15 - The Factory District and the Roman Gate

A vaulted passage leads from Piazza del Tribunale to Porta Romana, literally the Roman Gateway, and into the Factory District, where the Arnaldi Family opened a crystal production works during the 18th Century. Besides this enterprise, there was also a wheat mill, an olive mill, a spinning mill and a 19th-century tannery in the same district.
The medieval Roman Gate or Mill Gateway, next to which stood a round tower, has been extensively re-worked, and the Del Carretto coat of arms which probably crowned the door, may have been recycled and relocated on another wall along Via delle Fabbriche.
The internal posts are the only original surviving elements of the gateway. It is still possible to see the holes born into the posts in order to slide the cross-bar into position.
Next-door to the gateway is the public wash-house, located along the water way, or ‘beo’ in the local language. The beo channeled the water from the river Aquila into town thereby allowing for industrial production to carry on in this part of the Borgo.
This is where the ‘roman road’ started: coasting the foot of the Becchignolo hill to the East this road lead to the Feglino Valley before going on to Orco.
The slope of the Becchignolo which lies inside the town walls was occupied by the ‘Casa del Vicario’, literally the ‘Vicar’s House’, which was built in a dominant position behind the Law Courts with the coat of arms of the Republic of Genoa painted on the façade.
On the eastern facade, along the Aquila stream, the crenellated walls still have stone and brick gun slits in them. There is only one semi-circular tower in this part of the round of walls, which has been partially included into a corner of the factory built against the walls during the last century.