Arenzano is a lovely, small town in western Liguria. As many towns in that part of the region are not popular through the tourists… apart from groups of pilgrims that visit its very important sanctuary. But let start from the very beginning:
How to reach Arenzano?
– by car – A10 motorway – you use Arenzano motorway exit – more here. Or you can use SS1 Aurelia state road, that leads through the town.
– by train – Arenzano railway station is quite important and many trains stop there. More info here.
– by bus – you can reach Arenzano from Genova Voltri or Varazze using the 8 bus line. More info here.
The first settlement in that area was created by the Roman in I century A.C. In the medieval age, it suffered from barbaric invasions and in the X century, it was occupied by the Saracen pirates who made it a fortified garrison. Then the town pass to the Republic of Genoa. The main activities of the inhabitants of Arenzano were shipbuilding and maritime life that brought to move many of them to the Genoese colonies of Corsica, the Black Sea and the East. Over the centuries, especially in the XVII century, the town suffered from pirate raids so as the local community proceed to a fortification of the village. During the Napoleonic domination – which caused the fall of the Republic of Genoa – Arenzano became a part of Ligurian Republic. After the Napoleon fall was incorporated into the Kingdom of Sardinia and then in 1861 became a part of United Italy.
Things to see & do
When you arrive at Arenzano the first place you probably see will be the sea promenade that leads along the coastline of the town. Here you will see many private and public, pebble beaches. From the promenade, you can also admire the city of Genoa and peninsula of Portofino.
From the promenade, you can take via Sauli Pallavicino that brings you to the entrance of Villa Negrotto Cambiaso.
Villa Negrotto Cambiaso
In the Middle Ages, it was a square tower about 21 meters high. In 1558 the Marquis Tobia Pallavicino bought a large plot of land in the territory of Arenzano and built a villa next to the existing tower. The villa was used as a suburban summer residence and as an agricultural centre. For this reason, it was surrounded not by a park but by an ordered set of cultivated fields. In 1880 the marquise Luisa Sauli Pallavicino wanted to renovate the villa by creating an elegant park instead of cultivated fields. The XVI century villa was transformed into a turreted castle, according to the fashion of the time that. The tower was raised to 26 meters and decorated with the Ghibelline battlements. Among the small arches underneath the battlements, 144 coats of arms were frescoed to commemorate the history of the Pallavicino family and the great Genoese families with whom they had ties. Now the building is the seat of the municipality of Arenzano.
Nowadays it is possible to access the park through three entrances: the west entrance, from Piazza Rodocanachi, crosses the medieval village and follows the walkway on the walls. The other two entrances, to the east on Piazza Allende and to the north on Via Sauli Pallavicino, lead onto two straight avenues that lead both towards the central villa.
Among the plants present in the park it is possible to admire some botanical rarities, such as the Cupressus lusitanica, the Thuja placata, the Erythrina crista-galli, the Pittosporum tenuifolium or the Cephalotaxus harringtonia, as well as more common trees that are striking for their size. Among them are magnolias, canfora, plane trees, various species of palm trees and a monumental Lebanon cedar located near the circular basin in the southern part of the park.
Arenzano is part of the Beigua Regional Natural Park and it is a place of transit for different species of birds. In addition to the typical Ligurian avifauna species (sparrows, blackbirds, pigeons, seagulls) you can meet here different species of geese and ducks, such as the mallard, the tufted duck, the dumb duck. In the park of the villa, you can meet many species of ducks, geese and …a big peacocks colony. What is more, several turtles live in the tanks in front of the entrance to the villa. More about Beigua Regional Park here.
Then you can exit the park and go through via Raffaello Sanzio and then via Rimembranze. It leads you to the main church of the town
Santuario del Bambino Gesù di Praga
The church is located on a hill over Arenzano. From here you can admire a beautiful panorama of the town and the Ligurian coast. The church was built at the beginning of the XX century, so it is not an ancient building at all. However, it is important for Christian pilgrims because it is said that Baby Jesus of Praga can make miracles. Inside you can admire its sculpture with the crown. The church is always full of persons that pray. It is still very important faith place.
Next to the church, you will see the oldest monument of Arenzano – a Saracen tower. It is the tower that was built in the XVI century as an observation point. It was constructed to defend the town from the pirate’s attacks. Nowadays it is closed and abandoned … unfortunately.
It connects Arenzano with Varazze. It leads through old, train tunnels and it is adapted to bicycles and pedestrians.
Length: 11,5 km
Along the cycle lane, you will see many, beautiful beaches. You will admire fantastic views and you can stop at Cogoleto, another small town that is located exactly in the middle of the itinerary. If you don’t have a bike – no problem you can rent it here.
Arenzano is one of the places that is forgotten by tourists in Liguria! However, if you want to see undiscovered and authentic places here in Liguria Arenzano is a place for you!
- Did you like the post? I will be glad if we stay in touch! You can like That’s Liguria! on Facebook ! Every day you will find new photos, inspirations and interesting information 😉