The name derives from Melesino and Plebem Melosine (people with a sweet attitude). It is a town in the province of Savona, located in Val Bormida, near of the river with the same name, whose territory consists of the villages of Acquafredda and Borda, both located upstream of Millesimo, the village of Braia and from the districts of Cabroni, Melogno and the Shrine of the Desert.
The first urban settlement, judging by the location near a road junction, was probably an outpost of the Roman Empire. A relic dating to that period between the first and the second century, was found near the church of Santa Maria extra muros. During the X century the town was besieged several times by the Saracens and became part of the Marca Aleramica, two centuries later the Marquisate of Savona, under the supervision of the Del Carretto Family. Henry II of Carretto, marquis of Finale, had a fortified wall built in 1206, year in which the village was founded. This defensive strategy gave a strong economic impulse in the development of the lands. Crucial was the presence of the bridge Gaietta over the river Bormida, source of revenue through the collection of tolls and taxes. Since 1240 the Marquis proclaimed various status and accorded privileges to the village, till 1268, when the grandsons of Henry II divided the territory into three parts and Millesimo with other municipalities of the area, was assigned to the Marquis Conrad I. The grandchildren of Conrad, at their turn, during the XIV century, proclaimed additional divisions and Millesimo became domain of the Pope Boniface I. During the XV century the village was allied with the Marquis of Finale in the war against Genoa and at their defeat it was sold to the Marquis Theodore II of Montferrat. From 1536 the town returned to the Del Carretto Family, whilst in the second half of the XVI century it was dominated by the Spanish, then by the Austrians until Millesimo was submitted to the Kingdom of Sardinia between 1713 and 1735. After the annexation to the First French Empire and assignment of Canton as its capital, from 1805 the ton became part of the Ligurian Republic and after the fall of Napoleon, it was again annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia and then to the Kingdom of Italy.
Not to miss:
The Shrine of Our Lady of the Desert completed in 1726. After the destruction of the original building, it was rebuilt between 1850 and 1867 in red brick as it appears today. The construction presents a very original structure with a dome top, a circular tower with a central plan enlivened by archways and columns. Inside it preserves a fresco that dates back to the XVI century.
The Parish Church of the Visitation of Mary and Saint Anthony Abbot with a façade decorated with columns and three major portals. It was rebuilt in the second half of the XV century on the ruins of an existing building. It keeps a statue of the Madonna del Carmine, a crucifix attributed to the school of Anton Maria Maragliano, a font of 1484 and a precious organ.
The Church of Santa Maria extra muros built in the XII century in Romanesque style with one major nave and two aisles, which has been recently restored. Inside are preserved frescoes of the XVI century and a baptismal font dating from the Middle Ages.
The Church of San Rocco, built in 1858 in an octagonal roof, restored fairly recently.
The Monastery of St. Stephen's with its church, which was originally built in Romanesque style, later transformed into the Baroque and its cloister. The Monastery is now part of Villa Centurione.
The Parish of St. Michael the Archangel in the village of Acquafredda.
The Town Hall, built around the XII century and belonged to the Del Carretto Family, and embellished with numerous armors, shields and weapons. The nearby tower was built in the XIX century. Today the whole building is owned by the Municipality.
Villa Scarzella, built in 1855 and expanded during the XIX and XX centuries. At present it is the seat of the Historical Museum of Napoleon.
The main Ggateway and the Bridge of Gaietta, emblems of Millesimo, also portrayed in the municipal coat of arms, probably built in the XII century. The guard tower with its battlements, that was constructed in the late XV century and is the main entrance to the village.
The Castle built by the Del Carretto in the second half of the XIII century, features a rectangular shape plan, flanked by two side towers. After being transformed into a residence, it was destroyed during the XVI century on the orders of Spanish at war with France. Recently renovated, it now belongs to the local district authorities and hosts concerts and exhibitions.