What to see in Zuccarello-alley-stone house

A Brief Itinerary to Discover the Charming Medieval Village in Liguria

Are you exploring the Ligurian Riviera and eager to delve into its hinterland? Uncover what to see in Zuccarello and include it in your itinerary!

The true beauty of a region reveals itself in exploring lesser-known places, especially for the marvelous history they unveil. This is why we want to introduce you to Zuccarello, a captivating village in the hinterland of Albenga. Like Verezzi and Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena, it is one of Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages, representing the untouched side of Savona, away from mass tourism.

The Village’s History

Zuccarello, founded in 1248 by the Marquises of Clavesana and Val Neva inhabitants, served as a strategic point for controlling trade between the coast and Lower Piedmont. Due to its location, it was often contested by surrounding powers. Passing to the Del Carretto family, the small March of Zuccarello was established in the late 14th to early 15th centuries.

During this period, the most famous figure emerged: Ilaria Del Carretto, daughter of the first Marquis of Zuccarello, Carlo Del Carretto. Married to Paolo Guinigi, Lord of Lucca, her tragic fate and the monument in her memory at the San Martino Cathedral in Lucca are integral parts of Zuccarello’s history.

The village’s possession saw disputes and transitions, from Genoa acquiring a third in the 1500s to the signing of the Treaty of Cherasco in 1633, affirming Genoa’s control over Zuccarello.

What to See in Zuccarello: The Castle

The first highlight in Zuccarello is, undoubtedly, the Castle or rather its remains. Although reaching it involves a steep cobbled and dirt road, these remnants, constructed a few decades before Zuccarello’s foundation, served as the impetus for building the village. Today, the imposing tower and some residential area walls stand as remnants, bearing witness to the Marchesi Del Carretto’s transformations from the 14th to the 16th centuries.

What to see in Zuccarello-Remains of the Castle-Apennines-Ilaria del Carretto path
The remains of Zuccarello Castle (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Archaeological excavations revealed religious frescoes, possibly from a castle chapel. Despite fewer visitors, the view from the castle offers a panorama of the village and surrounding mountains.

Follow the Ilaria Trail from the castle for a 3 km hiking route leading to Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena, offering scenic views of the Apennine vegetation.

What to See in Zuccarello: San Bartolomeo Church

An unmissable visit is to the Church of San Bartolomeo, present since Zuccarello’s foundation in 1321 or even earlier. Situated at the heart of the village, its bell tower showcases a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque elements.

What to see in Zuccarello - Church of San Bartolomeo - medieval bell tower
Facade of the Church of San Bartolomeo (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Inside, medieval frescoes coexist with striking Baroque decorations, including works by the renowned Genoese painter Orazio De Ferrari.

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Interior of the Church of San Bartolomeo (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

What to See in Zuccarello: Village Gates and Medieval Bridge

Zuccarello, like any well-preserved medieval village, boasts ancient entry gates. Four gates from the 15th century remain intact:

  • Porta Soprana or Piemonte Gate facing north.
    Porta soprana a Zuccarello-torre medievale-bandiere
    Torre medievale accanto a Porta Soprana (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)
  • Porta Sottana, opposite Zuccarello, facing Albenga and the sea.
    What to see in Zuccarello-Porta Sottana-medieval tower-statue of Ilaria del Carretto
    Porta Sottana (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)
  • Porta del Mulino, overlooking the Neva stream.
  • Porta del Ponte, leading to the Medieval Stone Bridge, a symbol of Zuccarello.

The bridge, likely constructed in the late Middle Ages, provides a picturesque view of the village.

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Medieval Bridge(Credit To Matteo Marongiu)

Other Historical Gems in the Old Town

In Zuccarello’s historic center, remnants of its medieval past include characteristic arcades along Via Armando Tornatore, hinting at the village’s commercial nature. 

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Arcades of via Tornatore (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Noteworthy are the Good Arrival Step and Flogging Column, representing historical justice practices.

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Flogging Column (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

The Marchional Palace, once residence of the Del Carretto Marquises, features 19th-century exterior renovations but preserves a remarkable cycle of frescoes inside. The Oratory of Santa Maria Nascente, though rarely accessible, houses oval depictions of the Virgin Mary and angels, alongside 17th and 18th-century paintings and a wooden crucifix.

At the Oratory’s lower level is the Delfino Quinzio Theater, considered one of Italy’s smallest theaters. Formerly hosting the communal wine press, it remains a hidden gem.

What to See in Zuccarello: Events

Among Zuccarello’s most captivating attractions are its events. The Historical Reenactment of Ilaria Del Carretto’s Wedding in July and the Pumpkin Festival in late October to early November stand out. Both offer unique insights into different facets of the village’s history and traditions, making a visit to Zuccarello a memorable experience.

Now that you know what to see in Zuccarello, the only decision left is when to go! Rest assured, you won’t regret it!

 

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What to see in Zuccarello
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"Exploring the Ligurian Riviera? Discover what to see in Zuccarello– a must-see in your hinterland itinerary!"
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La Scimmia Viaggiatrice