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THE HYSTORY


OUTLINES OF MONEGLIA HISTORY by Alfredo Armellini

Ligurians origins are very remote. They crossed the Alps and occupy the Italian land from the river Adige to the Maritime Alps, and the Appennnines Valleys to the rivers Serchio, Magra and Arno. They were divided in several independent tribes ready to join their forces against enemies. The Etruscans attacked them and drove them back behind the Magra. The Tigulli tribe settled in the land from Portofino and Punta Mesco (Moneglia area). It seems also that the Lapicini ("people who live in a rocky land") lived nearby Sestri Levante.

These proud tribes who settled in that poor region between the mountains and the sea, where nomadic people, they didn’t live in towns, but in lonely farm houses built with stones. They built also some fortifications (castellari) to defend themselves from the enemy attack. In the years from 237 to 180 b.C. they were defeated several times from the Romans who worked hard to subdue them. After that the Romans built a road between Rome and the Gallie called Via Aurelia.

Some ruins of that road still exist near Moneglia (at Bracco hamlet). During the age of Cesare Augusto (14 a.C.) Moneglia was a part of the IX REGIO and was mentioned in the Empire headquarters paper (Vatican Museum). Lemeglio, a Moneglia hamlet, is named in the "tabula alimentaria", founded in 1747 in the town of Piacenza area. With this tabula, Traiano emperor, who died in 117 a.C., gave to Velleia orphans money, town and hamlets among which Lemmelius ("where there is a mile").

Later on Moneglia - Ad Monilia, that means way toward "pagus Monilia", is mentioned - during the kingdom of Teodosio I (346 - 395 a.c.) in the roadmap Tabula Peutingeriana, kept by the national library of Vienna. This "tabula" can be considered a roadmap of Roman Empire; it represents the world known at that time and takes its name from the antiquarian Augsburg K. Peutinger (1465 - 1547). Moneglia is mentioned in a donation act of the year 1033. In this act marquis Adalberto gave to the monastery N.S. of Castiglione from Parma the "decima" (a tax) on his ownership "in loci ... Monelia".

In 641 Rotari, King of Longobards, sacked many hamlets of Riviera included Moneglia. It seems that at the beginning of the XI century the hamlet of Lemeglio had been destroyed by an horde of Saracen soldiers - leaded by the wild Mugiahid - already housed in Luni on the Magra river. Besides killing many people they also kidnapped 22 women. When Genoa and its territory moved from the Longobard to the French domination some Counts and some Marquises were created.

The Marquis Oberto of Este was the Liguria chef. In 1027 Arrigo IV king of Germany and Italy confirmed the rights of brothers Ugo and Fosco, sons of Azzo, Marquis of Este, regarding the Liguria goods, including Moneglia. In 1299 Moneglia and may other towns of that area swore loyalty to Azzo VIII of Este, duke of Modena. In 1173, when Moneglia was part of Genoa Republic, the construction of Monleone fortress was decided. This fortress was located on a hillock to defend the occidental part of the town. It was built in a very short time by the Ingone of Flessa consul.

In 1174 it was besieged by Count Obizzo Malaspina armies who, pushed by the Pisa Republic (old enemy of Genoa’s) took control of the town along with Counts Da Passano and Lavagna’s armies leading 3000 infantrymen and 150 cavaliers. The Castle garrison held out a very long time allowing Genoa Republic to send an army that defeated the enemy taking control also of Conti Da Passano castle. On it’s ruins, located on Crova hamlet, it seems they built a country-house called "La Passana".

During Meloria naval battle, in 1294, Genoa defeated Pisa causing losses of more then 12000 among dead and wounded. It seems that also people from Moneglia took part of that battle. Among Moneglia soldiers had an important role Ascasera and Trancheo Stanco. Genoa decided to give them some of the rings of the chain used to close Pisa port. These rings were wall up on Santa Croce church overhanged by a relief depicting two cavaliers treading upon a dragon and by the following sentence: "IN NOMINE DOMINI AMEN MCCLXXXX OC CADENA TULERUNT DE PORTU PISA NUV UM OC OPUS FECIT FIERI DOMINO TRANCHEUS STANCO DE MUNELIA", that means: "In the name of God Amen. Year 1290. This chain was taken away from Pisa port .

The stone was placed by Trancheo Stanco by Moneglia". The Guelfi (siding with the Pope) and the Ghibellini (siding with the emperor) developed in Genoa too.. In the east Riviera the Guelfi were in majority. To help Ghibellini, Castruccio Castracani, Lucca’s Lord (1281-1328), took possession of the area between Magra and Sestri Levante including Moneglia. When was elected Doge Simone Boccanegra, in 1339, all the castles and the Riviera towns were given back to Genoa Republic.

In 1396 Charles VI, King of France, conquered Genoa. He governed it with the help of new powerful families as the Asseretos’, coming from Recco and Rapallo. In 1397 the important family of Bertolotti from Levanto, allied to Malaspina family and with local Ghibellini, attached and conquered the Monleone Castle and killed the Castle lord and eighteen of his men. Moneglia was sacked and burned and all Guelfi’s hoses were destroyed.

