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   Suburb of Carrosio and, after the bridge of La Maddalena, here is Gavi.
C.A.P .: 15066 - Tel. Code: 0143 Altitude: 233 m s.l.m. -
Population: 4460 (considerable increase in summer)
Municipal Sports Center Via Bosio 2 - tel. 643275
Town Hall: Via Mameli 52 - tel. 642372/6427

 The modern buildings of  Gavi outskirts prevent glance over the old town, that stay in the shadow of the rock that appears first, formidable and menacing, the cliff against which broke once the water of the river Lemme.
The wide alluvial terrace formed by the deposits of the stream, which the first to notice it were the ancient Ligurians, who lived there in caves and huts. We're roughly around 2000 BC and to speak of these early settlements is a black obsidian hatchet of the Neolithic period found in Gavi.


In Roman times, on the same site of the Neolithic station, there arose a "pagus" and was called "Gavium", hence the name of Gavi. The Romans endowed the territory of a road to connect the way Postojna with the way Emilia. The "link road" started from Sottovalle and running along the Vallemme  went to intersect the Emilia around Sezzadio. Of its existence we have no evidence, but some name, like Aurelian, where, apparently, there were the quarters of a Marco Aurelio not well identified, but the present town of Basaluzzo, an ancient Roman colony, provides enough evidence.


After the dark ages of the early Middle Ages a staple in Gavi story is the Church of St. Mary (La Pieve). Probably built on a former pagan temple, on the edge of a terrace overhanging with three sides on the wide bend of Lemme, transformed by centuries in a warehouse for wood and agricultural tools, this unique church is devoid of the side aisles, for being incorporated the right one, in the farmhouse that supports it, collapsed the left one.
The Pieve, thus reduced to the sole aisle and apse, is decorated by arches in the facade and asymmetrical pilasters; the technique and the materials used allow to date the birth around the year 1000. This place of yearning loneliness is three kilometers from the town of Gavi on the right side of the road to S. Cristoforo; be careful, visiting it, to the cliffs over the river.


If the church of S. Maria introduces us to the religious and artistic life of Gavi, with the two documents of 972 and 973, - with which the "Bishop of Genoa, Teodolfo, gave in rent to certain Peter and Andrew, free men of Gavi for 29 years, all the possessions belonging to the church of S. Siro  placed in the teritory of Gavi and locations Meriana and the marquis Lamberto sold to the  Presbitero Roprando acourts nd churches and the castle of Gavi - we enter officially into history and civic life of Gavi. Which will have moments splendid, as to the times of Marchese Alberto Obertenghi, which closes Gavi in ​​a massive city walls and, maneuvering skillfully between the menaces of the Genoese and opposites appetites of Tortona and Pavia, manages to save, at least until his death around 1176, a degree of autonomy. But to him the Gaviesi and lovers of beauty are very grateful for more than this. It dates back at the time of its domain the erection of St. James, magnificent Romanesque Church, built on the remains of perhaps a hospice for pilgrims to St. James of Compostela. The church had been built in 1172. On August 15 of that year, the Consuls of Alexandria  swore loyalty to Alberto marquis of Gavi. From now on, St. James is the heart of the religious and civic life of Gavi: in it gather in parliament the people and the elders of the city; in it, in 1202, Genoa and Tortona enter into an agreement for the conservation of their streets to the Crenna, where then, at St. Defendente Chapel, was the border ..


St. James has a facade in pure Romanesque style. It is said to have worked with it the Masters of Como, which supplied with stones in the quarries on the outskirts of the town. Sure there are in it, on the Portal and especially on the Bestiary Capitals figures, a certain influences from Lombardy, while the lantern tower at the center of the transept and the dividing columns between the aisles, are reminiscent of the Genoese architecture of the time. (See in this regard S. Donato) ..


