Today the Centa river flows south of the historic center of Albenga but it has not always been this way: in fact, it was originally located on the opposite side of the city and only in the 13th century for anthropogenic and natural causes did the river deviate its course; its alluvial inflows have advanced the coastline by about a kilometer and a half.

The ancient buildings that we now see in the riverbed were therefore located in the immediate outskirts of the town, in a nodal area for land and sea communication routes. The area was chosen over the centuries as a place to build important public buildings: in Roman times the baths (1st-4th century AD), in the late antique period (5th century) a first religious center and in the Middle Ages (13th century) the church of San Clemente seat of the Knights of Malta. The remains visible today mostly refer to the latter building which underwent various renovations until its abandonment in the seventeenth century.

The Centa has marked the most recent history of the archaeological area: thanks to the widening of its embankments in 1910, the first structures came to light, which were then investigated in extension in 2000 on the occasion of new expansion works of the basin. At the same time it is a river that is causing its destruction due to the numerous floods. For this reason, numerous archaeological investigations have been carried out in recent years.