ALBENGA AND MADONNA DELLA GUARDIA - TRIP CODE: ALBENGA
The tour starts from Albenga, a seaside town and a city of fruit and vegetable production, just a few meters uphill from the expanse of the sea. The historic center preserves the Roman urban layout of the ancient city of the "Ligurian Inganni", and boasts valuable medieval monuments.
Go up towards the archaeological area and Street Julia Augusta, taking the direct route to Mount Bignone (over 500 meters). The guided tour flanks the ruins of a necropolis of Roman origin, which convey a sensation of ghostly immobility in sharp contrast to the enchanting island of Gallinara, in the background, a jewel set in the sea.
Occasionally it happens to come across explosions of mimosas that break on mule tracks, surrounded by walls and original channels.
Go past Mount Castellaro to reach Peak Vegliasco, called Mount Pisciavino, where you can enjoy a splendid panoramic view.
The guided tour continues towards the Sanctuary of "Madonna della Guardia", an ancient Marian sanctuary whose construction began in the XVII century. The religious building is located on the highest peak of the ridge, in a dominant position over the small town of Alassio and its gulf.
In this place there was a fortification since the Middle Ages, in the 17th Century there was a place for the new sanctuary. which was erected on the existing ruins enriched with a valuable altar of white marble decorated with statues of the Assumption, of two great angels and of Christ that ascends to the sky, then dismembered in the nineteenth century.
The bell tower was then raised, 21 meters high, and the church was transformed into three naves, with the construction of a new building on the left side and the reuse of the old guesthouse as the right aisle.
The decoration of the vaults was carried out on the occasion of the Jubilee of 2000.
The original title is that of the Assumption, to which the church of Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseille was dedicated. Only in the 20th century is it identified with that of Mount Figogna, near Genoa, where the Madonna appeared to the blessed Benedetto Pareto on 29 and 30 August 1490, an episode remembered by a wooden group preserved in the apse of the left aisle.
The sanctuary is still today a destination for pilgrimages.