Oddo Tower


The Oddo tower is a construction that has characterized the ingauno landscape for centuries which has arrived almost unchanged up to the present day. It is assumed that it may have been built between the 12th and 14th centuries, a time when the families of the city engaged in the construction of tower houses thanks to the favorable economic moment given by the development of maritime activities. Tower houses are residential structures which, due to their vertical development, were also used to undertake offensive-defensive actions. They were therefore an evident symbol of the power of the family that built and lived there.

The tower is about 30m high and has a square base of 4x4m; it is therefore small in size if compared to the other city towers. In common with them, however, it has the stone base on which a brick structure is built. Unlike stone, brick is cheaper, lighter and easier to transport. Up to a height of 15 m it is incorporated into the adjacent Palazzo Oddo . For this reason, the south and east sides have been equipped with openings that allow communication between the two structures. The tower, which is still intact, has another peculiarity: it can be considered as the only example of a tower plastered and decorated up to the top. The part forming part of the façade dates back to the 18th century, while the upper part in bricks was perhaps painted during the 19th century with a motif with false mullioned windows. Finally, on the top floor, each side of the tower has a Romanesque mullioned window. The tower is closed by a cross vault and is crowned by a Ghibelline (dovetail) battlements - evidence of the choice of part of the ingauna city - which rests on a simple projecting cornice.

Unfortunately, before the seventeenth we have no documentary sources on this tower which instead will appear later in both literary and artistic representations of the city, as in the lost fresco: Albenga under the protection of the Virgin, which has come down to us only in the form of photographic reproduction. Probably the structure, from its origins, was owned by the Oddi family itself. The first document certifying the existence of the tower is a testamentary bequest from 1625 with which Gian Maria Oddi , doctor of law, donated the tower and the Palace to the city to be used for the creation of a high school and a college. the latter remained active until the twentieth century. The legacy, however, included two clauses: the first established that twelve Albenganian children, deserving but with little means, were given the opportunity to attend lessons for free. The second, required the construction of a church near the Palace dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo , patron saint of masters, so that it could be easily frequented by students. It, built in 1637, will later be directly connected to the Palace. When the college, later gymnasium, was moved in 1940 inside the “Paccini” building, outside the city walls, the structure was used until 1955 as a boarding school and the disused classrooms as a library. The building remained closed and abandoned until 1979, when it was purchased by the Municipality of Albenga to proceed with its restoration - which ended only in 2006 due to bureaucratic disputes - and therefore could transform the building into a cultural center.

Today the building is managed by the Gian Maria Oddi Foundation . The palace hosts: the Magiche Trasparenze exhibition : the glass of the ancient Albingaunum, the Civic Library named after Simonetta Comanedi, the Musikalische Wunderkammer association and the Unitre. The top floor is used for temporary exhibitions and a conference room. The church of San Carlo is currently deconsecrated and used as an auditorium.


Organized by the FAI Young Albenga Group - Alassio


  • BERTONASCO RUBATTI Goisetta, “The towers of Albenga”, EDITIONS OF THE DELFINO MORO, Albenga, 2010, pp. 79-81.

  • FINCO Luca, "Building Ligurian towers in the Middle Ages: uses and reuses of material in Albeng a", in IV CYCLE OF MEDIEVAL STUDIES, Proceedings of the Conference, Florence 4-5 June 2018, by the NUME Research Group, Arcore (MB ) 2018, pp. 510-518.

  • CAGNANA Aurora and MUSSARDO Roberta, “The towers of Genoa between the 12th and 13th centuries: architectural features, clients, builders”, in Archeology of Architecture XVII 2012, pp. 94-110.