Piazza San Michele and the towers


The square of San Michele takes its name from the title of the Cathedral, and still constitutes the center of the city today. It is bounded by the facade of the Cathedral with the bell tower (next to it, the early Christian Baptistery), by the tower of the old Palazzo del Comune, by the Town Hall with its tower, by Palazzo Peloso Cepolla and its tower, seat of the Roman Naval Museum and on the other sides by private buildings. Here, therefore, the importance of the towers in the history and physiognomy of the city is clearly evident. Urban and architectural phenomenon of the Middle Ages, in Albenga it is particularly impressive due to the crowding of the towers in the city center. The study of this typical reality of medieval cities is still to be perfected, through targeted archaeological surveys and stratigraphic surveys with the use of modern systems.

To date, the towers are dated based on the construction technique, the diversity of materials and the height of the stone bases which decreases with the passage of time, while the dimensions of the segments and the precision of the installation increase. In this sense, the square offers a good field of analysis, because both the base of the bell tower and that of the tower of the former Malasemenza Town Hall can be attributed to the most ancient phases (12th century), and the base of the Della Lengueglia tower, located beyond the bottom of the square on the corner of via Roma behind it, while the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio (early 13th century) is attributable to the last group of buildings. The square in the Middle Ages was not as large as it is today, because in front of the Cathedral there was a building owned by the canonical Chapter, demolished in the century. XVII.

The square was the seat of the flourishing grain market, documented in the Middle Ages up to the seventeenth century, and animated by numerous religious ceremonies, municipal meetings and judicial sessions that took place in the adjacent municipal loggia.