Albenga: the Old Townin Albenga | 25 March 2012
The ancient center of Albenga is unique in Liguria, for its very particular history: It deserves a visit!
The center of Albenga - town of art & culture - with its medioeval towers. ( Photo by Luciano Rosso )
Lying at the center of a very fertile plain and a perfect junction point between the Mediterranean sea and the Northern plains, Albenga always felt a stronger vocation for agriculture and commerce ather than fishing and seafaring. After centuries of prosperity at the time of the Roman empire, Albenga reached its highest splendour in the Middle Ages, when it became one of the richest and most powerful cities in the region. In the 13th Century the course of the river was changed and the port was consequently swallowed by the river mouth. This meant the end of all economic activities based on fishing and trade and the beginning of a new life as an agricultural centre.
Albenga is today one of the leading producers of vegetables and flowers: artichokes and asparagus are specialty crops, together with cyclamen and daisies.
The centre of Albenga is also unique, an outstanding example of how, in the Middle Ages, cities could perfectly overlap the original Roman town almost to the stone. The historical events of later centuries have luckily spared the most ancient part of Albenga, so we can still enjoy a scenario which has changed very little since the 14th Century: the bell-tower of the Cathedral, the towers of the Town Hall, several other red-brick towers and buildings.
These historic treasures have won Albenga the definition of the Ligurian sister of the extraordinary Tuscan town of San Gimignano, near Siena. In the heart of downtown Albenga, well shielded by the surrounding squares is the most precious of the town’s architectural jewels: the Baptistry, built in 5th Century A.D. is one of the most beautiful monuments of the Byzantine period in Italy. The centre of Albenga deserves an unhurried visit: stroll along the narrow lanes and the small piazzas savouring the atmosphere of centuries gone by and do not miss the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of St. Michel, the stately palaces and the charming Piazza dei Leoni
Albenga - Piazzetta dei Leoni - ( Photo by Actadiurna )