The walls of Finalborgo

The still intact defences of a medieval town

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.

Following the model of many Ligurian towns of the valley floor, the walls of the town are also connected to a tower that is positioned in a higher area, on the Becchignolo ridge, mentioned in 1390 and incorporated during the 17th century in the Spanish fortress of Castel San Giovanni.

MORE INFORMATION – The walls of Finalborgo

The original medieval walls, dated to the beginning of the 13th century, were destroyed by the Genoese after the disastrous Finale war (1447-1450). After the marquisate was reconquered, a new town wall was built in a short period of time by Giovanni I Del Carretto in 1452.

The wall of the town was characterised by a wall-walk that had square merlons that are preserved in many parts that were not affected by the superimposition of buildings or by recent demolitions. In many parts the original merlons were integrated and altered in modern times with the opening of a series of loopholes.

To those who came from the coast by taking the road connected with Marina, Finalborgo presented itself with the formidable defences of the 15th century Carretta gate, in correspondence of which the road was directly connected with the medieval bridge, called “of the fish”; traces of the bridge remain on the riverbed close to the tower.

The original entrance to the town, connected directly with the road axis that is now the current via Torcelli, thus opened on the northern side of the square tower that on the opposite side still presents traces of an arch of a covered passageway that opened at its base. The tower was decorated externally by late medieval paintings, of which only tenuous traces of a large figure and columns are preserved.

During the Spanish period, the medieval entrance was replaced by the current Reale gate, successively decorated by a false 19th century architecture with the Savoia crest and the image of the Virgin.

To the left of the entrance, on the southern side, the defences of the town were hinged on an angular semicircular tower with a square space inside, on which the 15th century San Biagio bell tower was built. The tower preserves the walk-way that is supported by brick arches on double Finale stone corbels. Two semicircular towers with merlons completed the defence system in this part of the wall and can be attributed to a medieval architectonic model.

Still on this side, in the south-western corner of the walls there is a protruding fortress, that is represented in the drawing of the venetian ambassador Gerolamo Lippomanno in 1571.

During the Spanish domination, it was further prolonged by adding a bastion, which also had loopholes and a ring beam to protect it against ricocheting. An embrasure was opened on its base which was meant to fire at a close range in the space near the wall.

Part of the 16th century wall is also the western part of the wall that flanks the river Pora, slightly oblique and with protective ring beams running all along it. The wall ended with a semicircular bastion, that protected the Testa gate. These defensive works were demolished in 1826 for the building of the “new bridge” over the river Pora.

The medieval Testa gate, with its original nucleus, dates back to the reconstruction that occurred in 1452 by Giovanni I, as indicated by the inscription in Gothic characters on the arch. The structure was extremely reworked at the end of the 19th century.

In the part of the wall that went along the feet of the hill there was the Mezzaluna gate, through which passed the road that connected with both Gavone castle and Perti, named the Beretta road in 1666.

Another similar tower, probably part of the 15th century wall, if not of the original wall, is still visible in the north-eastern part of the wall that takes to the mill and links Castel S. Giovanni.

HOW TO REACH

THE WALLS OF FINALBORGO

How to reach the site

Finalborgo can be reached by car on the A10 motorway and taking the Feglino exit (if coming from Genoa, Turin or Milan) and the Finale Ligure exit (from all directions). È collegato da un servizio di autobus di linea alla stazione ferroviaria di Finalmarina.

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