sant’Antonino di Perti, Bric Reseghe in Finale Ligure is an especially well-preserved specimen of a small Middle and Recent Bronze Age settlement entrenched in an easily-defensible area. In archaeology, the word castellaro is used to define such hill-top Bronze- and Iron-Age sites, including those that are not equipped with clearly-visible defences.
Villaggio delle Anime (Italian: Village of Souls) is a proto-historic castellaro hillfort, dating between the late Bronze and the early Iron Ages which stands on top of the Rocca di Perti (Italian: Perti Rock), 397 metres above sea level. The site was discovered in 1959 by the Research Group of the Finalese Section of the International Institute of Ligurian Studies and explored through a series of excavations led by Oscar Giuggiola.
In the Middle Ages whoever arrived in Finalborgo from the coast, came to the imposing defences of the Porta Carretta Town Gate - once a tall tower surmounted by battlements.
The grounds of Villa Gallesio-Sanguineti lie on the gentle eastern slopes of the Valle dell’Acquila (Italian: Aquila Valley) behind Finalborgo.
On the cape of San Donato, in a stunning environment set against the sea between Finalpia and Varigotti, there is a small tower that was part of a system of watchtowers built along the coast to protect the area against barbaric invasions...
The Pollera cave is one of the most important karst caves with an archaeological deposit in Finale.
The Fairy cave was already known as an archaeological site in the last decades of the 19th century when, after the reporting of Captain Enrico Alberto D’Albertis, research started after the discovery of bone fragments and of chipped stone artefacts.
Since the middle ages the courthouse in Finale is remembered as the “building where justice was administrated” by the Del Carretto marquises. This building represents a beautiful example of power architecture, that, until a few years ago, had maintained for centuries its original function.
The church and the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria in Finalpia are part of one of the most important monastic centres of Liguria from a religious and artistic point of view.
On the Caprazoppa ridge, set against the sea, in the Spanish period a watchtower was built on top of the cliff.
To counteract the economic depression and the migration phenomenon that hit the local community, in 1900 the Town of Finalmarina announced a tender to attract on the territory businesses capable of guaranteeing stable employment at least for a hundred workers, in exchange for contributions and tax concessions.
The Fate bridge is situated lower down in the Rio Ponci valley; it is 164 m a.s.l. The name comes from the dialectal word “faje” which means sheep.
The remains of the roman Magnone bridge are situated in a thick woodland setting at around 290 m a.s.l. in proximity of the head of Val Ponci under San Giacomo where the precedent river basin was cut with the formation of the current Val Ponci fossil valley system.
The Muto (or Voze) bridge is situated in Val Ponci where the altimetry of the valley lowers drastically going from over 200 m to just 183 m a.s.l.
Only the ramps remain of the Sordo bridge while the arch that arched over Rio Ponci was lost.
The roman Acqua bridge in Val Ponci takes its name from the fact that it is close to a modern building that belongs to the finalese aqueduct.
The “diamond tower” in Gavone Castle is one of the most prestigious examples of European renaissance buildings with both residential and military functions.
The Dominican convent and the church dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alessandria were founded during the second half of the 14th century by the Del Carretto marquises as the main area of devotion of the family.
The Sant’Antonio castle is positioned on a steep hill, between the Aquila valley to the east and the Perti valley to the west.
The church of Saint Sebastian is one of the most important examples of renaissance architecture in Finale. The rich and varied decoration of the capitals and keystones of the naves contrasts with the simplicity of the exteriors.
The Testa medieval gate opens on the western side of the walls of Finalborgo, from which passed the road that connected with Gorra, Melongo and with the Calice valley. The gate was built by Giovanni I Del Carretto in 1452, as the inscription in gothic characters tells us on the arch:
Palazzo Ricci in Finalborgo faces Santa Caterina square but originally the main entrance had a grand black stone portal that was set in the narrow Via del Municipio street.
The rock carvings of Ciappo delle Conche, like most of the graffiti from Finale, are carved in Finale stone, scientifically called Finale Ligure Limestone, datable to the oligo-miocene age...
The complex of rock carvings of Ciappo del Sale is of notable interest, in particular for the subjects represented. After Ciappu de Conche, already known by scholars since the late 19th century, that represents the main complex of prehistoric “art” in Finale.
The territory of Finale preserves wide open rock surfaces that are characterised by numerous rock carvings that were made over a long period of time, between the Metal ages (3rd -1st millennium B.C.) and the 19th century. In the local dialect the large stone slabs with graffiti are called “ciappi”.
The Arma delle Mànie is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites of Finale. The large stone vault that can be seen at a distance on the Mànie plateau holds a sequence of archaeological layers that document human frequentation between the Palaeolithic and the Neolithic period.
The Arma della Moretta is a small cave at the feet of the Finale stone San Bernardino mountain, just above the locality called “Tirassegno”. This archaeological site is unique in Finale and is considerably important in the field of cave etchings.
