The Roman and medieval city is still the center of urban life and its appearance is partly that of the 12th-14th centuries, in the most flourishing period of municipal independence, of which there are numerous testimonies. Albenga is in fact an example, unique in Liguria, of urban continuity between Roman times, the Middle Ages and the modern age. The city in the Middle Ages was organized according to the division into four districts , which took their name from churches that stood there, still the beating heart of the city.

Every year in July the Palio Storico of Albenga takes place, four days in which the city returns to the Middle Ages and the 4 districts compete in different competitions for the conquest of the Palio. The show includes historical parades, games (archery, tug of war, "the medieval family goes to war", knock down the towers), fights and performances in a city that goes back to the ancient in a fascinating atmosphere of great party.

Saint John

San Giovanni or Torlata to the north-west, takes its name from the Baptistery or church of San Giovanni, an important monument of the fifth century and, in the Middle Ages, from a turris lata, a large tower identifiable with the complex of tower and houses of the Cepollini, which still today it dominates the intersection between the via delle Medaglie d'Oro, via Torlaro and via Mariettina Lengueglia. In the district there are still two doors in the walls, Porta Molino and Porta Torlaro.

San Siro

San Siro includes the southwestern part of the city and takes its name from a little church that has disappeared today, dedicated to the Genoese bishop Siro , whose site is marked by a small square. In the district, full of noble palaces along the axes of via delle Medaglie d'Oro and via Roma, the convent of San Domenico was built in the thirteenth century; the friars Preachers, known for their study and culture, housed the library and archives of the Municipality and, in the church, the chapels of many important families; the Corps of nobles usually gathered in their refectory.


Sant'Eulalia includes the south-eastern part of the ancient center and takes its name from a small church that has now disappeared, remembered by Via Sant'Eulalia . The cathedral of Barcelona is dedicated to this saint and it is probable that her cult was linked to the Benedictine monastery of San Martino della Gallinaria, which possessed numerous vast assets in Catalonia; the island faces the neighborhood.

Saint Mary

Santa Maria includes the north-eastern part of the city and takes its name from the ancient medieval church, rebuilt in the seventeenth century, of Santa Maria in Fontibus , from the source located under the main altar. This is the district that has suffered more than the other heavy demolitions: already at the beginning of the twentieth century the existing cloisters between the Cathedral and Santa Maria were demolished and a large part of the Roman decuman was gutted, from Porta Marina to Piazza San Michele.