05 - The walls and the Porta Reale

To this date, Finalborgo is still surrounded by an almost complete circle of Medieval walls, sectioned by towers and gateways. As in many other lowland Medieval towns in Liguria, the walls of the Borgo of Finale were connected to a tower higher up on the Becchignolo hillside.

This tower was incorporated into Castel San Giovanni during the Spanish period. By looking at the building technique, which deployed irregular blocks of stone, river pebbles and recycled building material, historians have dated the walls that still stand around Finalborgo to the 15th Century, when Giovanni I Del Carretto had the walls and gates re-built in less than two years, following the damage caused by the Genovesi during the Finale War.

This round of walls is characterised by a crenellated battlement, which was partly blocked up in modern times to obtain slits for fuseliers. Travellers arriving from Finalmarina were met by the formidable barbican of the Carretta Gate, near the medieval “ponte dei pesci”, or ‘fish bridge’, whose foundations are visible at the foot of the barbican itself.

The Medieval access to the village during the Spanish period was replaced by the Porta Reale, or Royal Gate, which is decorated with painted-on 19th-century architectural features, the coat of arms of the Savoia family and the Virgin Mary, who is protector of the town.

Having walked through the gateway and entered the walls, you will reach Piazza San Biagio, where you can see a large marble bas-relief of the crested coat of arms of the Del Carretto family. The image of the coat of arms paraded on a carriage drawn by a pair of lions used to hang above the nearby gateway. The image is meant to celebrate the marriage between Giovanni I Del Carretto and Viscontina Adorno in 1451.

Historians have attributed this fine piece of craftsmanship to a sculptor from Lombardy who must have worked in Liguria in the mid-15th Century.

The capital in Finale stone decorated with the coats of arms of the Carretto-Adorno families and the male head near the bas-relief were originally housed inside Gavone Castle.