Taggia: looking for doctor Antonio
by Maria Antonella Molinari
In April 1840, on a beautiful and sunny day, an elegant carriage pulled by four horses ran on the famous “Frame road” (strada della Cornice): this road goes through the western Riviera, from Genoa to Nice.
In Europe few roads are as beautiful as this one; and of course only few of them have three natural beauties: the Mediterranean Sea on one side, the Apennines on the other side and the blue sky above.
This is how “Il Dottor Antonio” starts: it is a novel written in the XIXth century by Cornelia Turner, Henrietta Jenkin and Giovanni Ruffini. Giovanni Ruffini took part to the Risorgimento, he was a friend of Mazzini and, because of his political opinions, he was obliged to spend part of his life abroad: in France, in Switzerland and then in England. The novel with its protagonist, the exiled doctor Antonio, is full of descriptions of the Ligurian landscape. It seems that the writers want the reader to fall in love with this land. These descriptions let us organize a very rich itinerary.
Our itinerary in Taggia can start from the square dedicated to the town heroes, where there is a monument for the Ruffini brothers and for Domenico Ferrari. From here go through the western part of Via Roma: you will get to the portico called “d’ù Preostu”. Turn into Salita Eleonora Curlo and reach Via G. B. Soleri, the most important street of the town, better known as “Pantàn”. This Medieval street is very well preserved: you can still see wide porticoes and important palaces.
When you get to Piazza Cavour, with its monument dedicated to Eleonora Curlo, turn left into Via C. Lotti; then turn into Via G. B. Boeri, where you can see the huge Boeri Palace. When you arrive at Piazza Gio Battista Reghezza, you should look at the Neoclassical style facade of the ex St. Catherine’s Church. There is another little square close to it, called “SS. Trinità”: from here go through Salita “Campo Marzio” and Via San Dalmazzo. On the left you can see the “SS. Trinità” Church and the St. Orsola’s Oratory. Via San Dalmazzo, full of important palaces and beautiful portals made of carved stone, takes you to Piazza San Benedetto da Taggia. If you walk for a while from here, you can reach the ancient “Madonna di N. S. di Canneto” Church and, in front of it, the “Eleonora Curlo” villa. If you come back to Via San Dalmazzo, on the right you can see the huge De Fornari Palace, and then the Barbarasa Door, one of the ancient five doors of the town, the Clavesana’s towers and the Pretoria Door, which takes you to Via Bastioni. From here you can have a wonderful view of the sea and the valley. Go through Via Bastioni and get to Piazza San Domenico: there is a unique Dominican monks’s monastery here. Then go beyond “dell’Orso” Door in Via Lercari and at the end of the street you can see Lercari Palace: if you pass under it, you get to Piazza Farini, where you can see the big bell-tower and the Basilica dedicated to St. James and St. Philip. On the other side of the square you can also see the magnificent Curlo-Spinola Palace. From here go through Via Ruffini, Piazza Garibaldi, Viale Mazzini and Via O. Anfossi: you will get to the Roman and Medieval bridge.