The portal, decorated with columns and agile work in braids over, houses on the architrave the Last Supper. The Christ appears in the midst of highly stylized Twelve behind the table laden with dishes and fish. He keeps under his feet a mysterious figure (the devil?... The forces of matter?) And over the head two flying angels soar spread wings under a dove. On the ridge of the gable of the portal, carved in the round and protected by a singular pavilion dome-shaped, one notices a human figure (S. Giacomo?...) Who rides a monster; other monsters appear below the shelves of decorative arches on the facade. The rosette is strongly asymmetric, for the interruption of the ring nut.


The facade of St. James, come down to us intact, it gives us the strong emotion of the almost physical contact with a world of artisan ingenuity of extreme symbols of barbaric and Christian reminiscences illuminations. The interior, however, requires an effort of imagination, it is so obvious the tampering of the Baroque period. The plant is still basilican with three naves separated by monolithic columns with capitals embossed. There are depicted monsters, anthropomorphic figures and animals, in an iconographic and symbolic disorder with vigorous pictorial sense.


The roof was originally exposed and each aisle ended with an apse decorated with arches. Even the sides were adorned with portals and arches located under the eaves frame. Then the nakedness of the stone walls and the roof truss seemed a small thing to the stylistic trends in the late '600 and' 700 and from there the destruction, visible today in the roof redone in vault, the raising of the beautiful lantern octagonal not equilateral, the weight of which, together with other superstructures of the external walls and roof, the imbalance stunning proportions of the building,  endanger the stability.


After that Genoa, with a slow and progressive politics, but relentless, acquires the town, Gavi become a Genoese outpost in the middle of the imperial feuds, located in the heart of the streets through which takes place the trade with Piedmont and Lombardy, ends to be constantly the center of the crossfire between the different contenders, because it will not be the thinness of the agreements nor the thoroughness of the treaties to ensures the safety of the streets and the collection of the tolls, neither to silence the appetites of one or the other.


The whole history of Gavi, from the time of the treaty with Tortona, is marked on the notes of the trumpet of war. For this the castle (il Forte), originally no different from one of the many feudal manors, built yes to the war, but also to live there and care for the purposes of peace, will become a bulwark of protection, a carved fortress in the rock and every age will add to the monument its stones,  lending the stronghold to many different uses. This will make it the armoured residence of the Prince and the place where he lived and oversees the military garrison in the country, the protection of the road, and therefore its walls will extend to embrace and cuddle the village. It will then be a place of passage and residence, to humble leaders, as for the greatest protagonists of international robbery, from Barbarossa to Napoleon and hub of the Genoese resistance during the wars of dominance. Finally as high security prison during the two world wars.

  For this the Fort of Gavi has come to us without eancient quipment and enriched of many architectural additions, but its irreplaceable and distinctive part of the incomparable scenery of the town, rich in history and character of political upheavals, still lasts, till today.
If you climb up on the hill Moro in spring, you can see on the flower grassy spaces, '' l'anemone pulsatilla ", a miracle of mother nature, rare plant in the Ligurian Apennines, worthy of the highest respect. Better is to climb on foot from the muletrack  that from Gavi climbs up to the stands, to capture the harmonious monumentality of theFort, in the symmetries of the lights, the architecture, such as balconies, parapets, chimneys, the corners of the spurs, the walkways.
From there the view stretches to the roots of the valley, on the Castagnola Pass to the left, on the wild beauty of the woods of the Vallemme , and the soothing vineyards of Gavi's wines. But most you can enjoy the view of the old town, with  the genoese roofs, dominated by the bulk of Serra Palace and the belltower of St. James, the two parallel streets that cross Gavi and the stony walls that embrace the old village, which are joined to the east and to the west, where there were the two gates.

And if you dive in the middle of these streets,  put on a Sunday morning, perhaps after having stopped a moment in one of the three Confraterity Churches, where still is sung in Gregorian, and soon after pop-up into a little tavern off the beaten track, to soak in a nice pint of "white" a piece of focaccia long as a newspaper, you can discover (and it is the most authentic taste) the traces of the past.


