Albenga was the ancient capital of the powerful Ligurian tribe of the Ingauni , from which it took the name of Albium Ingaunum (the name later changed to Albingaunum, Albingauna and finally Albenga).

Among the remains of the Roman era of Albenga are the ruins of an amphitheater, a theater and an aqueduct, some public buildings, a funerary monument of the second century. AD called Il Pilone sul Monte, the hill in the direction of Alassio, together with sections of the ancient Via Iulia Augusta and ruins of villas. The ruins of the cemetery basilicas of San Vittore and San Calocero are preserved from the 4th and 5th centuries. Today it has the best preserved historical center in western Liguria, the ancient inhabited area maintains its compact medieval construction, on the plan of the Roman core, with leaning houses and the famous towers; living testimony of the importance of Albingaunum in history.

Stroll through the historic center of Albenga

To better admire the monumental aspect of the city as a whole, it is advisable to go to the central Via Enrico d'Aste , where the Church of Santa Maria in Fontibus is , adorned with a beautiful Gothic portal, facing the tower of the Casa Cazzulini , of the thirteenth century. The church dates back to the 13th century, but was remodeled in 1617. A little further on the two red Municipal Towers stand next to the bell tower of the cathedral and other smaller towers. The Cathedral of San Michele , built on the early Christian one, preserves 11th century structures in the lower part of the facade and 12th century structures in the upper part, sides and apse. The bell tower is a reconstruction of 1391-95 with five floors on the Romanesque base. The interior, brought back to medieval architecture, retains traces from the fourth century and the crypt from the Carolingian age. Noteworthy are the frescoes and the organ.

Next to the church are the Palazzo Vecchio del Comune (1387), with its mighty mullioned tower and external ramps, and the Baptistery , which is the main Ligurian monument from the early days of Christianity. The Baptistery of Albenga has a decagonal plan on the outside and octagonal on the inside with alternately rectangular and semicircular niches and is an extraordinary example of early Christian architecture of the mid-fifth century. Its splendid Trinitarian-Christological mosaic can be considered one of the most significant in northern Italy, together, of course, with those of Ravenna. The entrance niche is flanked by two tombs, one of which with Lombard ornamental sculptures of the eighth century, while in the one in front of the entrance there is the aforementioned Byzantine mosaic with the monogram of Christ and the 12 doves representing the Apostles. In two other niches there is a 16th century baptismal font and a 14th century fresco. In the center there are the remains of the primitive baptismal font for immersion.

The Piazzetta dei Leoni , behind the cathedral, is suggestive, adorned with three Renaissance stone lions. Here, in medieval times, there was the market for shoemakers and tanned leathers. Noteworthy is the municipal tower with a black stone base and the towers (between the 12th and 13th centuries) of the aforementioned Cazzulini house, of the Palazzi Costa, Aste-Rolandi-Ricci, Lengueglia-Doria, Rolandi-Ricci, of the Oddo palace, of the Peloso-Cepolla palace and that of the episcopal palace . The loggia of Palazzo Fieschi-Ricci and an arch of the Quattro Canti loggia are Romanesque. Typical examples of Ligurian residences are the 16th century Palazzo Del Carretto di Balestrino and the 17th century Palazzo d'Aste . The new IAT office and the Ingauno Civic Museum are housed in the Palazzo Vecchio del Comune, which collects Roman and medieval objects (sculptures, tombstones, sarcogagi and frescoes from the 15th century), archaeological and epigraphic collections. Upstairs there is a prehistoric section with materials from the caves of the Pennavaira valley .

The Roman Naval Museum is located in the Palazzo Doria-Cepolla and gathers over a thousand Roman amphorae recovered from a ship of the first century BC, sunk in the waters of Albenga. It was the first Roman cargo ship discovered and explored on the bottom of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The first recoveries took place in 1950 by the ship "Artiglio". The Diocesan Museum , in fifteenth-century rooms partly frescoed and decorated, presents the exhibition of works of art and materials coming from the excavation of the cathedral. Among the paintings stand out a San Giovanni attributed to Caravaggio and the Martyrdom of Santa Caterina by Guido Reni.

One cannot fail to mention the medieval Pontelungo , with ten basement arches, under which the Centa River once flowed alongside the Baroque-built Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pontelungo , with a sixteenth-century triptych by Barbagelata. Every year it is commemorated on 2 July 1637, when the pirates who landed in Ceriale, marching on Albenga to plunder the city, were stopped by a violent glow attributed to a miraculous intervention of the Madonna, venerated in the small church next to the bridge, to protect the ingauno people.
Outside the historic center there is the 12th century Church of San Giorgio in the Campochiesa hamlet . with various frescoes inside, one of which represents an overview of the Divine Comedy with Dante and Virgil; S. Bernardino (with a universal judgment by Bisacci of 1483), S. Stefano di Massaro (11th, 15th century) near the hamlet of Bastia , the bell tower of the parish of San Fedele (13th century), S. Maria del Bossero in Leca.

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