Bergeggi, its cliffs and its grottoes

  • oleg
  • Liguria

The isle of Bergeggi, a nature reserve, looks onto the coastal area between Vado and Spotorno, which is lined with cliffs and partly submerged grottoes, one of which was inhabited during Neolithic times. The Ligurian Sabazi built a castle on Monte Sant'Elena in order to watch over the area and the Via Julia was subsequently built nearby. Saint Eugene, the bishop of Carthage, landed on the island during his flight from the Vandals: according to legend, after defeating an "evil snake", he lived there till about 500 AD. His remains were kept on the island for more than eight hundred years and were then transferred to Noli. The ruins of a circular tower from the Imperial era were probably once a lighthouse.

A square watchtower was built in its place during mediaeval times, corresponding to the Ere tower on the mainland. An abbey was founded on the island by Benedictine monks from Lerins in France, although only a few ruins remain.
The town developed during the late Middle Ages between the castle and the sea. Genoa acquired it in 1385, constructed the Rovere Tower and gave the town its present form, with its fortress-houses (one can be seen in the district of Canata) lodged between the terracings supported by the dry-walls that are the pride of the old folk. The fortification around Capo Vado has always been a problem: the fortresses of Santo Stefano and San Lorenzo were completed in 1620 and almost immediately demolished.

They were replaced by the fortifications of San Giacomo and San Sebastiano in the eighteenth century, and later by the fort of Sant'Elena (1915), which was destroyed in 1920 by the tragic explosion of the powder magazine.
The territory is characteristically formed by steep slopes and Mediterranean maquis and also comprises Natte Forest (the region's largest cork plantation), although there is a marked absence of rivers. Recent construction work has given a more compact structure to a town that was once broken up into scattered dwellings. Gastaldi is a typical late mediaeval town centre with a steep street and an ancient public wash-house. Broxea and Negli have remained unchanged, while Santo Stefano and Scurzabò have been marked by fires and by the explosion of the powder magazine. Diving and beach volleyball are popular here, and you can also practise hang-gliding from Monte Mao and Monte Sant'Elena. ( Fonte: www.turismoinliguria.it)

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