And then the great courtyards, wells, verandas, the voluminous cellars, and especially the "Portino" only remnant of the defensive towers that were lifted as gate to the walls of the twelfth century, the beautiful shape of the arches and the elegant mullioned window of the first floor.


The air of the 'Gregorian' from before, is back to buzz in your ears, and you feel like going to see another one of these Confraterity Churches where you feel immediately at home, and there you happen to discover that the brothers have pulled out on 1975 of they own pocket a lot of millions, to rebuild from top to bottom of the decorative mantle of their church, all were restored to their cost, never mind the state skimp pious opus, the paintings and statues they had as gift from noble families; they claim to have the most beautiful Christ of vallemme, without hesitation attributing the authorship to the great Jerome del Canto, when other, reckless and superficial, had ready on his lips the name of the inevitable Maragliano ... Here then you've fallen back from the beginning of the ghosts of time and do not be surprised when you learn that the brothers once called to decorate the walls and vaults of their churches, the Ridolfi and Carlone, anticipating the grain to the peasants poor  and established the pawnshop, neutralizing in this way the nefarious actions of the usurers, that should not be few, given the time ... They gave help to the hospital and buried their dead, unless enjoy one day yes and one no, large processional theater, with hoods and cloaks embroidered with gold and chanting, when they were escorting a poor devil to the gallows, or avert the scourges of meteorology with penitential processions,  touching a dozen chapels scattered throughout the countryside around the town, or bring in triumph, in the happy days, their madonnas and patron saints. They were giving a hand, with the aid of their beliefs to the elders and the poors of the town and this was their television, their theater.


Gavi has given birth, back in 1764 to  Bartolomeo Carrea. Son of poor people, due to the interest of Cambiaso Marquis, who had discovered the his attitudes to sculpture, settled in the city and became a teacher at the Academy of Genoa. At his school, they formed the gaviesi brothers, Francesco and Luigi Montecucco,  the first painter, sculptor the second, which opened in Gavi the workshop which will be discussed. Attracted by their great fame, in 800, was walking up to Gavi from Arquata, a young man full of enthusiasm for painting: Santo Bertelli. The Montecucco taught him to paint and Luigi gave him his daughter as wife. From this marriage was born Tito, good artist himself. Well, that wonderful workshop, the intelligent sensitivity of the heirs, has remained miraculously intact, with everything in its place, from the humblest jar to mix the colors, the sketch of the most prestigious processional chest, molded in terra cotta (clay) and sketched in charcoal even on the wall.


In that study sketches is full: the bearded faces of the prophets, on which Santo studied the effects of light before to put them into frescoes, wooden groups that fraternities and vestry commissioned to Luigi and Norberto, fragile and well sorted on shelves, to casts plaster of sussiegosi ancestors and minutes oval portraits. And the walls of this studiowith the high voult, so the Assunte soar up into the sky  hosted with their retinue of angels, and even the door, you have to really see it ... There isn't a palm on the wall on which these association of poets has not shaded draperies, splashed profiles sketched triumphs of madonnas and saints, with a lively imagination and inventiveness, that if on the one hand obeyed the rules of the academy, the other is an astonishing variety of style. You understand, stopping, as here, in this room, where you can breathe, with the smell of dust and dried clay, the total dedication to art, has formed the personality of the most authentic of the four artists: Santo Bertelli, large portraitist and renowned watercolor artist, whose painting, approaching that of the Tuscan Macchiaioli, avoided the dry of academy, for the originality of the style, the wide breath of poetry.



