It is a small town located in the western Liguria, province of Savona. Albenga has beautiful beaches and a lovely, old town that has many interesting monuments. That’s why you should see this town!
How to reach Albenga?
- by car
– A10 motorway that connects Genoa with a French border. You have to take an Albenga motorway exit and after 5 minutes you reach the town. More info here.
– Aurelia SS1 – state road, very picturesque that leads along the Ligurian coast.
- by train – Albenga has a quite important railway station. Here stop a majority of regional and intercity trains from Genoa and French trains Thello. More info here and here.
The railway station is situated in the centre of Albenga. It is located near the newer part of the town (close to a sea-side) and an old town that is in the hinterland. You can reach the old town by via dei Mille . If you want to go to the beach you take Viale Italia .
The town existed already in the ancient times. In Latin, it was called Albingaunum (that meant a capital of the Ingauni Ligures tribe). During the Second Punic War, the town was allied with the Carthaginians. Then in 1098 Albenga took part in the First Crusade. After that became a Free Town and then in the XIII century became a part of the Republic of Genoa. Then in XVIII century was conquered by France. After that was assigned to the Savoyard Kingdom of Sardinia and at the end in 1861 r. became a part of the United Italy.
The things to see & do:
The first thing you will notice when you come closer the old town are their towers. One of them is a part of San Michele Arcangelo cathedral.
Cattedrale San Michele Arcangelo (Albenga Cathedral)
The first temple was built here at the end of the IV century. Then the building was rebuilt in the XII, the XIII and the XVI century. Interiors are quite austere and dark. However, a ceiling is decorated with beautiful frescos from the XIX century.
Next to the cathedral, you can find a baptistery. It is definitely the biggest attraction of Albenga.
It was built in the V century and it is the oldest building that exists in Liguria. Its plan is in the shape of an octagon on the interior. Inside you can admire an antic, original baptismal font for full immersion, antic, roman amphoras and a beautiful, mosaic ceiling. Nowadays the baptistery is still used to baptize children.
Next to the baptistery is located an old Episcopal Palace and the Diocesan Museum.
Palazzo Vescovile e Museo Diocesano (The old Episcopal Palace and the Episcopal Palace.)
Address: via Episcopio 9
Tuesday – Saturday
9.30 am-12.30 pm & 3.00 pm-6.00 pm
Sunday 10.00 am-12.30 pm & 3.30 pm-6.00 pm
Entrance: 5€; reduced 4€ (ticket includes: visit in the baptistery + visit in the museum)
The Palace was built in the XI century. It was a place where the local bishops lived. Nowadays it hosts the Diocesan Museum (Museo Diocesano). Inside the museum, you can admire the ancient Roman and medieval objects that were found in local archaeological sites. What is more, you can see beautiful frescos in the bishops bedroom, valuable XVI century tapestries or the painting St. John that is attributed to Caravaggio.
You can take pictures in baptistery and you can’t take them in the museum.
Next to the cathedral, you will see another church.
Chiesa di Santa Maria Fontibus (Saint Mary Fontibus Church)
It was built in the Middle Ages. Then was rebuilt in the XIV, the XVII, and even in the XX century. The most interesting part of the church is its XIII century portal.
Palazzo Vecchio e Torre del Comune (Old Town Hall Palace and Town Hall Tower)
Address: Via Nino Laboglia, Palazzo Vecchio del Comune 1
Tuesday – Sunday
10.00am-12.30pm & 2.30pm- 6.30pm
Entrance: 3,50€; reduce 2,50€
More info here.
It was built in the XIII century. Inside you can find Museo Civico Ingauno (Ingauno Museum). In the museum are exposed other ancient objects that were found in local archaeological sites. Once it was also possible to go up on the Town Hall Tower where you could admire a beautiful panorama. Unfortunately, now it is closed and nobody knows when it will be reopened for the tourists.
In the past Albenga was called the town of 100 towers. The towers were built because it was easier to defend the town from them. They were also symbols of the wealth of the inhabitants of Albenga. A higher tower was built a richer its owner was. In the following centuries, the towers completely lost their importance. During the ages, many of them collapsed or were destroyed during earthquakes. Other were adapted as terraces or incorporated into new buildings. Nowadays are visible 12 towers. It is not possible to go up on them, however, one of them hosts a B&B.
When you are direct to a sea-side you can see a newer part of Albenga. This part is full of restaurants, bars and beaches (private and public). Here you can also see a nearby, small island Gallinara. It is said that in the future it will be opened for the tourist but the date is still unknown (the island is a private propriety).
Via Julia Augusta (Roman Road Julia Augusta)
When you leave the old town you can go through the bridge over Centa river and then you will see brown road signs that indicate an ancient, Roman road. In the past, that road connected Emilia-Romania in Italy with Gallia (France). Via Julia Augusta was built in 13 BC and nowadays it leads to Alassio ( a lovely town of Ligurian Riviera). When you go along the trail you will see remains of the Roman road and also remains of a Roman amphitheatre!
What is more, at the beginning of the trail you will find a fantastic panoramic point where you can admire a panorama of Albenga and of the Ligurian sea.
Well, I belive it is really worth to see Albenga when you visit the western Liguria! It is really amazing town!