On the coast of Finalmarina in 1666 a majestic triumphal arch was built to celebrate the arrival in Finale of Margaret of Spain, represented in numerous paintings of the grand court painter Diego Velázquez.
At Finalmarina, under the current church of the Capuchin Fathers, there are the remains of what is known as the “Parish” of Finale, dedicated to St. John Baptist and to saints Nazario and Celso.
Within the medieval bell tower of the church of Santa Caterina in Finalborgo it is still possible to relive the terrible experience of those who were imprisoned in the punishment cells that from 1865 for a century occupied the spaces of the Dominican monastery.
The medieval church of Sant’Eusebio of Perti, with its romanic crypt (11th century), is one of the most important and fascinating religious buildings in Finale.
Finalborgo still has its medieval walls in which the doors give access to the town. The walls have square or semicircular towers, like the ones preserved on the southern side of the walls.
The church of San Lorenzo in Varigotti dominates, from above, a natural harbour that is protected by the Crena promontory that overlooks the sea. This bay for centuries, currently known as the “baia dei Saraceni” (The Saracens Bay), offered shelter to the ships that sailed the Mediterranean routes.
The church of Sant’Antonio rises in an uncontaminated landscape at the top of a steep hill in the inland of Finale, surrounded by the ruins of the walls and the towers of the ancient byzantine castle, built between the 6th and 7th century A.D. to defend Liguria from the Lombard invasions.
Castel San Giovanni was built by the Spanish in the 17th century and is characterised by impressive pincer walls: from its terraces there is a wonderful view of Finalborgo, the surrounding valleys and the sea. It fits perfectly into the hillside above the town and it can be reached with a five-minute walk along the ancient Beretta road.
A simple painted façade with false architectures on the curvilinear front of Aycradi square in Fianalborgo hides the Aycardi theatre, the most ancient 19th century theatre preserved in Liguria. It’s a small 19th century jewel, expression of the thriving social and cultural life that animated the town in that period.
In Finale there are still two large fortresses built by the Spanish in the 17th century: Castelfranco, projected on the sea between Finalmarina and Finalpia, and Castel San Giovanni, above Finalborgo.
The basilica of San Biagio in Finalborgo is one of the most beautiful baroque churches of western Ligura for the richness of its marbles and the pieces of art that it conserves, like the original white marble pulpit and the balustrade with angels.
The church of Nostra Signora di Loreto (Our Lady of Loreto) also called “of the five bell towers” for its slender steeples, can be attributable to the Del Carretto family and consists in one of the most prestigious examples of renaissance architecture in Liguria.
The Basilica of San Giovanni in Finalmarina is one of the most prestigious 17th century religious buildings of western Liguria.
Between the Medieval times and the Modern Age Gavone castle was the prestigious fortified residence of the noble family of the marquises Del Carretto, lords of Finale.
The Arene Candide cave is a prehistoric site of international importance for it’s long human frequentation and for the discovery within the cave of the grave of “The Young Price”, a hunter from the Upper Palaeolithic that died when he was 15 due to a violent trauma to the face. He was therefore buried within the cave with all the honours of a chief and so accompanied by rich grave goods.
Caves
Theatres
The old church of San Bartolomeo, that has now been abandoned for decades and is in ruin, is set on the eastern slope of the Gorra hill. The building can be seen in its baroque phase with a single nave, apse and side alters.
Palazzo Buraggi - via Pertica
In Finalmarina, in Via Roma, behind the Platea magna commercial area there is a prestigious black stone entrance that is linked to the Malvasia family that is a noble Finalese family that made its fortune with maritime trade with Spain and other areas of the Mediterranean.
Palazzo Del Carretto Cybo-Malvasia
Chiesa dei SS Cornelio e Cipriano a Calvisio
Atop the promontory of Varigotti, above punta Crena, a short squared based tower is preserved, set to control the stretch of sea between Noli and Finale.
Convents and Abbeys
Castles and Fortifications
The Bell Tower of the Church of Saint Biagio
The church of Nostra Signora di Loreto (Our Lady of Loreto) also called “of the five bell towers” for its slender steeples, can be attributable to the Del Carretto family and consists in one of the most prestigious examples of renaissance architecture in Liguria.
The church of Saint Sebastian is one of the most important examples of renaissance architecture in Finale. The rich and varied decoration of the capitals and keystones of the naves contrasts with the simplicity of the exteriors.
The basilica of San Biagio in Finalborgo is one of the most beautiful baroque churches of western Ligura for the richness of its marbles and the pieces of art that it conserves, like the original white marble pulpit and the balustrade with angels.
The Basilica of San Giovanni in Finalmarina is one of the most prestigious 17th century religious buildings of western Liguria.

Map of the Churches and Basilicas

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