Gavi has beautiful surroundings and is a great pity that the serene landscape, embroidered with vineyards and thick green spots, be spoiled by new buildings, which have nothing to do with the culture and traditions of the valley. It would be that simple to watch, not only to the sixteenth-century villas of which the territory is rich, but the cottages scattered over the country, adorned with verandas and porches, ladders and balconies that are a real grace, and take their model to build new houses. No way. The false-rustic - green roofs, grays and blacks, in non-brick material are the ultimate - is rampant here in all directions, alters the landscape balance, destroys natural resources, which, unfortunately, does not reconstitute more. It's so needless to safeguard the historic center and recover the public enjoyment of the ancient monuments, if then you accept the degradation of the surrounding landscape. This important monuments like the Convent of the Valley, where on the beginning of the '400 preached San Bernardino of Siena, to whom the Gaviesi dedicated in 1455, the statue that still can be seen in the church choir and where you can admire, in the porch of the cloister, in the first floor loggia and in the arcade next to the entrance of the church, architectures conventual late sixteenth of great nobility, will be gradually suffocated by banal constructions and cease to be the refuge serene and the lure of tourists they are today.


To degradation process consumer does not escape either, especially in Gavi, the art of gastronomy, which in these parts has had a great monument like the ravioli.
Of course, here were invented the ravioli!


Gavi, being since the high Middle Ages a road junction of great importance, could dispose of goods, such as oil and corn than elsewhere where certainly not flowed. Also there were inns and taverns, probably at every corner.


In one of them, namely in '' Hustaia du Ravio", that is the Ravioli's Tavern, since on XII century, they began to prepare that "filled glove of apennine's herbs, borage and endive, egg and "frumagiu d 'Crova" (goat chees) that named of the inventors was called Raviolo "(Joseph C. Bergaglio, 1972). Genoa made her that dish and tossed it in Corsica, in other parts of Italy and even in South America. In Tuscany and Piedmont ravioli later became the "agnolotti", filled  with lambmeat, but this is another story. It serves as a cue to  wander on this soil, where legend and reality, distilled wisdom in the sayings, and proverbs, sometimes spicy, hunting stories and good food, came once admirably to an agreement.


Gavi and its environment produces an amiable wine, fresh and young, "Il Cortese", the praise of it we will leave to do to the most distinguished palates.


Veronelli wrote: "Tell Cortese and pronounce Gavi. Gavi is the adopted country for this lovely white wine with greenish reflections, delicate aroma and dry flavor with pleasantly sour background, fresh and light "
(Italy pleasant Guide, Garzanti, 1968). And Mario Tobino: ... "immediately, from the first cup I was won by the" Gavi plane, dry, a personal taste, the faint scent of almond it was felt later, when that nectar had dropped in my chest. Now charmed me more its transparency, as miraculous water. I was excited and immediately felt it brother. "(from" Il Mondo", Milan, February 25, 1972).


Substantially deprived of industries, Gavi today lives of agriculture, commerce and in dependence of the nearby industries of Valley Scrivia. It's a kind of residential lung between the valleys of the Scrivia and low Orba. The protection of the landscape and monuments, along with the recovery of some traditional dishes, could attract here the currents of tourism, especially considering that today seven major roads converge to Gavi. The surrounding area, apart from the architectural abortions aforementioned, you must discover them and savor them slowly. The relief is extremely varied, due to the frequent bends of the river and sharp rises in slope. The serene landscape and amiable people. The Terrace of the Guardia's Sanctuary, has a beautiful views on the hills of Monferrato and Mount Tobbio, which emerges in the Apennine mountain range, it stands out crystal clear on the sky background. Take a rest there in high summer, when the heat bakes the asphalt, is a real treat.
Besides the Convent of the Valley, the flat land is closed to the border with Arquata by the hill Crenna. Here the buildig mess has produced more failures, however, along the main street, you can see open valleys of great landscape interest and, in one of them, is one of the most beautiful villas of the sixteenth: La Colombara, in which master's authority manifests itself in a courteous and friendly manner, by the grace and simplicity of architectural lines.

The sport associations of the districts provides recreational ground for children, swimming pool, tennis, football, and bocce courts (Bocce is a game of Italian origin similar to lawn bowling that is played with wooden balls (now metallic) on a long narrow court covered with fine gravel)..



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