Towers and fortress




Built by order of the Genoese in 1542, the Fortezza del Priamar is the symbol of the town. Now a hub for cultural and social activity, the Fortress houses a variety of places of interest, including the Civico Museo Archeologico, the Museo “Sandro Pertini e Renata Cuneo”, the prison cell where Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini was held, an open-air theatre, several craft shops and workshops and a range of spaces to be used as conference and art exhibition venues.

Having survived the passing of centuries, Savona’s two towers Torre del Brandale and Torre Leon Pancaldo are among the town’s most popular attractions, welcoming tourists to this day.

Towers and fortress


Sitting in a commanding position within the cruise and ferry port site, affording uninterrupted views across a large stretch of the Ligurian coastline and the Savona hills, the Fortezza del Priamar (Priamar Fortress) is among the most imposing fortified constructions in the Mediterranean region. Now doubling as a hub for cultural activity, the citadel comprises several buildings, halls, squares and walkways. They form a succession of closed and open spaces that highlight both its vocation as a forum for knowledge exchange and cultural promotion, and its remarkable scenic value, with views spanning across the sea and the mountains, the town and its port.

Erected by the Republic of Genoa between 1542 and 1544, on a design by Giovanni Maria Olgiati, the Fortress aimed to defend and protect the area from possible attacks by the Savoy and maintain Genoese control over the city, which had been conquered in 1528, with ensuing burial of the medieval port.

To make space for its mighty walls, exploiting the strategic position of the Priamar promontory, a decision was made to destroy one of the most important neighbourhoods in the medieval town, including the Cattedrale di Santa Maria di Castello, the Bishop’s palace, the Dominican convent, the ten oratories of the city’s confraternities and the three hospitals.

Over the centuries, the whole compound was largely extended and remodelled, at one point also being used as a jail, where famous Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini was held, from November 1830 to January 1831. The prison cell is now open to visitors.
After a long period of neglect, the Municipality of Savona finally undertook the works for the restoration of the entire Priamar compound, transforming it into an important cultural venue and tourist destination in the Liguria region. In particular, the Palazzo degli Ufficiali (Officers’ Building) now hosts the Civico Museo Archeologico (Municipal Archaeological Museum) and the Museo “Sandro Pertini e Renata Cuneo” (“Sandro Pertini and Renata Cuneo” Museum); the Palazzo del Commissario (Commissioner’s Building) is used as a venue for artistic, cultural and tourist events. The Palazzo della Sibilla (Sibyl’s Building) has been converted into an important conference centre, its ‘cells’ now housing a variety of local craft shops and workshops. Every year, an open-air theatre is set up in the Piazzale del Maschio square, offering over 600 seats and an extensive calendar of events.

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