The Gavone Castle

The Gavone Castle
The Gavone Castle

The construction of the Castle was begun in the 12th century by Henry II with the function of both defence and residence.

Situated in a truly strategic position: on the top of the Becchignolo hill from where you could dominate both the course of the Pora and the Aquila, the streams that join in Finalborgo, in 1186 it became the palace of the Del Carretto family who stayed there until the early eighteenth century.

The Del Carretto family was for years a thorn in the side of the Republic of Genoa, and Castel Gavone became the symbol of their power. In 1448 the Genoese thought they had finally managed to subdue the Marquisate and destroyed some parts of the castle but within a few years and after bitter battles they were forced to abandon the village. Then Marquis Giovanni I Del Carretto not only restored the manor but surrounded the whole town of Finalborgo with walls.

In that period Castel Gavone became the largest castle in western Liguria and an elegant mansion.

 

The splendid Diamond Tower was an example of the first attempts by military engineers to counter the power of the new firearms. Its shape, called the ship's bow, was used to prevent bullets fired from the south from hitting the walls perpendicularly, thus creating more damage. The cannonballs were deflected "slipping" over the sharp corner of the structure.

The particular shape of the castle
The particular shape of the castle

The splendid squared stone cover worked like sharp diamond-pointed ashlars, hence the name, aimed at the same purpose: the impact of the shot was absorbed less traumatically than on a smooth surface.

In 1602, the Del Carretto family gave Finalborgo to the Spanish who ruled for about a century and developed the local economy. In that period Castel Gavone was equipped with a service castle lower down for protective purposes: Castel San Giovanni.

The ups and downs of history, however, ended up handing the city over to the hated Genoese enemies.

 

The ancient cisterns
The ancient cisterns

The Republic in fact bought the village in 1715 and in a few years destroyed most of the castle in order to erase the symbol of the ancient adversaries. The Diamond Tower and many wall structures were fortunately spared, but inevitably the slow ruin of the building began. Many of the castle's original materials, beams, stones and columns, were used over time for the construction of churches, portals and villas.

Today, after the transfer of the castle to the Municipality of Finale Ligure (1989) and after the restoration started in 2007, which brought to light the ancient cisterns and the parade ground, it is finally possible to visit this complex.

Castel Govone certainly represents the most beloved symbol of the inhabitants of the village.


It is open to the public with guided tours organized by the Centro Storico del Finale. Reservations at 019-690112 and 3470828855.