In 1423 the notary Biagio Assereto became Genoa Governor and married the reach Pometta di Teramo by Moneglia increasing his influent position. In 1425 Moneglia, while Genoa was leaded by Visconti Duchi of Milano, was conquered by Tommaso Campofregoso navy previously Doge and at that time Lord of Sarzana. During these battles Pieve di Moneglia bell tower was destroyed. Inhabitants of S. Saturnino, Tesii, Cerro and Monte took part of this action.

During the following decades, Genoa drove away the Viscontis (1435) but Francesco Sforza took over them in 1464. His armies sacked Moneglia in 1477 because the Moneglieses had defended Lavagna Counts. Because of this Moneglia had to pay 2000 scudos. During Genoa domination Moneglia was governed by a "Podestà" who was also leading the castles of Lemiglio, Deiva, Mezzema, Agnora, Littorno, Scarno, Stozio, Comeglio, Camposoprano, Camposottano, San Saturnino Tessi, Borghetto, Bracco, Casale, Vallecalda, San Lorenzo, and Crova. The "Patrizi" was a title that Genoa was used to give, since long-time, to very important families which had government responsibilities.

This title was given also to these families who had played a role in an emergency situation or had given their money to they native country. This happened to Monelia family who moved to Genoa in 1526 where they got the Patriziato. In 1528 all Patrizie families were divided into 28 groups, called "alberghi". Each of them had to have a name that all the families belonging to it had to take in place of their own name or in addition to it. In 1569, for instance, there was a Doge from Moneglia whose name was Paolo Giustiniani-Monelia. Among the families which were part of De Monelia, we remember the De Bocchini’s - whose descendent "Andreas de Monelia quodam Petri olim de Bocchinis" married in 1510 Catherine, daughter of Niccolò Fregoso - and the Di Piazza’s from which a famous jurisconsult "Paolo Monelia olim Piazza" descents.

The Bollo family, in 1561, were part of the Imperiale "albergo". This group of Patrizie families gave to Genoa four Dogi and some Cardinals. Other important Moneglia citizens were Stefano Mutini, admiral of Genoa Republic navy and sea prefect under Pope Alessandro VI and his son, Lorenzo Mutini, who had the same role under Pope Giulio II. Luca Cambiaso painter was born in Moneglia on October 18, 1527, as well as Clemente Dolera, born on May 21, 1501.

Even if Clemente Dolera was coming from a humble family he became general minister of Francescani order and also Cardinal. The Moltedos family richness was inherited by Lord Felice Romani who, born in Genoa on January 31, 1788, always considered himself a citizen of Moneglia. He became a writer of librettos at Milano Scala from 1813 writing G. Rossini (Il turco in Italia, 1814), V. Bellini (I Capuleti ed i Montecchi, 1830 - Norma e La sonnambula, 1831), G. Donizzetti (Anna Bolena, 1830 - L’elisir d’amore, 1832 - Lucrezia Borgia, 1833) and died in Moneglia on January 28 1865.

In 1549 Moneglia citizens asked to Genoa senate the permission to build a tower to defend Moneglia against pirates. Its name is Villafranca Fortress, and between 1936 and 1939 it was used as a residence by Burgos and afterwards was almost destroyed during World war in June 1944. Today it has been restored along with its park by Comune di Moneglia and destined to public use. In 1637 Levanto became the centre of Capitaneato including also Moneglia Podesteria.

During the Austrian secession war, when in Genoa the famous Balilla throw of a stone against Austrian army took place, Moneglia was occupied by the Spanish army, as some historical acts of the S. Croce archive, report. We hopefully still have this information nevertheless the collapse, on September 16 - 1725, of its central nave. that caused the death of 21 people with some 30 people wounded. In 1748 the French army conquered Moneglia and in 1797 was the turn of Genoa.

As a matter of fact a democratic government was established in Genoa and the Genoa republic became the Ligure Republic. With this change family titles were abolished and the state territory was divided into 20 jurisdictions including 156 districts. Moneglia along with Lemeglio and S. Saturnino became the seventh district of the fifth jurisdiction of Gromolo and Vara. Moneglia had a peace judge. In 1803 Moneglia joined Sestri Levante district that was merged to the Entella Jurisdiction. When Napoleon became emperor this district joined the Appennini department governed by a "maire" and a council.

Taxes increased a lot and Moneglia habitants had to join the army; many of them died during battles throughout Europe. On July 11 1809, Pope Pio VII, French prisoner, directed to Savona, passed through Bracco hamlet where Moneglia citizens reserved him a very big welcome. With the end of Napoleon empire, Liguria was joined to Sardegna kingdom and Moneglia Moved to the Chiavari province. During 1915-1918 world war Moneglia lost 37 of its citizens.

In 1924, during some works to move the railway path some Roman graves were found. During second world war (1939-1945) Moneglia was bombed by the aviation many times (June 13-14, 24, and September 1, 1944) and had many victims among civil population. Almost all the population had to refuge them in the train tunnels between Moneglia and Sestri Levante, today used as a car street by the sea, and also in the bigger tunnel Vallegrande of the Genoa-La Spezia railway. The civil population had also very grate losses, due to the fights between the partisans and the nazi-fascist parties.


 
 

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