Tigullio

Tigullio: 5 curious things you need to know!

1️⃣ Gulf of Tigullio: also called Golfo Marconi

Once, the Gulf of Tigullio, was also called “Golfo Marconi”.

This name, was in honor of the great inventor Guglielmo Marconi, who “used” the Gulf of Tigullio, as the basis for his experiments on the radio-telegraph.

Guglielmo Marconi, esperimenti nel Tigullio, sullo Yacht Elettra
Guglielmo Marconi, working on the Radio-telegraph

His yacht, Elettra (named like his daughter), moored in Santa Margherita and Sestri Levante. Here in Sestri, there’s a little tower, Marconi’s tower, so named, in his honor. 

Unfortunately, this denomination is slowly disappearing from memories and documents. 😥

Part of the Elettra’s Keel, was exposed in Santa Margherita Ligure, until a few years ago. 

We don’t want to forget Guglielmo Marconi: he linked the name of Liguria, to the history of navigation.

2️⃣ Chiavari, capital of the (never born) Province of Tigullio

For many years, it has been talked about the establishing a “Fifth Province” in Liguria, called the “Province of Tigullio” , with Chiavari as the capital city.

The 👨‍🎓 legislative decree, was presented to the Chamber of Deputies in 2001. It seemed done when, for political reasons, everything ended. All finished.

Chiavari
Chiavari – Picture from the Facebook Group

Imagine: the fifth Ligurian Province, with Chiavari as capital, would have been formed by 35 cities!

✔ From Bogliasco to Moneglia, passing through Santo Stefano d’Aveto, Casarza Ligure and Lumarzo. It would have been.. a HUGE province!

3️⃣ Rapallo has more inhabitants than Chiavari

Oh yes, that’s right. Rapallo is the second most populous municipality, of the Metropolitan City of Genoa, with 29,200 inhabitants (approx.) in front of Chiavari with 27,500 (approx.).

Until a few years ago, Chiavari 📉 was clearly ahead of Rapallo.

Rapallo, Castello di Rapallo
The Castle of Rapallo – By Davide Giambrignoni, from 
the Facebook Group

The turnaround began in the ’70s. The main causes of this reversal are simple.

First of all: the “diaspora” of many inhabitants from Portofino and Santa Margherita, to Rapallo. At the same time, many inhabitants of Chiavari moved away from the center, towards inland, especially in Val Fontanabuona .

The explanation is simple: people moved searching for a cheaper life..

4️⃣ Sestri Levante was… a very rich city!


That’s right. In ancient times, Sestri Levante – called Segesta Tigulliorum – was one of the most important city in Liguria.

Segesta Tigulliorum was, in fact, the “capital” of Tigullia , the ancient denomination of the area that today we call “Tigullio”.

The economy of Sestri Levante was really, really flourishing. 💰

Sestri Levante, Baia del Silenzio
Baia del Silenzio – By Michela Macelloni from 
the Facebook Group

It was the deposit of goods, arrived by sea and directed to the Grand Duchy of Parma. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, these exchanges, yielded over 40 thousand “scudi” (for year) to every inhabitant of Sestri.

But then it finished. And there were big problems. 😨

The construction of Strada dei Giovi – that connected easily Genova to Milano – made Sestri Levante lost traffic, in favor of Genova, and its great port. In fact, the passage through the Giovi, reduced times and costs.

So, the inhabitants of Sestri Levante, had to devote themselves completely… to fishing and agriculture. 😅

5️⃣ The plague in Zoagli.

Let’s go back to the era of the Barbarian raids, led by the fearsome and ruthless Dragut, who did enormous damage, especially in Rapallo.

➡ To protect themselves, in all the villages were built fortifications near the sea (the various castles you can see today, in the promenades of the cities).

In Zoagli, once the two towers – the one on the west and the other, on east – were finished, the incursions of the barbarians were over. Without hitting the village.

Zoagli, Torre Saracena, lungomare Canevaro
ZOAGLI: Torre Saracena di Levante – Photo by Maurizio de Mattei, from our  
Facebook Group

Instead, in 1600, two plague epidemics break out. One of the most affected cities in Liguria – in addition to Genoa – was.. Zoagli!

Why Zoagli? 🤔

Many boats, full of infected people left Genoa, (where they were persecuted), to land right on the beaches of Tigullio, especially in Zoagli.

The two towers, unused years before for the pirates, were now used to spot (and drive away) the plague victims, arriving (mostly at night) from the sea.