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Savona and the Sea

The history of the city

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Savona was an important maritime city, a place of dense trades with all the countries of the Mediterranean area, as far as the East. Before the Romans, the Ligurians were still organized in tribes, but they were already skilled sailors and the first traces of their maritime exchanges go back to the archaic age: they traded with the Etruscans and with the Greek settlers of Marseilles!

However, there has always been intense rivalry between Savona and nearby Genoa, which came to a head in 1528, when the Genoese organized a destructive expedition that buried Savona harbour, causing the end of the maritime power of the city. In the span of a century the population went down from 16,000 to 6,000 and the characteristics of Savona changed altogether: it changed from a great maritime power to an agricultural town.

The clash between Savona and Genoa is lost in history, surely more deeply rooted when the people of Savona welcomed and protected in their harbour the Carthaginians, who had fought against Genoa. The reaction of the Genoese was the destruction of all the most beautiful part of the city between 1542 and 1543. Now only the fort stands there, built for protection against the attacks by the Savoys and the Turks. Today the fort still represents a symbol of oppression.

Cover pic courtesy of Flickr User Chris Owen

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