by Maura Muratorio
At the beginning of the XXth century Angiolo Silvio and Mario Novaro were two important authors in Ligurian literature.
Angiolo Silvio was a poet, especially known for his poems dedicated to the childhood; Mario was a poet too, but he also worked for the magazine “The Ligurian Riviera”: in this way he helped the local cultur and gave some authors, who became famous, the possibility to express themselves.
From Diano Marina, where they were both born, you can choose two different itineraries: on foot, along the road close to the sea, or by car, till you get to “Capo Berta”. Here you can see the typical Mediterranean vegetation: olive trees, pinasters, brooms and thyme. While if you go toward Imperia, you will see elegant villas built by rich people at the beginning of the XXth century: these villas had also exotic plants in their gardens (as Thomas Hanbury made in his famous garden close to Ventimiglia in the XIXth century).
When you get close to Imperia, on “Capo Berta” you can see the Red Villa, Angiolo Silvio’s residence, and the Yellow Villa, Mario’s one.
If you get to Imperia on foot, you can see the “Borgo Peri”, an old fishermen’s district, destroyed in 1891; what is interesting here is the little “Nostra Signora di Loreto” church (XVIth century) and the seashore walk, full of Washingtonia palm trees, which remind the California coasts.
While if you get to Imperia by car, from the bottom of “Capo Berta” you can reach “Borgo Peri” by turning left in the marketplace and left again into Via De Geneys.
When you pass the harbour master’s office, you will get to the Calata G. B. Cuneo, where there are restaurants, fish markets and a fish auction every afternoon.
Here you can also see the house where Andrea Doria was born: he was an important admiral and politician lived in the XVIth century (in Oneglia there is also a pizza dedicated to him, called “pizza all’Andrea”). In the same palace in 1538 the Pope Paul III and Carlo V were given hospitality, while they were coming back from Nice with Andrea Doria.
After this building, turn right and get to Piazza San Giovanni, where there is the most important church in Oneglia, built in 1742; inside this church is full of stucco decorations and local artists’s paintings, and there is also a tabernacle made in 1516.
From Piazza San Giovanni, where a house was painted in 1682 with a town view, come back to the marketplace and turn into Via Costanzo, a typical Ligurian “carruggio”. When you get to Piazza De Amicis, dedicated to another important man who was born in Oneglia, you will be in the political area of the Doria dynasty, with their castle built by Domenico Doria in 1488. Today in Piazza De Amicis you can see the court, designed by Angelo Berio in 1892.
You can also reach the industrial area, where you can see the Agnesi pasta factory and the ex Sasso oil factory which was built by the Novaro brothers in 1923. Angiolo Silvio worked here as an oil taster, while Mario was more interested in the marketing and the promotion of this product thanks to the magazine “The Ligurian Riviera”.