We are in western Liguria, very close to Noli, the town I have already described here. Finale Ligure is one of the most important towns in that part of the region. It has beautiful beaches and a very picturesque old town. In reality, it has 2 old towns! The first one is located near the Ligurian Sea, in the newest part of Finale Ligure. The second one is located in the hinterland in a part called Finalborgo. If it is still not enough for you, in the ’80s of the XX century Finale Ligure became the Ligurian capital of mountain biking. It is really worth to visit it!
How to get to Finale Ligure?
- by car
– A 10 motorway – exit with Finale Ligure motorway exit. Then you follow the road signs to Finale Ligure. At first, you pass through Finalborgo (where you can stop to visit it). Then you continue and you arrive in the newest part of Finale Ligure. More here.
– SS1 Aurelia – in this part of Liguria this road is really spectacular. It leads along a rocky coast. The views are magnificent. If you do not hurry you should absolutely see it! Warning! during the summer season, it is always very congested.
- by train – Finale Ligure train station is located in the newest part of the town. The majority of the trains stops in Finale Ligure. More info here
The first settlement of Finale Ligure come from the palaeolithic era. The town was also very important in the Roman epoch. After Romans fall, Finale Ligure became a part of the Byzantine Empire. The first, written mention comes from 967 of the Otto I emperor. From the XII century, the town became propriety of marquises Del Carretto. They transformed the town into the Marquisate of Finale that was independent of other countries. Since then were started numerous battles between the Marquisate and the Republic of Genoa. The Republic of Genoa wanted to add Finale Ligure to its lands. In the XVIII century started Spanish domination, then French domination and after that Finale, as a normal town was added to the Kingdom of Sardinia. At the end of 1861 became a part of united Italy.
Things to see and do
The main street of Finale Ligure
The newest part of the town is located close to the seaside. Its main street leads in parallel to the sea. From the west it is named via Petrica, then it divides into two streets that are called via Roma and via Garibaldi and then they become one street again that is called via Colombo. When you go through it you can admire the whole old town of Finale Ligure. The main street is also called “budello” that means intestine (the name that comes from its length and narrowness 😉
Collegiata di San Giovanni
Where the main street is called via Garibaldi a majestic church was built. It is called Collegiata di San Giovanni. It was built in the XVII century and it is considered one of the most beautiful examples of the Ligurian Baroque style. In the past, it was believed that its decorations were made by a famous Italian sculptor Bernini. However, it wasn’t confirmed and probably the decorations were made by somebody who was duplicated his style.
When you go out from narrow caruggios of the old town, you will get the seaside. The beaches here are very long and wide. Along the beaches, leads a platform (lungomare). From there you can go to the beaches. Here you will find gravel and pebble beaches and the sea that has a beautiful, azure colour. The beaches are private and public. The biggest advantage is that the beaches are much more spacious than in eastern Liguria.
If you want to get to Finalborgo from the newest part of the town, you can get a car or a bus (line 40 & 33, bus stop next to the railway station of Finale Ligure, ticket 1,50€) and after about 5 minutes you are in Finalborgo. You can get it also on foot. The distance is about 2 km and you get the town after about 20 minutes.
Finalborgo is a beautiful, medieval town. It is surrounded by very well preserved, medieval walls. Finalborgo was a capital of the Marquisate of Finale. For the security reasons, it was founded far away from the seaside.
When you arrive at Finalborgo, you can enter the town passing through its gate, Porta Testa. Then you will get the main street via Nicotera. The street is very picturesque and it is full of restaurants, shops and bars. Via Nicotera leads to the main square of the town Piazza Garibaldi. From there you can get via Torcelli and you arrive into another square … Piazza del Tribunale. There you will find Palazzo del Tribunale.
Palazzo del Tribunale (Courthouse Palace)
It was built in the XIV century by Marquis Del Carretto. It was the seat of the local government. The most interesting aspect of the building is its facade. It is covered by the original frescos from the XIV century.
From the square, you can get via Del Municipio that leads to the local castle.
Castello San Giovanni (Saint John Castle)
The fortress was built in the XVII century during Spanish domination. It is located on a hill about 50 meters above the sea level. It was constructed to protect the Marquisate. In the XVIII century completely lost its importance and became a ruin. In the XIX century was used as a prison and then in the XX century was restored and became a monument. Unfortunately, it is closed for the tourists.
When you come back to the town, you can go through the via Torcelli that leads to another square where the main church of Finalborgo is situated.
Basilica Collegiata di San Biagio
The church was mentioned already in the XIII century. However, the actual construction was built in the XVII century. Its characteristic belltower originally was a watchtower and was built in the XV century. The facade of the church is uncompleted. Inside the church, you can admire the sculpture of the last Marquis of Finalborgo Andrea Del Carretto.
From the ’80s of the XX century, mountain trails of Finale Ligure were “discovered” by lovers of mountain bicycles. Since that time, thousands of cyclists come every year to Finalborgo. They organize many bicycles challenges in the different periods of a year. Especially at the end of a day, the town seems to be conquered by the cyclists 😉 If you need more info you can check here.
- Finalborgo is inscribed on the list of the most beautiful hamlets of Italy.
- In 2014 Finale Ligure became the first VEGAN-FRIENDLY town of Italy
Finale Ligure is one of my favourite towns of western Liguria. I believe it is really worth to visit it!