Finalborgo, with Finalpia, Varigotti and Finalmarina is one of the four hamlets that make up Finale Ligure and was listed in 2004 among the Most Beautiful Villages of Italy.
It is surrounded by well preserved medieval walls with semicircular towers that are only interrupted by the doors. This is why Finalborgo, besides being one of the best preserved historic towns in the province of Savona, immediately conveys to its visitor a feeling of cosy protection.
Inside the walls there is a network of perpendicular streets that create fascinating spots. The charm of the narrow lanes and small squares in Finalborgo is due to its “pietra del Finale”, the slate used to decorate the doorways and moulded to create columns, diamond shapes or ornaments.
Two different souls live together inside this hamlet: a noble one represented by its buildings from the 400s and from the Renaissance, and a more popular one made up of shops and handcraft workshops. The greatest development for Finalborgo was indeed during the Middle Ages when the hamlet was the capital of the Marquisate of Finale and was ruled by Del Carretto family, and then when it was under Spain rule (17th century).
The hamlet developed towards the inland to allow a rapid getaway towards the mountains during the frequent attacks of the Saracens.
The Del Carrettos governed The Marquisate of Finale until 1602. After them it went under the Hapsburg rule until 1713. With the dying out of the Hapsburg family the Marquisate of Finale was given to the Genoeses and Finalborgo lost its importance.
In 1814, after the Restoration, the Ligurian Republic became part of the Sardinian Reign and then, since 1861, of the United Reign of Italy. Finalborgo remained an independent municipality until 1927 when Finalborgo, Finalmarina, Finalpia e Varigotti were joined together to make the town of Finale Ligure.
The wonderful portal of the town hall, which once belonged to Ricci family, immediately reveals the value of a building that is one of the best examples of Early Renaissance architecture in Liguria. However the most important monument in Finalborgo is the Saint Biagio’s Basilica, a luxurious example of baroque architecture which was made in 17th century over a former medieval church (1372). The latter is still visible in the apse and in the audacious late Gothic Bell Tower (1463). Its octagonal shape is slightly leaning and it has numerous and thin double lancet windows on all sides. The rough stone facade was left unfinished while the interior with three naves strikes for the grandiosity and richness of its decorations.
Saint Catherine’s Church and the Dominican Complex of Finalborgo date back to 1360, when, after the death of Marquis Giorgio I Del Carretto, the widow felt the need for a noble church to host the mortal remains of the marquis’ family members. The convent was radically modified over the years: from 1863 to 1964 it was transformed into a jail but it preserved its beauty as seen by the two wonderful Renaissance cloisters, which were built between ‘400 and ‘500 and recently renovated.
Finalborgo hosts today many handcraft shops and is a perfect starting point for many excursions on foot or by MTB towards the inland of Finale. Moreover, it is a loved meeting point for free-climbing enthusiasts that consider the territory of Finale their ideal destination.
Every year at the end of August the event “A journey into the Middle Ages” takes place and brings Finalborgo back to the 15th century. On this occasion you will find handcraft workshops, inns full of customers dressed up with period costumes and streets and squares animated by ladies, knights, medieval Celtic music and buffoons, jugglers and fire-eating shows.
It is really an occasion not to be missed. Discover the hamlet in all its magnificence and richness. Once you have come through the doorways you will be easily involved in the atmosphere made of gaiety, music, games, the smell of spices from all over the world and local delicacies. Four intense and unique days are waiting for you!
Thanks to Paola Faravelli from iLiguria for the beautiful pictures!