San Giorgio Castle
Castle and Museum in La Spezia
The Castle of San Giorgio, perched above La Spezia, boasts a lineage that harks back to a watchtower’s inception. The first semblance of the castle emerged in 1262, crafted by the region’s ruler Nicolò Fieschi. This stronghold served the purpose of fortifying his dominance over the territory. Presently, only the foundational segment of the original watchtower endures, ingeniously integrated into the castle’s upper structure.
The year 1273 witnessed the castle’s obliteration at the hands of the Genoese Republic, led by Oberto Doria. This brutal campaign saw the capture, devastation, and pillaging of La Spezia. In the aftermath, Nicolò Fieschi was compelled to relinquish all his holdings to the Republic.
A century later, in the 1370s, a fresh fortification and walls replaced the erstwhile castle. Over time, these defenses underwent substantial expansion and restoration. In 1443, a significant transformation transpired, introducing a new facet to the castle’s countenance that overlooked the valley. This innovation also accommodated the utilization of firearms. In the subsequent century, the 1550s bore witness to the construction of a pivotal defensive augmentation christened the “Bastia.”
The year 1607 ushered in a remodelling phase orchestrated by the Genoese, molding the castle into its contemporary guise. Today, the castle exudes a commanding aura, resplendent with echoes of its original form, adorned by arrow slits that hearken back to the 14th century. During this evolution, the present walls took shape.
A period of neglect followed for the castle, which found redemption in 1985 when restoration efforts commenced. This endeavor involved deliberate alterations aimed at resurrecting its historical character, involving the reconstruction of the ramp and the removal of internal walls within the complex. Additionally, parts of the pavement were overlaid with grating, facilitating the visibility of medieval structures unearthed during the restoration.
Between 1996 and 1998, the final stages of restoration unfolded, culminating in the completion of the upper segment of the castle. The gateway once again proudly displayed the coats-of-arms of the Republic of Genoa and the bas-relief depicting the iconic tale of St. George and the dragon.
Presently, the castle serves as a haven for an Archaeological Museum. Within its walls, a trove of antiquities is showcased, spanning the Neolithic, Copper, Bronze, and Iron ages. Among the rich displays are an extensive array of Roman artifacts, encompassing treasures unearthed from the nearby Luni settlement. Sculptural marble busts, statues, household implements, coins, and religious artifacts paint a vivid portrait of the past, elegantly preserved within this historical haven.
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Visiting San Giorgio Castle
Winter: from Wednesday to Sunday 10.00-12.30 / 14-17; Tuesday 10-17.
Spring/Autumn: Monday to Sunday 10:00-12:30 / 14:00 – 17:00
Summer: Monday to Sunday 10:30-17:00.